Her Macaroons are a Daytime TV Hit

South Jersey is going to have some representation at this year’s 39th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards—and it’s going to be in the form of locally baked cookies.

Maria’s Mom’s Italian Cookie Cupboard in Marlton will be supplying coconut macaroons for inclusion in the national award celebration’s gift bags this Saturday, June 23. It’s not the first time the local bakery is getting national props.

Three months ago, Maria Ritter, owner and third-generation cookie maker, was tapped by Off The Wall Gifts—the gift bag coordinators for the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences—to supply 2,500 lemon sprinkle cookies for the annual Sports Emmys, which took place April 30 in New York. Off The Wall was so pleased with the product that they asked Ritter to supply treats for the Daytime Emmys as well.

“We were so excited when we received that call," says Ritter. “It’s rewarding to know that the cookies I make with my mom are going to be enjoyed at such a special event."

This time around Ritter and her bevy of bakers spent the better part of three intense days concocting 2,000 coconut macaroons for the Los Angeles-based award ceremony. Everyone who attends will go home with a gift bag.

In addition to the honor of being selected to fill the bags, Off The Wall is also flying Ritter, her daughter, and her mother, Mary Lyn, to the West Coast for the ceremony.

“It’s really such an exciting opportunity,” says Ritter. “We’ll be bringing our gowns and will be walking down the red carpet with everyone else. I just think that’s really cool, especially for my 72-year-old mother.”

What’s also really cool is the story behind the bakery’s genesis.

According to Ritter, she and her mom have been baking her cookies together for as long as she can remember – using her grandmother’s recipes, of course. The most cherished of all were the ones they baked every year for Christmas, a family tradition that went back several generations. Then, in 1999, Mary Lyn was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“All at once so many things became meaningless,” writes Ritter on the bakery’s website. “But what became even more meaningful were the moments spent with Mom.”

They never got to make cookies that year, but the family decided that once Mary Lyn was cancer-free they would make their special Christmas cookies every day of the year. Thus Maria’s Mom’s Italian Cookie Cupboard was born.

“Our story is a huge part of this business, and it’s what we’re all about,” says Ritter. “I think people are drawn to it not only because of our battle with cancer but because so many other families out there are dealing with the same battle every day.”

So what is Ritter looking forward to the most in Los Angeles?

“I just want Ellen [DeGeneres] to eat my coconut macaroons,” she said with a laugh. “That’s not asking for a lot, is it?”

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