In certain circles of the greater Mankato area, Debbie Paulson’s cookies are legendary.
At Christmastime, she’ll put more than 20 different kinds on a tray and hand them out at the North Mankato American Legion, where her husband is a member, and to a lucky selection of friends. The chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, peanut butter, Reese’s cup, thin mint, Heath, M&M and sugar varieties, among others, might not look all that unique, she said. But their appearance isn’t what keeps ’em coming back.
“Once they taste my cookies,” she said, “they’ll be back.”
Paulson’s best friend, Ivy Lewis, knows well the power of a Paulson cookie. That’s why she happily accepted her friend’s offer in the spring of 2011 to bake up a bunch to sell as a fundraiser for the RBA Charter School robotics team’s season, including the trip to nationals.
Lewis’ daughter, RBA senior Rebecca Lewis, was on the team last year and again this year.
“She has made a lot of cookies,” Lewis said. “That’s exactly the kind of friends in the community we need.”
This year Paulson’s baking skills were called upon again. The Eagle Lake resident baked hundreds of cookies that Lewis would wrap in bunches of three, and they would sell the bundles for $1 at RBA, the Legion and Lewis’ work place at Mankato Motors.
Paulson’s cookies managed to raise more than $1,000 for the team, which was at the national competition in St. Louis, Mo., at the end of April.
Paulson isn’t sure what she does differently with her recipes than other bakers. She said she always has a cookie sheet under the sheet of cookies baking in the oven so that the bottoms don’t get hard. But other than that, she said she takes standard recipes and just makes her own little tweaks.
Aside from some money here and there for supplies, most of the ingredients Paulson puts into baking the cookies for RBA are from her own kitchen. It’s just fun to do nice things for people, she said.
“I just do a lot of volunteer stuff all the time,” she said, listing Women of Today, foster care and work down at the Legion as some of her favorite things.
She even helped sew the RBA robotics team’s flag, which they flew proudly at nationals.