The singer tours a haunted house – and gets a sweet surprise from a local pastry chef in Philadelphia

By Liza Hamm
August 25, 2012 10:15 AM
Courtesy Carolyn Santamauro

Carolyn Santamauro lives on Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia, Pa., known as the nation’s oldest residential street.

She’s used to seeing tourists outside her front door, but this week the pastry chef got a pleasant surprise when she met one very famous sightseer: Miley Cyrus.

“I was coming back from the gift shop and I saw a chick who had the same hair as Miley’s new hair,” says Santamauro, 30. “She comes around the corner and it was her! Her haircut looked absolutely fabulous.”

The singer has been in town to support her fiancé Liam Hemsworth while he films his new movie, Paranoia, but on Tuesday she was just a visitor checking out the sights with two friends.

“They were doing all the tourist attractions in Old City,” says Santamuaro. “She asked if I lived in the neighborhood and what it was like. I mentioned that my unit was haunted and she and her two friends wanted to know all the ghost stories. I invited them in to see my place.”

During the brief visit, Santamauro, a pastry chef who sells her fare online at, also offered the singer and her friends a sweet treat – and a short cooking class from Santamauro’s 3-year-old son Dylan.

“I had just made a batch of lemon cookies and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to offer my baked goods to Miley Cyrus. Dylan explained the whole process of making the cookies to her. She asked him questions – a lot of ‘How did you do that?’ – and said he was very cute.”

Cyrus and friends posed for a photo, then took their cookies to go. But sounds like the singer may have been inspired by the visit. Later that day, she tweeted “You should’ve learned to bake.”

Want to make the cookies at home? Here’s the recipe. (Alas, celebrity visitor not guaranteed.)

Makes about 21 cookies; adapted from
2¾ cups flour
1 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 stick butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
Sanding Sugar (or regular sugar) for decorating

• Preheat the oven to 400.
• In a large bowl combine flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt.
• In a mixer with paddle attachment beat butter, shortening, and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and add the eggs and lemon zest, and mix until fully incorporated. Then, add the flour mixture and mix at medium-low speed until just combined.
• Using a rounded ½ tablespoon, roll the dough into balls and then roll them in the sanding sugar.
• Place the dough about 2-3 inches apart on a cookie sheet.
• Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges start to turn gold. Let cool completely on rack.

Filling Ingredients
½ cup (1 stick) softened butter
½ cup solid vegetable shortening
3½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon zest (about 1 2 lemons)
½ tsp. citric acid (or sour salt, it is usually with the spices in the supermarket) It really gives the filling the tartness to balance the sweet buttery cookies.
• Beat all filling ingredients together until mixture is smooth and thick. • Spread one cookie with filling to the edge and top with another of the same size.