6th Annual Cookie Contest

Bakers and tasters of all ages participated in our Holiday Cookie Contest sponsored by Domino Sugar on Monday, December 17. This year’s panel of judges included (left to right) Delegate Brooke Lierman, Peter O’Malley of ASR/Domino Sugar, and Senator Bill Ferguson (selfie by Bill).

After a blind tasting and much deliberation, our judges named the following winners of this year’s contest:

First Place: Lexi Fisher

Chocolate Sugar Cookies with Mint Frosting

Cookie Ingredients

  • 1½ cups butter, softened
  • 2 cups Domino white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3½ cups all purpose flour (17.5 oz)
  • 1½ cups cocoa (4.5 oz)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth, about 2 minutes.  Mix in eggs and vanilla, about 30 seconds.  Stir in flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.  Cover and chill dough for at least one hour or up to 48 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400F.  Place about half the dough between two sheets of wax paper and roll to about ¼ – ½ inch thick.  Peel off the top wax paper, then replace gently.  Flip the dough and peel off the other piece of wax paper. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters.  Place cookies about 1-2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake 6-8 minutes.  Cool about 10 minutes on pan, then transfer to wire rack to completely cool before decorating.
  3. Repeat with other half of the dough.  Leftover dough will be easier to use if refrigerated prior to rerolling.

Royal Icing (Mint) Ingredients

  • 2 lb Domino powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup room temperature water
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 5 Tbsp meringue powder
  • Gel food colors, as desired
  • Sprinkles, etc., as desired

Directions

Place the powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl.  In a measuring cup, combine water, peppermint extract, cream of tartar, and meringue powder.  Stir well to combine.  Add the wet ingredients to the powdered sugar.  Beat on low to combine, then on medium-high to high until stiff peaks form.  Keep covered, with saran wrap directly in contact with the frosting to prevent drying, at room temperature until use.  Thin with water to the right consistency prior to use.  Divide into portions and tint as desired.null

Second Place: Jen McLaughlin

Eggnog Blossoms from the Food Network

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup Domino sugar
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract
  • 1 small pinch ground cloves
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
  • 24 foil-wrapped striped milk chocolate-white chocolate drops, such as Hershey Hugs, unwrapped

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl until combined. Beat the butter and 1/2 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the cream, rum extract, cloves, egg yolk and 2 teaspoons of the nutmeg and beat until smooth. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the dough just combines.
  3. Roll the dough into twenty-four 1-inch balls using a 1/2-ounce ice cream scoop or a tablespoon. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons nutmeg in a small bowl. Roll the balls in the spiced sugar to coat, and then arrange 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  4. Bake the cookies, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through, until golden brown at the edges, about 14 minutes. Remove the baking sheets from the oven, place on wire racks and immediately press a chocolate drop in the center of each cookie while it is still soft and warm. Do not move the cookies until the chocolate has completely set and the cookies are cool, at least 1 hour.

Third Place: The Johnson Family

Chocolate Truffle Cookies from Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/3 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 cup Domino sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Domino confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. In a microwave, melt 1 cup chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate and butter; stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, beat sugar and eggs 2 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into chocolate mixture. Stir in remaining chocolate chips. Refrigerate, covered, until firm enough to handle, at least 3 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°. With lightly floured hands, shape dough into 1-in. balls; place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until lightly puffed and set, 10-12 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

HELP WANTED: Public Safety Chair

RNA Volunteer Board Member Position Opening:
Public Safety Chair

In this role, you would perform duties including but not limited to:
(1) Act as a liaison between the Riverside Neighborhood Association and the Southern District of the Baltimore Police Department
(2) Confirm officer attendance at monthly meetings and safety walks
(2) Attend or delegate attendance to monthly Community Relations Council meetings (third Thursdays)
(3) Respond to resident concerns, and take issues to the Southern as needed
(4) Provide crime updates/prevention tips for newsletter articles
(5) Attend monthly neighborhood meetings as often as possible (last Mondays)
(6) Participate in quarterly Board meetings

If you are unable to attend all meetings, it is very possible to share these duties with another person or a small committee. If you live in the Riverside neighborhood (map) and are interested, please e-mail John at rnabaltimore@gmail.com.

Residential Permit Parking Update

On Monday, February 26, residents were updated on the Residential Parking Permit (RPP) process and the status of Riverside Neighborhood Association’s application. Steve Robinson of the Parking Authority of Baltimore City (PABC) reviewed the current RPP process. He was followed by Jeff Brown, RNA’s parking committee chairman, who presented a comprehensive presentation that outlined the history of RPP in our community, the details of our application, and the next steps we will take to begin implementation. At the conclusion of the presentation, Jeff distributed this one-pager for residents, and questions were answered, as detailed in the meeting minutes.

The parking study referenced throughout can be found here. Please note that for the purposes of this study, “Riverside” refers to what is now known as Riverside and Federal Hill South. RNA’s boundaries can be found on the About Us page.

If you have any questions about RPP in our neighborhood, please don’t hesitate to contact Jeff at rpp@rnaparking.org or ask us at the March 26th social at Wiley Gunters.

5th Annual Cookie Contest Winners – 2017

Our 5th Annual Holiday Cookie Contest was held on Monday, December 11. It was such a wonderful event! Thanks to our resident bakers, to our judges- repeat past winner Erin Chrest, Peter O’Malley of Domino Sugar Baltimore, and Major Ward of the Baltimore Police Department- Southern District, and of course to Domino Sugar for sponsoring our contest each year! As the crowd enjoyed the cookies, the judges were hard at work determining the top three.

After much deliberation, the winners were announced!

1st Place – Blake Fisher

Thick and Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies
2 cups flour (10 oz)
0.5 cup cocoa (1.5 oz) – Blake used dark
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 tsp instant coffee
2 tsp vanilla
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1.5 cups brown sugar (10.5 oz)
0.5 cup white sugar (3.5 oz)
16 oz semi-sweet chocolate – Blake used chips
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (12 oz)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line baking sheet(s) with parchment paper.
3. Melt 16 oz of semi-sweet chocolate over simmering water in heat-proof bowl.  Allow to cool while proceeding.
4. In medium bowl, whisk flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together.
5. In small bowl, whisk eggs, instant coffee, and vanilla together, until coffee dissolves.
6. In large bowl, beat butter, brown sugar, and white sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3-6 minutes.
7. Add egg mixture (from step 5) to the large bowl and beat until mixed.
8. Add melted chocolate (from step 3) to the large bowl and beat until mixed.
9. Reduce speed to low and slowly add flour mixture (from step 4), mix until combined.
10. Stir in chocolate chips until incorporated.
11. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to stand at room temperature until scoopable, at least 30 minutes.
12. Using a 3 Tbsp cookie scoop, portion the dough and roll into balls.
13. Place on prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
14. Bake at 350 until edges are set, but centers are still soft and puffy, about 10-12 minutes.  (Cookies will look underdone between the cracks.)
15. Let cookies cool on sheet(s) for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
16. Repeat steps 12-15 with cooled cookie sheet.
Make ahead – Blake did this
Portion as directed (in step 12), place close but not touching onto baking sheet,  Place baking sheet in freezer.  Once frozen completely, transfer to a ziplock bag.  To bake, transfer frozen dough to parchment-lined baking sheet (step 13) and bake as directed (in step 14), increasing cooking time to 12-17 minutes.

2nd Place – Jen LaHatte

Recreate Jen’s Red Velvet Thumbprints with Cream Cheese Marshmallow Frosting cookies with this recipe, but leave out the chocolate chips.

3rd Place – Katie Dunn

Recreate Katie’s Compost Cookies with this recipe. Yum!
Each winner went home with a crate full of sugar and a gift certificate to a local restaurant! Congratulations and enjoy!!

Call To Action: Restore Riverside Park’s Brick Entrance

Update Tues 11/14:

After a meeting with the Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation (DOT) on the traffic calming project, we are happy to report that the brick entrance to Riverside Park will be restored! Thank you all for your advocacy!

The entrance had an issue of non-compliant slope and color contrast on the ramp. This situation was never properly relayed between DOT and the community. To make the entrance ADA compliant, there will be a yellow textured ramp within the brickwork. There is no timeline for restoration, but DOT is finally aware of the community’s preference for brick and will restore it.

 


The Baltimore City Department of Transportation made an error by removing the beautiful brick entrance to Riverside Park at the corner of Randall St and Johnson St. While the RNA Board has been working closely with Councilman Costello since October 27 to remedy the situation, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Recreation and Parks have not been responsive to our requests to restore the brick entrance that welcomed residents and visitors to our historic park.

The Department of Transportation stalled the current traffic calming project for nearly five years and then upon execution and without notice, replaced brickwork that posed no problem and was not a part of disclosed plans, and then cited false reasoning for their actions. We take great pride in our historic park, and spend nearly all of the money we raise and countless volunteer hours to maintain and beautify our neighborhood gem. We hope that you will take a few moments of your time to help us hold the Department of Transportation accountable for this error and prevent them from continuing these actions on our other brick entrances. *Detailed information is presented below the contacts to provide you with more background.

Please email and/or call each of the following parties at your earliest convenience using the suggested text or that of your own to demand that our park entrance be restored to the beautiful brick that was recently installed in 2012 as a way to further beautify our park and celebrate its place in history.

Subject Line: Restore Riverside Park

1. Michelle Pourciau, Director of Transportation
Michelle.Pourciau@baltimorecity.gov
410-396-6802

Ms. Pourciau,

Riverside Park is the cornerstone of our community. This historic park is where we gather for concerts, sports, summer play, and winter sledding. It is where we exercise and take leisurely strolls with our dogs, family, and friends. We demand that you work to quickly restore the beautiful brick entrance at Randall St and Johnson St so that we can continue to fully enjoy and take pride in our neighborhood park.

Sincerely,

———

2. Eric Costello, Councilman of District 11
Eric.Costello@baltimorecity.gov
410-396-4816

Mr. Costello,

Riverside Park is the cornerstone of our community. This historic park is where we gather for concerts, sports, summer play, and winter sledding. It is where we exercise and take leisurely strolls with our dogs, family, and friends. We demand that you advocate for our community to the fullest extent to ensure that the Department of Transportation quickly restores the beautiful brick entrance at Randall St and Johnson St so that we can continue to fully enjoy and take pride in our neighborhood park.

Sincerely,

———

3. Jack Young, Baltimore City Council President
CouncilPresident@baltimorecity.gov
410-396-4804

Mr. Young,

Riverside Park is the cornerstone of our community. This historic park is where we gather for concerts, sports, summer play, and winter sledding. It is where we exercise and take leisurely strolls with our dogs, family, and friends. We demand that you advocate for our community to the fullest extent to ensure that the Department of Transportation quickly restores the beautiful brick entrance at Randall St and Johnson St so that we can continue to fully enjoy and take pride in our neighborhood park.

Sincerely,

———

4. Reginald Moore, Director of Recreation and Parks
Reginald.moore@baltimorecity.gov
410-396-7900

Mr. Moore,

Riverside Park is the cornerstone of our community. This historic park is where we gather for concerts, sports, summer play, and winter sledding. It is where we exercise and take leisurely strolls with our dogs, family, and friends. We demand that you work with the Department of Transportation to quickly restore the beautiful brick entrance at Randall St and Johnson St so that we can continue to fully enjoy and take pride in our neighborhood park.

Sincerely,

———

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Prior to 2012, Riverside Park’s corner entryways were concrete ramps, and the gazebo entrance was a hatched concrete design. The brick entrances the community has known since then came about after the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Riverside Neighborhood Association (RNA) met to discuss park improvements funded by the City’s capital budget. In order to make the entrances less road-like and more pedestrian friendly, they decided on an aesthetically pleasing brick design that would bring historic character to the park in preparation for the 2014 Bicentennial celebration. The park corners would become pedestrian-friendly, ADA-compliant bump-outs that would deter unnecessary vehicular traffic, yet still withstand the weight of large vehicles such as the trash trucks that enter the park almost daily. The gazebo area would also be redesigned with bricks to match the three Randall Street entrances. The Riverside Neighborhood Association and park patrons were very pleased with the renovations, and several neighborhood volunteers continued to spend their time improving entryway gardens and working on other beautification projects within the park.

In 2012, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Riverside Neighborhood Association began discussions on the topics of traffic calming and pedestrian safety along Randall and Johnson Streets. Funding was not secured until 2014 at which time RNA was presented with a draft set of project plans. RNA Board members, including a traffic engineer, spent countless hours fine-tuning DOT’s plans and making recommendations in the best interest of the community. Several emails with suggestions and requests for updates were sent to DOT by RNA throughout 2015, and after seven months of zero replies, Councilman Costello was finally able to elicit a response. Two months later, we were informed that the money for this project was spent elsewhere and that we’d have to wait until Spring 2016. In 2016, it was deemed best to wait until after BGE’s Operation Pipeline work was completed along Johnson and Randall Streets to begin work on the traffic calming project. At this time, the final plans for this project included bumpouts at the following intersections:
Johnson/Barney
Johnson/Heath
Randall/Riverside
Randall/Jackson
Randall/Webster
It also included the re-striping of crosswalks at the above locations, and at the following intersections/park corners to align with the existing pedestrian ramps/curb cuts:
Johnson/Randall
Randall/Covington

In late summer 2017, the traffic calming project finally began. RNA requested updated plans but was provided with none. Work appeared to be following the plans RNA had previously seen until October 27, when RNA noticed that the bricks had been removed from the park’s corner entrance at Johnson and Randall Streets, an intersection that was only to have crosswalks re-striped. RNA reached out to Councilman Costello for reassurance that the bricks would be replaced but received no answer. On November 2, RNA noticed that concrete had been poured in place of the bricks and heard several resident complaints. Upon reaching out to Councilman Costello again, he took this discussion to the Department of Transportation and the Department of Recreation and Parks. The Department of Transportation, who is ultimately responsible for this unsightly change, has no plans to remedy the situation and instead has cited the following ADA guideline as the reason for the change:

“Advisory R302.7.1 Vertical Alignment. Pedestrian access route surfaces must be generally planar and smooth. Surfaces should be chosen for easy rollability. Surfaces that are heavily textured, rough, or chamfered and paving systems consisting of individual units that cannot be laid in plane will greatly increase rolling resistance and subject pedestrians who use wheelchairs, scooters, and rolling walkers to the stressful and often painful effects of vibration. Such materials should be reserved for borders and decorative accents located outside of or only occasionally crossing the pedestrian access route. Surfaces should be designed, constructed, and maintained according to appropriate industry standards, specifications, and recommendations for best practice. The standards limit changes in level and openings in floor and ground surfaces, but they do not further address overall surface smoothness. Rough surfaces composed of cobblestones, Belgian blocks, and similar materials can be difficult and sometimes painful to negotiate with wheeled mobility aids due to the vibrations they cause.”

The Riverside Neighborhood Association believes the Department of Transportation made an error that they fail to recognize as such, and are instead issuing false statements to justify their actions. RNA believes that the brickwork previously in place was laid in plane, and therefore would not produce rolling resistance or subject pedestrians on wheels to the stressful or painful effects of vibration. The brickwork did not have the same effects as cobblestones or Belgian blocks mentioned in this guideline, and the use of brickwork around the park was reserved for decorative accents that occasionally cross the pedestrian access route. Riverside Park corners were in total compliance with the cited guidelines, and therefore we strongly urge you to reach out to those mentioned in our call to action to correct this mistake.