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Georgia State Fair’s Best Bakers


By Seth Jackson 

  Four people won first place in the Georgia State Fair’s Best Baker Contest held last Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Categories included Youth Cookies Age 5 - 12, Youth Cookies Age 13 - 18, Pecan Pie and Peach Cobbler. We congratulate the winners and hope you enjoy their winning recipes!

Baking contest winner Sophia Evans.     Photo by Beverly Smith

Carmel Candy Apple Cookies
Sophia Evans won first place for Youth Cookies Age 5 - 12.  

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Red food coloring or gel
1 1/3 cup flour
1 cup dried apples, chopped
Pinch of salt
Caramel sauce (recipe below)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
15 cookie sticks, cut into approximately 2 inches long

  In a mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until creamy. Mix in vanilla and red gel. Add enough red gel, a drop at a time until cookie is apple-colored. Add flour and salt, mix until combined. Stir in dried apples. Roll into 1 inch balls, insert cookie stick in center and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350º. Bake 12 - 15 minutes or until bottoms are lightly brown. Allow to cool completely. 

Caramel Sauce:
1 (11 oz.) bag caramel bits
2 Tbsp. water

  Melt caramel bits and water in microwave safe bowl until creamy when stirred. Set aside. Assemble by gently dipping cookies into melted caramel using tongs. Roll in chopped nuts. Place on parchment paper to cool.

Baking contest winner Marlena Gooch.     Photo by Beverly Smith

Cinnamon Cookies
Marlena Gooch won first place for Youth Cookes Age 13 - 18.

1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon 

5 Tbsp. butter
8 oz. cream cheese
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 

  Preheat oven to 350º. Cream together butter and sugar. Mix in eggs and brown sugar. Mix flour, baking soda and cinnamon; add to creamed mixture, mixing well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Baking contest winner Sandy Sewell.      Photo by Beverly Smith

Pecan Pie Surprise
Sandy Sewell won first place for her Pecan Pie.  

1 cup light or dark corn syrup
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (6 oz.) salted and roasted pecans
1 (9-inch) unbaked or frozen deep dish pie crust

  Preheat oven to 350º, Mix corn syrup, eggs sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon. Stir in pecans. Pour filling into pie crust. Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for 2 hours on wire rack. *To use prepared frozen pie crust: Place cookie sheet in oven and preheat oven as directed. Pour filling into frozen crust and bake on preheated cookie sheet. *Recipe Tips: Pie is done when center reaches 200º. Tap center surface of pie lightly - it should spring back when done. For easy clean up, spray pie pan with cooking spray before placing pie crust in pan. If pie crust is overbrowning, cover edges with foil.

Baking contest winner Aprill Gordon (on right) and Georgia State Fair Representative Jan Hamilton.           Photo by Beverly Smith

The Lady April’s Oatmeal Crumb Cobbler
April Gordon won first place for Peach Cobbler.  

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Crisco, or preferred shortening
1 tsp. salt
1 egg
1/2 cup water

  Place flour, Crisco and water in freezer for 15 minutes. Once ingredients are thoroughly chilled, combine flour, shortening, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Blend with a pastry cutter until crumbly. Whisk together egg and ice water. Little by little blend the liquid into the flour mixture. Use just enough to create a dough. Gently roll the dough in a ball and chill for at least 30 minutes (but up to 2 days) prior to use.

6 large peaches, skin removed and cut into 1/2 inch slices
1 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup for crumbs
3 Tbsp. corn starch
3 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. bourbon vanilla extract
1 cup uncooked instant oatmeal
6 Tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
1 1/3 cups flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. of heavy cream
1 egg yolk 

  Preheat oven to 350º. Place the peaches, sugars, and water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves (about one minute). Mix lemon juice and cornstarch in small bowl. Add to the peach mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and allow the peach mixture to simmer. The liquid should be thickening into a sweet syrup. If not, make more of the lemon juice and cornstarch mixture until thickened. Add the vanilla and stir well. In a separate bowl, combine the brown sugar, sugar, oatmeal, flour, cinnamon and butter. Mix with an electric mixer on low until crumbly. Spoon the peach mixture into an 8x8 pan, making sure you carefully include the hot syrup. Sprinkle half crumb mixture over peaches. Lightly fold the crumbs into the peaches, then top with remaining crumbs. Roll out pre-made pie crust on a floured surface until 1/4 inch thick. Cut into strips and gently layer over the crumbs in a design of your choosing. there will be gaps in the crust that allow the crumb mixture to peek through. Mix together the egg yolk and the heavy cream to make an egg wash. Brush over dough strips before placing the cobbler in the oven. Bake on the center rack for 40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream if desired.



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