Here's a recipe worth duplicating: Mix together one good idea, six premium ingredients, a heaping spoonful of elbow grease, and a pinch of good luck. Bake till done... and walk away with a $1 million grand prize!
That was the winning formula for Carolyn Gurtz, 59, of Gaithersburg, MD, the winner of the $1 million grand prize in the 43rd annual Pillsbury Bake-Off. Carolyn's Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies took top honors out of tens of thousands of recipes submitted, impressing the judges at the finals with their "layers of peanut butter flavor" and their "delightful taste that combines two classics—a snickerdoodle and a peanut butter cookie."
Carolyn's been prepping for the big time virtually all her life. Her parents taught her to bake when she was seven, and she fondly remembers helping her dad flip rabbit-shaped pancakes. A regular contestant in local cooking competitions such as Maryland's Montgomery County Fair, she's been entering recipes in the Pillsbury Bake-Off for 15 years. One of Carolyn's baking rules: always use the very best ingredients, like C&H Pure Cane Sugar. She loves all of the varieties: brown, granulated, and confectioner's.
Carolyn says she shed tears of joy when she learned she'd been selected one of the 100 finalists. The happiness extended to the Dallas finals in April, where Carolyn enjoyed the camaraderie and support of her fellow contestants.
Winning the contest, Carolyn says, was "a total, total shock." But at least one person wasn't surprised. Carolyn's son Michael was the first to taste the winning cookies. His verdict: "Boy, these are winners!"
Since its inception in 1949, the Pillsbury Bake-Off has recognized more than 4,000 finalists. The contest is held every other year, so aspiring bakers have plenty of time to perfect their recipes before the 44th Bake-Off, in 2010.
Double-Delight Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe
Prep Time: 45 Min
Total Time: 45 Min
Makes: 24 cookies
- ¼ cup Fisher® Dry Roasted Peanuts, finely chopped
- ¼ cup C&H® Pure Cane Granulated Sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ cup JIF® Creamy Peanut Butter
- ½ cup C&H® Pure Cane Powdered Sugar
- 1 roll (16.5 oz.) Pillsbury® Create 'n Bake® refrigerated peanut butter cookies, well chilled
- Heat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, mix chopped peanuts, granulated sugar, and cinnamon; set aside.
- In another small bowl, stir peanut butter and powdered sugar until completely blended. Shape mixture into 24 (1-inch) balls.
- Cut roll of cookie dough into 12 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise to make 24 pieces; flatten slightly. Shape 1 cookie dough piece around 1 peanut butter ball, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough and balls.
- Roll each covered ball in peanut mixture; gently pat mixture completely onto balls. On ungreased large cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart. Spray bottom of drinking glass with CRISCO® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray; press into remaining peanut mixture. Flatten each ball to ½-inch thickness with bottom of glass. Sprinkle any remaining peanut mixture evenly on tops of cookies; gently press into dough.
- Bake 7 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Store tightly covered.