Jan Pask used to have access to all kinds of recipes in her job as a a school librarian. And the Cape May innkeeper says she actually can't remember anymore where she found the recipe for her cherry macada-mia turnovers, which readers of The Press made the clear winner in the "12 Days of Cookies" contest.
But she does remember she won another Christmas-cookie contest the first time she made them in 1991, when she lived in Medford, Burlington County. And she still has the newspaper story that pronounced her the cookie champ in that contest.
"It seems to be a proven winner," she agreed this week.
Plus Pask, who runs the Luther Ogden Inn, a bed-and-breakfast that dates back to 1900, has other championships in her pedigree. She giggles a bit as she reveals that she won the "Crisco Homemaker of Tomor-row" award when she was in the eighth grade at Haddonfield Junior High School.
Four years later, "I won the Betty Crocker Award in my senior year in (Haddonfield Me-morial High School)," she said.
People laugh if she mentions that prestigious title, but she's gotten used to it:
"People laughed in 1971, too, when I won it," she says.
Still, she has her Betty Crocker prize listed as one of the culinary awards on her website, Lutherogdeninn.com. And as of now, she has The Press' cookie contest on her culinary resume, too.
She bakes regularly for her guests, and has served a lot of one favorite from her oven - an apple-cranberry coffee cake - since she took over the inn in 1997. Luther Ogden's list of breakfast hits also includes a zucchini frittata and a blueberry-stuffed French toast.
But now Pask figures she'll move up these cherry macadami turnovers into a more regular rotation, given their award-winning status.
She says the cookie tastes like a shortbread with nuts, along with a little cherry treat in the middle. And she likes that the recipe isn't a real exotic one - she figures people have most of the ingredients for her cookies in their cabinets.
But, she adds, "Any nut can be substituted for the macada-mia nuts, and your favorite preserves can be substituted for the cherry. These cookies are tasty and different from the usual holiday cookie fare."
Curiosity drove her to try Googling the recipe to see where it originally came from, but she couldn't find it.
"It's an unusual cookie. It's not something you see everywhere. It's a little different than the basic oatmeal raisin, the basic chocolate chip. It's not real sweet," said Pask, who added her family likes them even without chocolate drizzled on top.
Staff Writer Vincent Jackson contributed to this report.
Contact Martin DeAngelis:
Cherry Macadamia Turnovers
•1 cup butter (2 sticks, room temperature)
•1 cup sugar
•1 teaspoon vanilla
•3 cups flour
•1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
•3 1/2-ounce jar macadamia nuts, ground (can substitute walnuts, almonds or pecans)
•7 ounces of cherry preserves
•2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
In large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in egg.
In small bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
Beat flour mixture gradually into butter mixture and blend well. Stir nuts into dough.
Roll out dough onto floured surface. Cut into 2-inch rounds with cookie cutter or glass.
Place 1/4 teaspoon cherry preserves on one side of round. Brush edge of round with water and fold over. Press to seal.
Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
When cookies are cool, drizzle with melted chocolate.
Makes: About 30 cookies.