DeRusha Eats: The Great Minnesota Cookie Book

By Jason DeRusha

The Great Minnesota Cookie Book (Lee Svitak Dean and Rick Nelson)MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After 15 years and more than 3,500 recipes, Rick Nelson and Lee Svitak Dean may be the Minnesota cookie experts.

“There’s a real cookie culture here that doesn’t exist in other parts of the country,” Nelson, the Star Tribune’s food critic said. “There’s something about cookies, holidays and family members that come together.”

In 2003, Nelson suggested to his editor, Lee Svitak Dean, that the paper have a cookie contest.

“I have to say this was entirely Rick’s idea,” laughed Dean.

In its first year, there were more than 120 recipes submitted. Year after year the contest would grow larger, with more and more Minnesotans hoping to be judged “Minnesota’s Best Cookie.”

“We would get recipes with notes that say, ‘This is my great-grandmother’s from 100 years ago that I’ve been eating my whole life,’” Nelson said.

After 15 years of winners, Nelson and Dean have gathered the winners and runners up from each year in a new cookbook, The Great Minnesota Cookie Book.

Watch the segment.