Thumbprint cookies winner

Shelley Pokrivka of Seven Valleys shows off her first place ribbon cookies and her daughter’s third place ribbon cookies.

Mary Klaus, For The Sentinel

HARRISBURG—For the second time in three years, a York County mother and daughter got the thumbs up from judges at the Pennsylvania Farm Show thumbprint cookie contest.

Shelley Pokrivka of Seven Valleys beat 22 other contestants to win the blue ribbon and $150 prize at the contest on the second day of the 102nd Pennsylvania Farm Show. Her daughter, Elizabeth, also of Seven Valleys, won third place and $50.

“I use my Mom’s thumbprint cookie recipe and my own jelly,” Shelley Pokrivka said. “Thumbprint cookies are a family tradition for us.”

Sponsored by Christina Maser Pantry of Lancaster, the contest was open to all Pennsylvanians. Thumbprint cookies, popular during the Christmas season, are made with a shortbread dough that is formed into balls and rolled in finely chopped nuts. The name comes from the fact that bakers use their thumbs to make an indention into each cookie, then fill that crater with jam.

Other winners were Pam Foor of Bedford County, second place and $100; Amanda Kurtz of Emmaus, fourth prize and a ribbon; and Dorothy Martin of Conestoga, fifth prize and a ribbon.

Three judges evaluated the entries in what appears to be the most laid back of the Farm Show baking contests. They judged the cookies on appearance, flavor, texture and uniformity.

Nancy Bruno of Wallingford said that she made fresh strawberry jam for her filling.

“You need a tasty dough but it’s really all about the filling,” she said. “I used an old family recipe for these cookies, which we make at Christmas. People rave about them.”

Shelley Pokrivka said that she was delighted to win first place but would have been even happier if her daughter, Elizabeth, won it because it was her birthday. The mother filled her cookies with elderberry preserves while her daughter made ginger lime pear walnut thumbprints.

Winning recipe

Shelley Pokrivka’s winning recipe follows:

¼ cup butter, softened

¼ cup shortening

¼ cup brown sugar

1 egg, separated

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

¾ cup finely chopped pecans and walnuts

2 cups favorite jelly or preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix butter and sugar until creamy. Add egg yolk and vanilla.

Mix dry ingredients together. Add to first mixture.

Shape by teaspoons into balls. Roll each ball into beaten egg white and then nuts.

Place one inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using finger or wooden spoon handle, make an indentation in the center of each ball.

Bake for 10 minutes then fill each cookie with preserves. Cool and serve. (Makes three dozen cookies)

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