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Harrisburg – Jane Lerew of York County, baked a snappy batch of gingersnap cookies to win first place in the first ever Gingersnap Cookie Contest Tuesday, Jan. 11, at the 2011 Pennsylvania Farm Show.

Judges observed, felt and tasted each cookie entry as they worked to determine which cookies stood out above the rest.

Thirty-six plates of cookies were entered in the contest with a variety of ingredients making their mark on the judges' opinions of each cookie.

Judge William Piper regaled the crowd with a story from his youth of his father keeping a store-bought bag of gingersnap cookies in their milking parlor. Because of this memory, he wanted to "hear that snap that crackles when I put the cookie in my mouth."

Judge Deb Felak said they were "seeing a lot of different textures, but still truly wanted to see that classic snap."

First prize winner, Lerew, was awarded $250 by sponsor Good Foods Inc. Second place was won by Marel Raub of Perry County and third place was won by Madison Foor of Bedford County.

The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 290 commercial exhibitors. The show runs Jan. 8-15 at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center in Harrisburg. Admission is free and parking is $10.

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First Prize Gingersnap Cookie Recipe
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
¾ cup shortening
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup Golden Barrel Supreme Baking Molasses
1/3 cup sugar for rolling balls

Preheat oven to 350oF.
Combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, salt, and pepper in a bowl and set aside.
Cream the shortening and sugars together in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the egg and molasses and beat well.
Sift the dry ingredients into the wet bowl and mix until uniform.
Portion into ¾ inch balls. Roll in sugar and place 2 in. apart on a baking mat or ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes. Cool on sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to rack.

For photos of the event, click here.