Janet's Notebook
Jackie Mento Wins Big with Chocolate Hazelnut Cookie Recipe!

Cookie Queen Jackie Mento

"I just don't believe it," exclaimed Jackie Mento when she heard the news that she had just won the Grand Prize in the Just A Pinch Cookie Celebration contest. Her recipe for Hazies (a reference to the cookies' uber decadent hazelnut and chocolate filling) stood out among a very stiff field of competition and earned her top honors.

"I wanted to come up with something a little bit more sophisticated," says Jackie. "I live in a retirement community and they do cookie exchanges. I thought this would be something really different and more fun to serve. Something a bit special."

Chocolate and hazelnut are a timeless flavor combination that gets a classy makeover in Jackie's delicious cookie recipe. "One of my favorite flavor combinations is chocolate with hazelnuts. I wanted to make a pretty cookie to serve with a nice cup of tea or hazelnut coffee for a nice afternoon pick-me-up," explains Jackie.

Another thing we loved about this cookie is that the recipe invites personal creativity. Jackie frequently makes a raspberry-filled version and suggests that raisins and figs would also be a good filler. Make plenty, because the Hazies freeze well, too. "When my neighbors stop in to say hello or I need to carry a goodie to a pot luck, I just pull these out of the freezer and always get oohs and ahhs because they are so different, pretty, and tasty!"

Jackie is retired from owning her own small catering business and continues to fill her days with her favorite hobby: food! She has plans of starting a recipe club with other food enthusiasts in her adopted hometown of The Villages, FL, the largest retirement community in the nation! "I've told so many people about Just A Pinch, and now we're going to get together in person, too."

We cannot wait to meet Jackie as we welcome her to Nashville, TN as part of her big Grand Prize! She and a guest will wing their way to TN to take part in the next Blue Ribbon Showcase event... where she and her Hazies will take center stage in front of a live audience! Jackie also wins a fantabulous $1,000 shopping spree at the Viking Kitchen Store, tickets to the legendary Grand Ol' Opry and VIP limo service!

Rounding out our field of finalists are a diverse group of cookies that quite honestly made this the most difficult judging we've had to date! Congratulations to these wonderful Runners-Up who will receive a limited edition Just A Pinch chef's hat AND a deserved spot on the Honorary Kitchen Crew!

Chocolate Cherry Beauties
Cassandra Nasr - Stockton, CA

Island Cookie Bars
Emily Glover - Lawrence, KS

Ginger Cream Molasses Sandwich Cookies
Cindy Sandberg - Carlisle, IN

Carrot Cookies with Mascarpone Frosting
Susan Feliciano - Clinton, TN

Thank you to all of you who entered your very sweetest of recipes! The chances to win continue with the Just A Pinch Heirloom Recipe Contest. We're honoring family cooking and giving YOU the chance to honor the special cooks in your life... and win big in the process!

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Carolyn Cheek - Mar 10, 2012
Rose O'Connell - Mar 9, 2012
Click on the HAZIES that is blue writing and it will take you to it.
Joyce Dingus - Mar 9, 2012
I don't see the recipe either...help.!!
Carolyn Cheek - Mar 9, 2012
Where is the recipe for the cookies?
Maggie May Schill - Mar 8, 2012
Awesome! Congrats Jackie!
Jackie Mento - Mar 8, 2012
thank you all! I'm so excited and can't wait to go to nashville. it all sounds so unreal and wonderful!
Colleen Simmons - Mar 8, 2012
HOORAY Jackie!!
Sherry Gaynor - Mar 7, 2012
Hi Jackie, Congrats...and have a wonderful time with your sisters.!! Sherry
Jennifer Deming - Mar 7, 2012
Congratulations to all the crew.
Pauline Greenwood - Mar 7, 2012
Congratulations to all the winners... I've tried a few your cookies already and can't wait to make the others.... yumm!! It's so great getting to know you all through this club. Just a Pinch is like the Facebook of recipes!...and as addicting. lol I love meeting and chatting with other food lovers...not to mention the recipes!
Angela Gray - Mar 7, 2012
Congratulations Jackie and everyone who placed ! The recipes look amazing and I can hardly wait to try them !
Cherie Martin - Mar 6, 2012
The recipe sounds yummy and your dog is JUST ADORABLE, Jackie!!!
nadine mesch - Mar 6, 2012
Congratulations Jackie! Your recipe looks wonderful. And so do the other recipes. Just a Pinch has some of the best cooks in the nation:)
ENJOY your trip!!!!!!
Eleanor Cottone - Mar 6, 2012
I can't find this recipe.....
Colleen Sowa - Mar 6, 2012
Congratulations to all of the people mentioned in this article.... Kitchen Crew.... you rock! Excellent choices! xo