Archive for Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Winning combos

A look at the recipes that captured top prizes at the county fair

Apple crunch muffins

Apple crunch muffins

August 8, 2007


Swedish Rye Bread

Swedish Rye Bread

Who needs "Top Chef" when you've got the Douglas County Fair?

Every year, dozens of chefs - both 4-H youngsters and adults - square off in the fair's cooking categories. The entries range from cakes to pickle relish, from dehydrated vegetables to breads.

Here are some of the recipes for the winning foods.

Swedish Rye Bread

Category: 4-H Best of Bread

Grand Champion winner: Stuart Wakeman, Kanwaka 4-H Club

2 potatoes

2 cups reserved potato water

2 yeast cakes, or 2 packages dry yeast

1 quart buttermilk

4 cups rye flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

4 teaspoons salt

1 cup sugar

1 cup molasses

1/2 cup shortening

1 tablespoon caraway seeds

1/2 cup orange peel, grated

10 to 12 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg white

1 tablespoon cold water

In a large pan of water, boil the potatoes until soft. Drain, reserving 2 cups of the potato water. To make the starter, mash the potatoes in a large bowl and add the reserved potato water. In a saucepan, warm the buttermilk just until lukewarm and add it to the potato mixture along with the yeast, rye flour, 1 cup of all-purpose flour and salt. Stir well. Cover and let rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.

While starter is rising, combine the sugar, molasses, shortening, caraway seeds and orange peel in a large pan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring often, just until the sugar dissolves. Remove it from heat and cool to lukewarm.

Stir the sugar and molasses mixture into the sponge until completely combined. Work in 10-12 cups of all-purpose flour, until the dough is no longer sticky and can be handled easily.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Form the dough into 4 large or 6 medium-sized loaves. Place on lightly greased baking sheets or in greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour or more.

When the loaves are ready to bake, combine the egg white and water and gently brush the tops of the loaves, Bake the loaves at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Brush them again after 20 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 loaves.

Dehydrated Tomatoes

Dehydrated Tomatoes

Dehydrated tomatoes

Category: Open class food preservation

Reserve Champion winner: Samantha Box, Eudora

Choose paste-type varieties. Wash, dip in boiling water 30 seconds; then dip in cold water to remove skins. Cut into slices 1/4-inch thick. Dry at 145 degrees until crisp, approximately 15 hours.

Carrot Cake

Category: 4-H Non-Perishable Food Product

Grand Champion winner: Michael Krumm, Lone Star 4-H Club


2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs, beaten

3/4 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8-ounce can crushed pineapple

2 cups grated carrots

3 1/2 ounces flaked coconut

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup raisins (optional)

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Cream both sugars with butter until light. Add eggs and cream together. Combine buttermilk, vanilla extract, pineapple, carrots, coconut and walnuts. Into the butter and sugar mixture, add the flour mixture with the wet mixture alternately, starting and ending with the flour.

Place a dot of shortening on bottom of three (9-inch round) cake pans. Cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of each cake pan and place in pans. Grease and flour the pans (on top of parchment). Do not grease or flour the sides. Bake in a 350-degree oven until done (approximately 50-55 minutes).


1 cup granulated sugar

1 stick butter

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. When the cakes come out of the oven, pour glaze over them while still in the cake pans. Allow the cakes to cool for 15 minutes and remove from cake pans, flipping the cakes so glaze is on the top. Allow to cool thoroughly.

Buttercream Icing:

10 cups powdered sugar

2 1/2 cups shortening

1/2 cup corn syrup

1/2 cup water

Dash of salt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or other combination of flavoring)

Pour 1/2 to 3/4 of the powdered sugar in a bowl. With a spatula, make a well in the center. Add corn syrup, water, salt and flavoring in the well. Begin mixing on low, adding in the shortening a little at a time, and scraping the sides of the bowl continuously. When blended, add the rest of the powdered sugar. Add more powdered sugar if too soft; add water if it is too stiff.

Frost the cake between layers and on sides and top. Sprinkle top and sides of cake with toasted walnuts.

Red Lobster Biscuits

Red Lobster Biscuits

Red Lobster Biscuits

Category: 4-H Non-Perishable Food Product

Reserve Grand Champion winner: Scott Johnston, Stull Busy Beavers 4-H Club

2 cups Bisquick

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2/3 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Parsley (about 1/4 teaspoon)

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix first three ingredients until a soft dough forms. Drop by spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes until golden brown. Mix butter and garlic powder. Add parsley. Brush mixture over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.

Italian Cheese Bread

Italian Cheese Bread

Italian Cheese Bread

Category: 4-H Best of Breads

Reserve Champion winner: Michael Krumm, Lone Star 4-H Club

3/4 cup lukewarm water (110-115 degrees)

1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg, beaten

3 to 3 1/4 cups bread flour

1/2 cup small curd cottage cheese

1/2 cup grated dried three cheeses (Parmesan, Romano and Asiago)

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

1 1/2 teaspoons salt


1 egg beaten

1 to 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

In mixer bowl, combine water, yeast and sugar. Add egg, 1 cup flour, cottage cheese, dried cheeses and butter; beat 2 minutes. Combine seasonings and add to mixture. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough.

Knead dough 10-12 minutes or until soft and elastic. Place in greased bowl; turn to coat top. Cover with a warm, damp cloth. Let rise until double. Punch dough down. Divide into thirds and shape into balls, cover. Let rest 10 minutes. Roll each piece into a 20-inch rope. Braid loosely and pinch ends of ropes together and tuck the sealed portion under the braid. Place on greased baking sheet. Spray loaf lightly with water; cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double. Brush braid with beaten egg; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven 28-30 minutes, turning baking sheet several times. Cover with foil last 10 minutes to prevent over-browning. Bake until golden and done. Remove from pan and cool on rack. Makes 1 braid, 16 slices.

Tropical Pool Cake

Category: 4-H Cooking For Fun

Reserve Grand Champion winner: Kain Anderson, Jayhawk 4-H Club

2 tubs (16 ounces each) vanilla frosting

Blue, brown, orange, red, green, yellow and black paste or gel food color

Two 8 or 9 inch round cooled baked yellow cake layers, tops trimmed level and one layer frozen about two hours for easier cutting

1 1/2 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers

2 boxes (3 ounces each) Jell-O Berry Blue gelatin

1 cup green chocolate melting wafers (Wilton)

3 plain bread sticks

A few Cocoa Puffs cereal balls

Teddy Grahams cookies (Nabisco)

Goldfish Colors and Baby Goldfish crackers (Pepperidge Farm)

Butterfly-shaped graham crackers (Keebler Bug Bites)

Red or orange decorating sugar

Green sprinkles

2 chocolate Nuggets (Hershey's) unwrapped

2 teaspoons yellow nonpareil sprinkles

2 red ball sprinkles

Green Fruit by the Foot Striped sour belt candy

1 Gummi ring

2 small striped peppermint candy balls

You also will need: quart size ziptop bags, 3 wooden spoons

Tint 1 tub frosting light blue. Tint 1 cup of the other tub light brown and spoon into a ziptop bag. Place unfrozen cake layer on a serving plate. Spread top with 1/2 cup blue frosting. Top with frozen cake layer, trimmed side down. Starting about 1 inch from the edge, cut a crescent-shaped outline about 3/4 inch deep for pool. Using a fork, remove cake within outline in an even layer.

Spread blue frosting smoothly on sides of cake. Snip a small corner off the bag of light brown frosting; pipe on top of cake to cover all but the hollowed-out pool area. For sand, sprinkle top and around base of cake with the vanilla wafer crumbs. (It's OK if some land in the pool area.)

Pool: Prepare both boxes of gelatin using a total of only 2 cups water. Set in a bowl of ice cubes and water; stir until gelatin just begins to thicken. Carefully pour into hollowed-out pool area. Refrigerate 2 hours or until set.

Coconut Palm Trees: Arrange 3 wooden spoons crosswise on a baking sheet. Cover with wax paper. (Spoons will help make the leaves a bit wavy and more natural.) Put the green melting wafers into a ziptop bag. Microwave on high at 10-second intervals, squeezing bag often, until melted. Snip a very small corner from the bag and pipe 1 1/2 to 2-inch-long palm leaves on wax paper crosswise over spoons. Repeat to make at least 15 leaves. (It's a good idea to make extra.) Refrigerate about 5 minutes or until set. Peel leaves from wax paper. Using a serrated knife, trim bread sticks to 8 inches. Reheat green chocolate in ziptop bag for several seconds if necessary. Remove wooden spoons from baking sheet, leaving wax paper. Pipe dots of green chocolate at one end of bread stick. Add several leaves; refrigerate until set. Repeat, adding more leaves. Attach Cocoa Puffs as coconuts with a few dots of frosting.

Swimmers, Fish and Butterfly: Spoon 2 tablespoons vanilla frosting into a ziptop bag. Divide remaining frosting among cups; tint different colors. Spoon each into a ziptop bag. One at a time, cut a tiny tip off corner of bags and pipe clothing, features and eyes on bears and fish. Decorate the top of the butterfly graham cracker with frosting; sprinkle with decorating sugar. Pipe a green line of frosting for the body; add the green sprinkles as antennae.

Assemble: Using scissors, cut Fruit by the Foot into seaweed and leaf shapes. Press seaweed onto the side of the cake. Attach decorated fish with some frosting. Pipe white dots as bubbles above the fish. Insert coconut trees at different heights. Arrange leaves under the trees. Add a few extra Cocoa Puffs in the sand. Attach butterfly and decorated bears with frosting. Use a length of striped sour belt candy as a beach towel and a Gummi ring as an inner tube. Place peppermint beach balls. Pipe white splashes around bears in pool.

You can make cake layers up to 3 days ahead; wrap airtight and refrigerate. Make through Step 6 up to 1 day ahead. Wrap ziptop bag of white frosting airtight to use the next day. Leave decorations at room temperature. Assemble up to 2 hours before serving; leave at room temperature.

Grape Jelly

Category: 4-H Food Preservation

Grand Champion winner: Christopher Berg, Lone Star 4-H Club

5 1/2 cups grape juice

One 1.75-ounce package Sure-Jell Low Sugar (pectin)

3 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon butter

Prepare fruit by crushing, adding 1 cup with water and bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Place 3 layers of cheese cloth in strainer. Pour fruit into cheesecloth; let juice drip into bowl. Press gently to remove more juice. Measure exact amount of sugar into separate bowl. Mix 1/4 cup sugar from measured amount and pectin into small bowl. Stir pectin-sugar mix into fruit juice. Add 1/2 teaspoon butter to reduce foaming. Bring mixture to a full boil, add remaining sugar and return to full rolling boil. Stir constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam with metal spoon. Ladle hot liquid into hot sterile jars, leaving 1/8 inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 5 minutes in boiling water. Yields 7 half-pints.

Sweet Pickle Relish

Sweet Pickle Relish

Sweet Pickle Relish

Category: 4-H Food Preservation

Reserve Grand Champion winner: Katie Jones, Clinton Eagles 4-H Club

1 quart chopped cucumbers (about 4 medium)

2 cups chopped onions (about 2 medium)

1 cup chopped sweet green pepper (about 1 medium)

1 cup chopped sweet red pepper (about 1 medium)

1/4 cup salt

3 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon celery seed

1 tablespoon mustard seed

2 cups cider vinegar

Combine cucumbers, onions, green and red peppers in a large bowl; sprinkle with salt and cover with cold water. Let stand 2 hours. Drain; rinse and drain thoroughly. Combine sugar, spices and vinegar in a large sauce pot. Bring to a boil. Add drained vegetables; simmer 10 minutes. Pack hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

Baking Powder Biscuits

Category: 4-H Extreme Makeover

Grand Champion winner: Haley Parker, Lone Star 4-H Club

2 cups whole wheat flour*

1 tablespoon sugar

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup shortening

3/4 cup milk

Heat oven to 450 degrees.

Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender or criss-crossing 2 knives, until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves side of bowl (dough will be soft and sticky).

Place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead lightly 10 times. Roll or pat 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured 2 to 2 1/4 inch round cutter. Place on ungreased cookie sheet about 1 inch apart for crusty sides, touching for soft sides.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Immediately remove from cookie sheet. Serve warm.

*Original recipe called for white all-purpose.

Apple crunch muffins

Category: 4-H Extreme Makeover

Reserve Grand Champion winner: Leslie Queen, Lone Star 4-H Club

Original recipe ingredients

4 tablespoons margarine (1/2 stick)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup milk

1 egg, beaten

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup raw apple, chopped


1/3 cup light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup almonds, chopped

Revised recipe ingredients

4 tablespoons Smart Squeeze Non-Fat Margarine

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup skim milk

1/4 cup egg substitute

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cup raw apple, chopped


5 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup almonds, chopped

Cream Non-Fat Margarine Spread and sugar. Add skim milk and egg substitute. Combine dry ingredients and add. Peel and dice apples very fine and add. Grease Muffin tin with non-fat cooking spray. Place batter in muffin tins and prepare the topping by combining the topping mix and spreading it over the muffins. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Apricot pie

Apricot pie

Apricot Pie

Category: Open Class Food Preparation

Champion winner: Aliene Bieber, Lawrence

3 cups dried apricots, chopped

2 cups water

3/4 cup sugar

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons butter

Pastry for a two crust pie

In saucepan bring apricots and water to a boil. Cook for 20 minutes. Add sugar, salt and butter then cook another 5 minutes. Arrange apricots in an unbaked pie shell. Cover with top crust. Slit top and flute edges. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Aliene's Pie Crust (for two-crust pie)

2 1/2 cups unbleached flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 cup butter-flavored shortening

4 tablespoons cold nonfat milk

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Mix flour, salt, sugar and shortening until you have a crumbly mixture. Using fingers, mix lightly. Add milk and syrup. Mix just until dough forms a soft ball. Roll out half at a time. If baking for a one-crust pie, bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until nicely browned. If making a two-crust pie, bake according to recipe.

Wellesley Fudge Cake

Category: Open Class Food Preparation

Reserve Champion winner: Toni Saunders, Bonner Springs

4 squares unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup water

1 3/4 cups sugar

1 2/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup butter

3 eggs

3/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Classic Fudge Frosting (recipe follows)

Melt chocolate in water in saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Cool. Mix flour, soda and salt. Cream butter. Gradually beat in remaining 1 1/4 cup sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each. Alternately add flour mixture and milk, beating after each addition until smooth (begin and end with flour mixture). Blend in vanilla and chocolate mixture.

Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch layer pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes. Remove from pans and finish cooling on racks. Spread frosting between layers and over top and sides.

Kennedy O'Dell, of the Meadowlark 4-H Club, was named Champion in the Cooking For Fun category for her Potted Vegetables Cake.

Kennedy O'Dell, of the Meadowlark 4-H Club, was named Champion in the Cooking For Fun category for her Potted Vegetables Cake.

Classic Fudge Frosting

4 squares unsweetened chocolate

2 tablespoons butter

1 pound (4 cups) powdered sugar

Dash of salt

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Melt chocolate with butter over very low heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat. Combine sugar, salt, milk and vanilla. Add chocolate, blending well. If necessary, let stand until reaches spreading consistency, stirring occasionally. Spread quickly, adding a small amount of additional milk if frosting thickens. Makes 2 1/2 cups.


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