Mercedes Porter
Porter prepping for the Today Show.

I could hardly believe my ears when I received the phone call: "Congratulations Mercedes, you have been selected to participate in The Today Show's Top Holiday Cookie Segment." The producer from The Today Show was calling to notify me that my family recipe for Ginger Molasses Spice Cookies was going to be featured on a segment on the show the week before Christmas. My great Today Show cookie adventure began this way: the week before Thanksgiving, The Today Show hosts each chose their favorite holiday cookie on air and then asked viewers to submit a family recipe for one of the cookies. Host Matt Lauer explained that if your recipe was selected you would have the chance to come to their studio in New York City and make the cookie live with the respective host. My great grandmother has a to-die-for recipe for Ginger Molasses Cookies that I now carry on the family tradition of making each Christmas, so I submitted the recipe along with the requested photos of the cookies and myself. I knew that the chances were slim that I would be selected and so I tried to forget about the whole thing and not get my hopes up.

To my delight, one of the producers from The Today Show called me the week after Thanksgiving to congratulate me on being selected and was ready to efficiently make my travel arrangements for me to arrive in time for the rehearsal and big day on December 18.

My mother and I flew to New York City a couple days early to take in the festive holiday sights and shop and dine at some of our favorite places. The rehearsal on the set of The Today Show took place the night before the morning segment and helped me become familiar with the set and what steps of the recipe I would actually perform live on the show. Then bright and early Wednesday morning, it was time for hair, makeup and lights, camera, action! I was so excited to receive this incredible opportunity and was so blown away with the kindness of each person I encountered at Studio 1A Rockefeller Center. It has always been a dream of mine to bake on television and I was overwhelmed with the support and well wishes from friends and family that I received before I went to New York and after the segment aired.

My love and passion for cooking and baking is something that began when I was quite young. Many of my memories of growing up revolve around preparing food with my mother and both grandmothers. The excitement about creating food and sweet treats that has been ingrained in me through memorable family traditions has developed into one of my most fulfilling pastimes. Creating beautiful baked goods and savory meals to me is a way to show love and appreciation to others. On any given weeknight or weekend you can find me in my kitchen challenging myself by adding a twist to an old family recipe or using the basic ingredients that I know well to create an entirely new recipe. I photograph the steps of my recipes as well as my finished products and share the photos, recipes and stories on my personal blog Satisfy My Sweet Tooth (

Mercedes Porter was born and raised in North Dakota, but she currently lives in Minneapolis with her husband Tyler Peterson where they are both dentists.