This Is Our First Contest-Winning Recipe Ever

These cookies are just as tasty today as they were back then.

Through the years, Taste of Home and our sister brands have crowned hundreds of winning recipes. (And a quick glance at our Contests page shows that we’re still hungry for your submissions!) But what was the very first contest-winning recipe? And does it still hold up today? We dug through our archives to find out.

Check out 100 of our best contest-winning desserts.

Our First Contest-Winning Recipe

Funnily enough, our first contest-winning recipe didn’t even run in Taste of Home. It ran in the December 1970 issue of Farm Wife News—a publication that you might know today as Country Woman. It was featured in a column called “Rural Recipe Roundups” that featured the best recipes submitted by farm wives throughout the country.

The inaugural winning recipe came from Ione Diekfuss of Muskego, Wisconsin. The avid cook and baker’s Brown Butter Refrigerator Cookies took home the top prize.

“The brown butter cookies are a favorite of ours,” she told Farm Wife News after she won. “I especially like them because they’re quick and easy to prepare. I can mix them up in a few minutes, and pop them into the refrigerator or freezer. Then when I’m ready to bake, I take them out, slice them, and zip—they’re in the oven.”

Recently, our Test Kitchen whipped up a batch of her winning treats and everyone agreed that they’re as tasty today as they were then. Plus, with just eight simple ingredients, they’re perfect for beginner bakers.

How to Make Original Brown Butter Cookies

Re-create this contest-winning favorite in your own kitchen. We suggest enjoying them fresh out of the oven with a mug of coffee or a glass of milk.

Yields: About 10-1/2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans

Step 1: Brown the butter

You can’t make brown butter cookies without, well, brown butter! Start by heating the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Let it melt, then heat for 7-9 minutes or until the butter is golden brown. Be careful not to let it burn. (If you’re struggling, check out our guide on how to brown butter.) Then, remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the brown sugar until blended.

Step 2: Finish the dough

Transfer the butter and sugar mixture to a large bowl. Whisk in each of the eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well. Finish the dough by stirring in the pecans.

Step 3: Roll ’em up

Now it’s time to let the dough rest. This step really helps your cookies develop a strong, sweet flavor. You can learn more about chilling cookie dough here. Divide the dough into four portions, and roll each section into an 8-inch log. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

Step 4: Slice and bake

Once the dough has chilled, cut each log into 1/4-inch slices. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 375°F until the cookies are just set, about 5-7 minutes. Cool for 1 minute before removing from the pans and placing cookies on wire racks.

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Katie Bandurski
Katie is an Associate Editor for Taste of Home, specializing in writing and email newsletters. When she’s out of the office, you’ll find her exploring Wisconsin, trying out new vegetarian recipes and combing through antique shops.