Mercersburg teen bakes sublime winning cookie

Sugar cookie with lime twist wins The Herald-Mail annual contest

Sugar cookie with lime twist wins The Herald-Mail annual contest

November 21, 2007|By JULIE E. GREENE

Its name is a misnomer, but its flavor was a hit.

The winner of The Herald-Mail's 16th annual Cookie Exchange Contest is Emily Suranno, 15, of Mercersburg, Pa., who submitted a batch of Ginger-Lime Cookies.

Except there's no ginger in the recipe. It's more of a lime sugar cookie.

Emily's cookie was determined the winner among 58 entries, earning her $100.

Cookies were judged on taste, appearance, overall quality and originality. The judges were split into two groups, each tasting about half of the entries. Each group selected finalists.

All six judges tasted the 17 finalists, rating them on a score of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. After the scores were added, the Ginger-Lime Cookie had won.


So what happened to the ginger in the Ginger-Lime Cookies?

Emily's mother, Karen, often saves recipes from magazines, as was the case with the Ginger-Lime Cookies. Karen Suranno couldn't remember which magazine she got the recipe from a year or two ago.

Karen Suranno said it's possible she just left the ginger out when copying the recipe. She's never prepared it with ginger.

Emily chose the recipe from her mother's collection because she wanted to try something different, which it was when compared with the 57 other contest entries.

"Whenever you bite into it, you kind of get hit by the lime," said judge Perry Sanders, owner of Sanders Cookie Jar Bakery in Hagerstown.

The lime zest atop the cookie gave it a festive look, said judge Roslyn Levine, office/retention manager for The Herald-Mail's Circulation Department.

The cookie also was crispy, said Levine and judge Tammy Twigg, culinary arts instructor at Washington County Technical High School.

The other judges were Sylvia Shives, retired culinary instructor from the Career Studies Center; Brigitte Grewe, 13, writer for The Herald-Mail's Pulse teen section; and Larry Atherton, system administrator for the newspaper's Information Technology Department.

Emily said she'll use her winnings to go antiquing. Karen Suranno owns an antique business, Boxwoods, but Emily said she's going antiquing for her own personal use.

Karen Suranno's Expresso Brownies came in second. She adapted a recipe from Food Network's "Everyday Italian," leaving out the chocolate chips.

The winning recipe:

Ginger-Lime Cookies

2 cups flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
6 tablespoons chilled vegetable shortening
1 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons and 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, cream of tarter and salt.

In another bowl, beat together the butter, shortening and 1 cup of the sugar until fluffy. Mix in the corn syrup, egg, vanilla extract and 3 tablespoons of the lime zest. Add flour and cornmeal just until combined.

Remove batter from bowl and wrap in plastic wrap, patting batter into a disk. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread 1/3 cup of the sugar on a plate. In a bowl, combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon lime zest.

Pinch off tablespoon-sized pieces of dough and form round balls. Roll balls in sugar on a plate.

Place the balls 2 inches apart on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Press each with the bottom of a glass until cookies reach 1/4-inch thickness.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden.

Sprinkle cookies with sugar-lime zest mixture while still warm.

Makes three to four dozen.

- Courtesy of Emily Suranno

The other nine of the top 10 cookies:

Chinese Chews

2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine flour and granulated sugar. Cut butter into mixture, as you would for a pie crust.

Pat mixture into an ungreased 8-inch-by-12-inch baking dish.

Bake for 15 minutes.

Stir together eggs, brown sugar, shredded coconut and pecans. Spread mixture over baked crust.

Bake for another 20 minutes.

Allow cookies to cool and then cut into squares.

Makes approximately 24 squares.

- Courtesy of Barbara L. Jones of Hagerstown

Power of Peanut Butter Bars

1 box moist chocolate cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup butter, softened
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup extra-crunchy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk chocolate morsels
8 regular-sized Reese's peanut butter cups

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, use a mixer to blend cake mix, 1 egg and butter until crumbly.

Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix condensed milk, peanut butter, vanilla extract and 1 egg with a spoon until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of the milk chocolate morsels to the condensed milk mixture. Pour this mixture on top of the cake mix.

Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup milk chocolate morsels on top of the mixture.

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