Long Island baker competes on Food Network’s ‘Halloween Cookie Challenge’
She may not have won the “Christmas Cookie Challenge” last December, but Mount Sinai’s Emily Solomos is back in another Food Network competition, the new “Halloween Cookie Challenge,” Monday at 10 p.m., according to a recent post to her Em’s Custom Instagram account, Biscuits said, “I’m back witches!”
The 25-year-old cookie preneur said she was invited to compete again for the network in April. “They emailed me when I was on my cousin’s bachelorette party trip to Mexico,” Solomos says, laughing. “It was a very quick process that came out of nowhere.”
The following month, she found herself in a Los Angeles studio kitchen competing against three other bakers for the episode’s $10,000 prize. Led by celebrity chef Jet Tila and YouTube star Rosanna Pansino, both had to create 3D cookie graveyards filled with spooky characters using “gory” ingredients like amarena cherries, pomegranate seeds and blood oranges.
While Solomos hadn’t made Halloween-themed cookies at her three-year-old company, which spent nights and weekends, “I learned in preparation for the show” — particularly with “those things called frosting transfers that I’ve only picked up in the last few months.’ These are edible sugar decorations made from royal icing, a kind which, after being shaped or spread into a mold on parchment, wax paper, or on an acetate sheet, develops a glaze on drying and hardening. On transferred to the cookie body, the royal icing decoration can then be painted with food coloring.
And Solomos has also learned to hold on to her baking trays: At last year’s “Christmas Cookie Challenge” “I dropped my tray of biscuits in the last round before decorating!” she says, laughing – now; she wasn’t laughing then. “So they came right out of the oven and I dropped them right on the floor and it was like a big ‘Oh no!’ moment seen in the commercials! And oh god, my parents never stopped me!”
Solomos is the elder of two daughters born to Michael, an IT manager at the office environment company Waldner’s in Farmingdale, and Gemma, a secretary at the Mount Sinai School District. Born in Smithtown and raised in Mount Sinai, where her high school softball team made the 2015 Long Island Class A championship game, she was exposed to baking during her high school job at the counter at the now-closed Create-a-Cake in Port-Jefferson- Station. She then attended Iona College, graduating in 2019 with a Marketing degree.
Her cookie kitchen is still in her parents’ house, which still doesn’t excite her parents. “I actually talk about it a lot on the show,” says Solomos. “Hopefully that will change by the end of this year. … I’m constantly looking at apartments now. Obviously the rental costs are absurd.”
Plus, between her full-time marketing job at PipingRock Health Products in Ronkonkoma and the cookie orders that have been full for months, she has little time to search. However, taking the time to attend the show was a no-brainer. “It was so much fun. How could I turn down this insane opportunity that was given to me not just once but twice now?”