Library’s Holiday Cookie Bake-Off is a winner for all involved


BG Independent News

A recipe that has traveled over the ocean and through the generations was the favorite bite Monday at the Holiday Cookie Bake-Off at the Wood County District Public Library.

Jennie Whiteside won for her German Sour Cream Twists. The recipe, she said, has been passed down through many generations in her husband’s family.

The winners were selected by a vote of the more than 60 people in attendance. Each attendee received six tickets to distribute as they choose, and each baker had a paper bag where the voters could deposit one or more ballots.

Jennie Whiteside with Mrs. Claus (Kathy East)

Whiteside is living in Bowling Green while her son’s family is temporarily located here. He works for an engineering firm doing pipeline work.

Whiteside said she’s been baking the cookies since 1979. The recipe has traveled with her family from Pennsylvania to South Dakota and now here. At first, the recipe she got wasn’t quite right. Then she figured out what was missing and has been making the winning recipe since.

This is the first time, though, that she’s shared it outside the family. (See recipes below).

Whiteside said her daughter-in-law, Jamie Whiteside, will be learning the recipe, so it will pass down to another generation.

“It’s something to live up to,” Jamie Whiteside said.

Her mother-in-law said part of the reason for participating in the bake-off was to show support for the library, which has done so much for her family since they’ve been in Bowling Green.

“This has been a huge resource for us to get out of the house,” Jamie Whiteside said.

Janet Griffiths with Mrs. Claus (Kathy East)

The second-place winner was Janet Griffith, of Bowling Green. Though Griffith has been baking since she was a child, her Magic Peanut Butter Cookies are a recent addition to her repertoire.

She found the recipe in the “Gooseberry Patch: Dinners on a Dime” last year. The cookies are gluten-free, but that wasn’t a concern for Griffith. She and her daughter wondered how so simple a recipe – one part peanut butter, one part sugar, one egg – would come out.

Well, those attending the bake-off thought they came out just fine. Griffith was confident of the quality of the cookie though she wasn’t sure they were good enough to win a prize.

Griffith is a former pre-K teacher. Last year she decided to start baking full time. She now works at the Carillon Place Dining Center at Bowling Green State University.

Allison and Corin McMurray offer samples of Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies baked by their mother, Jill McMurray.

Griffith took part because she participates in the library’s Page to Table cookbook club. The book club gives participants a chance to read cookbooks and then make recipes for all to share.

Adding to the festive atmosphere of the bake-off were about a dozen piano students of Vicki Hoehner, and her daughter Bethany Hoehner playing seasonal tunes.

Vicki Hoehner said the event was the students’ favorite performance. Because they serve as background music, there’s little pressure, she said. The students all love to play Christmas music.

The concert is beneficial because it gives the students confidence and makes performing in the more formal recital easier.

And “they do get to test the cookies,” she said.

Kristin Wetzel, the library staff member who leads the cookbook club, said that the bake-off started three years ago. “It was a big success.” At the end of each bake-off, people ask if there’ll be another.

“It’s a fun way to bring the community together,” Wetzel said. “It’s just a fun way to celebrate the holiday.”

Adeline and Avalyn Bihary perform at bake-off.


Gisele Vickery and Hannah Facer at the keyboard







German Sour Cream Twists

By Jennie Whiteside

Yield: 5 dozen twists


1 cake compressed yeast OR 1 package active dry yeast

¼ cup lukewarm water


Soften compressed yeast in water, or soften dry yeast in very warm water in a small dish.



3 ½ cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons salt


Cut into the flour mixture:

½ cup butter

½ cup Crisco


Blend in:

2 beaten eggs

½ cup commercial sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Softened yeast


Mix well.  Cover; chill at least 2 hours.  (Dough may be stored in refrigerator up to 4 days and baked as needed.)


Mix 1 ½ cups sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla in a separate bowl to sprinkle on layers when rolling out dough.


After chilling dough, sprinkle board with about ½ cup granulated sugar.  Roll out half of the dough to a 16 inch x 8 inch rectangle; sprinkle with vanilla sugar.  Fold one end of dough over center.  Fold opposite end over to make 3 layers.  Turn ¼ way around and repeat rolling and folding twice, sprinkling board with additional sugar as needed.  Roll out to about ¼ inch thick.  Cut into 4 inch x 1 inch strips; twist each strip 2 or 3 times.  Place on ungreased baking sheets.  Repeat entire process with remaining dough.


Bake in moderate oven (375 degrees) approximately 15 to 20 minutes until light golden brown.




Magic Peanut butter cookies

By Janet Griffith

Yield: 6-7 dozen cookies


1 cup sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Mix sugar well with peanut butter; add remaining ingredients.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until cookies are puffed and golden.  Cool; remove from baking sheet.