Sherry Potocnak may be new in town, but she wasted no time in making a name for herself and her baking.
The Pittsburgh native, who moved to Bowling Green in 2017, handily won the 4th annual Holiday Cookie
Bakeoff at the Wood County District Public Library last month.
Her Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies were devoured by the voters. She brought 60 treats and there wasn’t
a crumb left.
The biggest compliment Potocnak received on the cookies was from a little girl. She had sampled a
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookie, then kept circling back. Her father said that the girl had tasted many
of the baked goods, but wanted to put all five of her voting tickets in Potocnak’s bag.
“I was actually shocked. I was just going to have fun,” she said of winning the library bakeoff.
It was no problem for Potocnak to produce the amount of cookies needed for the bakeoff. She became an
expert in mass cookie manufacturing when her daughters got married.
As is the custom in the Pittsburgh area, Potocnak made 129 dozen cookies — for each daughter’s nuptials —
as part of a wedding cookie table.
The cookie table does not replace the traditional cake, Potocnak said. It’s an addition to the desserts,
and guests are invited to take them home, she said.
“I had one at my wedding,” Potocnak said of a cookie table.
She was also known for creating treats around the holidays when she would regularly bake 12 different
kinds of cookies and gift them to family and friends.
“My grandma was a big baker and she would love making a lot of stuff and give it away. I think that’s
where I got that.”
She’s adjusted her baking recently while starting Weight Watchers. Her favorite baked good to make is
“Oh my goodness, it’s so easy,” Potocnak said. “They give you the plain recipe. I have put dried, minced
onion in them, dried cherries and Craisins.”
The main ingredients for the Weight Watchers bagels are flour, Greek yogurt and eggs.
“I fix the recipe, taking out a little bit of yogurt and put in pumpkin puree. I tweak it.”
Weight Watchers calculates food on a points basis, Potocnak said. A store-bought bagel is eight points,
but one using the program’s recipe is three or four points.
There is no tweaking for the Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies. She’s been making them for years and the
only adjustment she’s made is taking them down to bite size, for the weddings and library bakeoff. If
making them bite-sized, she suggested cutting the cherry in half to fit on the top of the cookie.
“I haven’t touched it,” she said of the recipe.
Potocnak has a few tips for baking the cookies. They include using the Eagle Brand sweetened condensed
milk and parchment paper.
“When you put the icing on it, before you bake it, it will come off. This way, it’s easier to clean up,”
she said of the parchment paper.
She and husband Jim, a former plant manager, made the move to be closer to their daughters who live in
Bowling Green and Perrysburg, and their three grandchildren. Their children are Jennifer Nichter and
Nikki Medjesky. Potocnak is retired and was an administrative assistant.
Once they decided to make the move, things progressed quickly, she said. They sold their Pittsburgh home
within a few days of listing it. She said they signed the papers selling their house at 8 a.m., then
closed on the Bowling Green home at 3 p.m. the same day.
She had been to Bowling Green before, as Nichter was getting her doctorate at Bowling Green State
“It’s a nice, quiet town,” Potocnak said.
The only thing missing? Bingo.
Potocnak said she loves to play and hasn’t been able to find a game.
She also hasn’t been cooking much since the move. That’s mostly to the great deals on delicious food in
the area, Potocnak said.
“When you can get two burgers for around $10.99 at Beckett’s — I’m not going to cook,” she said with a