Against her children's judgment, she decided to submit the family recipe for the bars to the Southeast Missourian's Season's Best Cookie Contest. Rediger also submitted her recipe for Peanut Blossoms, which were not chosen for the bake off.
"I was looking for something different," she said.
Her choice paid off. Rediger's Butter Pecan Turtle Bars were voted the No. 1 cookie in the Southeast Missourian Cookie Bake Off. The judges were so pleased with the chocolate, nuts and crust combination they chose it over eight other cookies in the bake off.
"It's an old recipe that came from my mother," Rediger said. She and her husband Harry were raised in Seward, Neb., and moved to Cape Girardeau in 1977 when Harry was transferred here for his job with J.C. Penney. The trip to Cape Girardeau was the couple's sixth and last move.
"We decided we liked Cape Girardeau, so we stayed," Rediger said.
She said her mother baked every day and Rediger did, too, when her children were younger.
"She loved to bake cookies," she sad. "The difference between her and me is she never ate them. I love them."
The Redigers raised four children in Cape Girardeau, all graduates from Central High School. Two now live in St. Louis; one lives in Cape Girardeau and one lives in Dallas. Rediger said she has six grandchildren and everyone convenes at her home for Christmas, where she will bake the Butter Pecan Turtle Bars.
"It wasn't one of my family's favorites," she said. "I think now that they're adults they will like this cookie."
2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of oleo
Combine crust and oleo using a fork. Pat into ungreased 9-by-13 inch pan.
1 1/2 cups of whole pecans
1 cup of brown sugar
2/3 cup of oleo
2 cups of chocolate chips
Sprinkle the pecans over the unbaked crust. In a heavy pan combine brown sugar and 2/3 cup of oleo. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil for 30 seconds. Pour evenly over pecans and crust. Bake 18 to 22 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with 2 cups of chocolate chips. Allow chips to melt and then swirl, don't spread. Let cool and cut into bars.
Rediger also submitted these peanut and chocolate cookies.
1 3/4 cups of flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of shortening
1/2 cup of peanut butter
2 Tlbs. of milk
1 tsp. of vanilla
48 chocolate kisses
Combine all the ingredients except candy kisses in a large bowl. Mix on the lowest speed until dough forms. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, using rounded tsp. for each. Roll balls in sugar, place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Top each cookie immediately with a candy kiss, press down firmly so the cookie cracks around the edge.