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Nothing half-baked

August 29, 2004

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - "I love making cookies," said Jean Woodring of Mercersburg.

That declaration is an understatement.

Woodring has been making cookies for years. A stay-at-home mom, she laughed that she made cookies for her children to take to school - even through their high school years. A son and daughter are grown and married with children of their own. Sixteen-year-old Katie is still at home, a junior at James Buchanan High School.

A few years ago, Woodring got a phone call from her daughter at work at First National Bank of Mercersburg. The person the staff had contacted to make cookies for the holiday open house wasn't going to be able to fill the order.

Jean Woodring came through with 60 dozen cookies.

Since then she's made 90 dozen cookies for the annual gathering. And, Tea Time Tasties, her home-based business, was born.

Woodring makes a variety of cookies. There are chocolate chip, sour cream sugar cookies, different kinds of peanut butter cookies, oatmeal raisin.

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In her first year, she had a call from a man who wanted to order some raisin-filled cookies.

"I'm sorry, but I've never made those," she told him.

"Well what kind of a cookie shop is this?" he asked.

Woodring figured out a recipe, and now they are a popular treat.

On cookie-baking days, she keeps two ovens going and often works at it from 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. With more than a week of August left, she figured that she'd made 300 dozen cookies this month.

Despite her home-based baking business, Woodring still bakes for her family.

"Every child has their own cookie. All my kids have their own picks," she said.

Staff Writer Kate Coleman recently joined Woodring and her helper, 3-year-old granddaughter Saige, in the kitchen of her home on Licking Creek.

Although Woodring declined to share a cookie recipe, she did share one for an apple pie creation.

How often are you in the kitchen?

Just about every day. Almost all day long.

Where did you learn to cook?

I'm self-taught.

Did you cook with your mom as a kid?

Not really. She worked. She was a cook at (Mercersburg Academy).

When was the first time you made the Apple-Raisin-Walnut Pie?

A couple of years ago, a lady ordered an apple pie, and she asked me if I could throw some walnuts in it. I said sure. Then I threw some raisins in it. My favorite apples are Cortland, and I like McIntosh, too. I mix them up; I think it gives a good flavor. A fellow (nearby) raises produce and fruit, and he has a cooler and keeps about seven bushels for me so I can get them - probably through April.

Why do you keep making it? What makes the pie special?

It just tastes real good.

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