YOUNGSTOWN — Michelle Winkler experienced a few bumps along the road toward baking the best cookies, but she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
“I borrowed the recipe, and I’ve been using it for 10 years,” Winkler, of Poland, said, referring to the beginning stages of baking a large batch of rocky road cookies.
Winkler, who’s an interior designer, combined chocolate chips, almonds, chocolate and marshmallows to create the desserts, which also proved to be winners in one of the categories and divisions that were part of Saturday’s 10th annual Cookie Table and Cocktails fundraiser at the Assumption Social Center at St. Mary Catholic Church, 356 S. Belle Vista Ave., on the West Side.
Proceeds will benefit the Mahoning Valley Historical Society.
An estimated 350 people attended the four-hour fundraiser and sampled about 7,500 cookies of about 83 varieties on display. The treats also included buckeyes, lavender earl grey, skillet cherry date, coffee sandwich, Handel’s inspired praline pecan, chocolate mocha and apricot pillows.
Winkler, who enjoys baking cookies for the holidays, said she took two days to prepare the rocky road desserts, and the ice cream idea was a new twist for the annual event.
“I guess a little extra care and time went into it,” said Winkler, who added several extra marshmallows to her cookies.
Also happy to don a winner’s ribbon around her neck was Joni Edgar, 79, of Youngstown, who was awarded for being the oldest baker as well as the overall winner in the amateur division.
“I’m an amateur and very excited. I share the joy with Dominique,” Edgar said, referring to her daughter, Dominique Zordich, whose recipe Edgar had borrowed.
The winning treat was a batch of butter pecan cinnamon roll cookies, which Edgar made with little trouble or fanfare.
“It’s easy to make cinnamon rolls. You just add sugar, pecans and butter, and you’re done,” she said.
Linda Kostka, the MVHS’ development director, said no fundraising goal had been established for Saturday’s gathering, but the event has brought in more than $100,000 over the first nine years.
The ice cream cookie idea also was to honor the 100th anniversary of Harry Burt opening his confectionery business in 1922 in what is now the Tyler History Center on West Federal Street in downtown Youngstown, Kostka noted. Burt also invented the Good Humor ice cream bar.
Cookie Table and Cocktails has grown over the years, despite having been virtual last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, H. William Lawson, the MVHS’ executive director, said.
Previously, money raised went toward the society’s capital campaign. In recent years, however, funds generated have been used for special yearly projects, Lawson noted.
“People love it and we love it,” he said about the fundraiser.
Providing the musical entertainment was the Del Sinchak Band.
Oldest baker: Joni Edgar of Youngstown
Best unique ingredient: Darlene Corfman for lavender shortbread
Best ice cream flavor inspired cookie: Michelle Winkler, rocky road
Best decorated cookie: Shelli DelSignore from Shelli’s Cookies, pink rose sugar cookie
Best traditional cookie: David Felden, pizzelles
Professional division overall winner: Heather DeLucia from Heather Lynn’s Buckeyes
Amateur division overall winner: Joni Edgar for butter pecan cinnamon roll cookies