Photo: Almond Palmiers and Devil's Delight Cookies from The Great Minnesota Cookie Book

In our show’s home state of Minnesota, holiday cookie baking is a knock-down, drag-out competition thanks in part to the food section of the Star Tribune. Fifteen years ago, Rick Nelson, the paper’s restaurant writer, suggested that they have a little holiday cookie contest for readers. 3,500 recipes later, Rick and Lee Dean, the paper’s food editor, picked 150 of the very best for The Great Minnesota Cookie Book. Managing Producer Sally Swift talked to Rick about the best in show. He also shared four recipes from the book: Almond Palmiers, Italian Almond Cookies, Devil's Delight Cookies, and Pistachio Orange Cookies.

Rick Nelson and Lee Svitak Dean are co-authors of The Great Minnesota Cookie Book. Click title or photo to purchase the book. Photo: Tom Wallace

Sally Swift

Sally Swift is the managing producer and co-creator of The Splendid Table. Before developing the show, she worked in film, video and television, including stints at Twin Cities Public Television, Paisley Park, and Comic Relief with Billy Crystal. She also survived a stint as segment producer on The Jenny Jones Show.