Jerry Pilachowski looked down at the blue ribbon in his hand and shook his head.
"I can't believe I won," he said. "I'm so excited!"
Pilachowski, of Red Lion, has been entering contests at the York Fair's Culinary Corner for five years, and until Friday evening, had nothing to show for it.
But that didn't discourage the 60-year-old, and it didn't entice him to change his recipe, either.
His signature Cream Cheese Squares took first place among the 22 entries in the Shurfine Markets Everyday Cookies competition.
Pilachowski has entered the cookies in Everyday Cookies competition since he first began entering the contest, but has never placed before.
He was confident in his recipe and just needed the right judges to agree with him.
"One of these days, you're going to get a judge who likes it," he said.
This year, those judges were Kathy Dietz, Kathy Chronister and Marsha Rosenburg. The entries were judged on flavor, originality and ease of preparation.
Pilachowski's recipe was inspired by cookies he had at a friend's house. He took the idea and tweaked it to make it his own, adding in his secret ingredient: Almond extract. "People try them and they're like, 'What is that?'"
Pilachowski entered a total of five baking contests at this year's fair. But when asked if he considers himself a good baker, he shrugged his shoulders.
"I just do it for fun."
In addition to his blue ribbon, Pilachowski walked away with a $50 gift certificate to Shurfine markets.
Brenda Moore of Mount Wolf took home the second-place ribbon with her Raspberry Truffle Bars, and Michelle Webb of Red Lion placed third with her Chocolate Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Meltaways.
Cream Cheese Squares
2 cans of crescent rolls
2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar, plus extra
1 egg, separated
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
Grease a 9x13 pan and lay out a package of crescent rolls flat.
Combine cream cheese, sugar and egg yolk. Spread evenly over rolls.
Cover with second can of crescent rolls. Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees until the top is golden brown.
Let cool completely before cutting into squares.