Clipped From Chicago Tribune
FOODSTUFF Starlight mint surprise cookies Bake-Off winner's golden memories Although Laura Rott says she "never did get married," the 80-year-old from Naperville is about to celebrate a 50th anniversary That would be the golden celebration of the Pills-bury Bake-Off, which kicked off in 1949 at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, where Rott was a $10,000 winner for her "starlight mint surprise" cookies. "They really showed you a good time," Rott says of her stint as a pioneering Pillsbury contes tant "We went by train and stayed at the Waldorf and I got to stay a few extra days because I was one of the winners. And Mrs. Roosevelt was there." At the time, Rott, who grew up on what was then a farm in Naperville, sewed slipcovers for Kroehler's furniture company She created the recipe : .rd , as a way of disguising some chocolate-covered mint candies nobody at home liked. "I didn't think I had much of a chance" to win, she says. The $10,000 went to buy a car and into savings. The grand prize winner was also from Illinois the late Theodora Smafield from Rockford. The Bake-Off has since become a national institution, responsible for such icons as tunnel of fudge cake, dilly casserole bread and rocky road fudge bars. Now staged every two years for a $1 million grand prize, the next Bake-Off takes place Feb. 28, 2000, in San Francisco. Entries must be received by Oct 18. Entry forms can be obtained by calling 800-306-1111 through Sept 30 or at the Web site, www.bakeoff.com. Kristin Eddy Bake-Off winners from 1949: Laura Rott (from left), Theodora Smafield and Mrs. Richard Sprague. Laura Rett's starlight mint surprise cookies Combine 1 cup sugar, cup firmly packed brown sugar, Xcup softened butter, 2 tablespoons water, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 eggs in large bowl; blend well. Combine 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon' baking soda and K teaspoon salt in medium bowl; mix well. Add Dour mixture to sugar mixture; mix at low speed until well blended. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate at least 2 hours. Heat even to 375 degrees. Using 1 tablespoon dough, press dough around a solid chocolate mint candy wafer, (ftu'll need two 6-ounce bags). Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet Top with walnut half. Bake 7-9 minutes or until light golden brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet Makes 60.