Tags: Featured Story, Food & Home
The Kern County Fair, the biggest event in the county, is all about appreciating and showcasing our community and the talented people that live in it. In its 88th year, the fair will run from September 18th to 29th at the Kern County Fairgrounds.
With many entry opportunities, fair participants can bake, draw, grow, and collect just about anything they want for a chance to be deemed grand champions. The baking and cooking competition gives people an outlet to create culinary masterpieces in all types of categories from cupcakes to bread to Spam.
“It’s a great opportunity for participants to showcase what they do best in the community, says Michael Olcott, Kern County Fair CEO. “Many people wait all year to enter, and they are excited for what they make and bake.”
Each year, the categories can change based on past entries or expressed interest. This year’s competition adds some new entries including salsa, Mexican casseroles, and a home brewing contest.
KCFM wanted to share with you some previous fair winners and give you their award-winning recipes that come straight from the local kitchens of some pretty talented bakers. To find a complete schedule of entries and baking/cooking competition times, you can pick up a flyer at the fair or go online at www.kerncountyfair.com.
Jennifer Reed likes to say that together with her husband, Rob, they make the perfect cupcake. With both working in education, the Reeds liked to bake treats to take into work; and with some experimenting, they came up with different creations that people really seemed to enjoy. After Rob attended Bakersfield’s Biggest, Baddest BBQ, he was interested in starting a local cupcake competition. It just so happened that was the first year the Kern County Fair offered a cupcake category, and they’ve been winning ribbons ever since.
Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Fill the cupcake liners with 2 ounces of batter before placing them in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
- 1 box chocolate cake mix
- 1 large box instant pudding
- 3 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups oil
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 6 ounces mini chocolate chips
Spread pecans in an even layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and combine with caramel and salt. When cupcakes are cool, using a spoon, hollow out a quarter-size area in the center. Drop in pecan filling. Reserve some filling to top completed cupcake.
- 8 ounces chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup caramel
- pinch of sea salt
Cream together butter, cream cheese, and caramel.
- 1 stick softened butter
- 1 - 8 ounce package of cream cheese
- 1/2 cup caramel
- 1 pound confectioner’s sugar
- Chocolate Sauce to drizzle
- Caramel Sauce to drizzle
Mix in confectioner’s sugar.
Pipe onto cooled and filled cupcakes. Drizzle with chocolate and caramel sauce.
Use remaining pecan mixture to top cupcake.
These cupcakes taste delicious at room temperature or out of the freezer.
Submitted by Sandy Traum
Since 2002 Sandy Traum has competed in the Kern County Fair’s baking and cooking contests. Last year’s winning entry for cookies in a jar was inspired by her mother’s homemade oatmeal cookies she enjoyed eating as a child. The design of the jar reflected her mother’s patriotic spirit.
Directions Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar on medium speed with electric mixer or by hand until creamy, & eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon & salt; mix well. Add oats & raisins; mix well. Drop dough by rounded tbsp. onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Cool 1 minute on sheet; remove to wire rack.
- 1/2 cup plus 6 tbsp. butter softened
- 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 3 cups Quaker Oats (Old Fashioned, uncooked)
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup raisins
Makes about 4 dozen cookies.
Husband and wife cooking duo, John A. and Jackie Medvigy, regularly participate in the Kern County Fair’s cooking and baking contests and even compete against each other. They both have won numerous awards and ribbons for their culinary creations. John says his wife is a better baker than himself, but that’s why he finds so much satisfaction in the competition. “If I wasn’t competing against the best bakers out there, it wouldn’t be as much fun,” he says.
Almond Butter Pie
by Jackie Medvigy
Directions In a saucepan, mix together eggs, milk, and sugar. Sprinkle gelatin over mixture and let stand 1 minute. Over medium-low heat, stir mixture constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in almond butter. Place mixture in freezer for 10-15 minutes, until cool. Fold in whipped cream or topping and pour into baked pie crust. Place in refrigerator until cold, usually about 3 hours. Garnish with whipped cream or topping and sliced almonds.
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- ½ cup solid packed almond butter
- 2 cups whipped cream or topping
- Sliced almonds
by Jackie Medvigy
Directions Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9x2 inch pan and set aside. Heat butter in medium sauce pan over low heat until melted and remove from heat. Mix in brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in remaining ingredients and spread in pan. Bake 25 minutes, then cut into squares while warm.
- 1 cube butter or margarine
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
The cliché, “first time’s the charm,” was definitely true in Jody Boese’s case. This great-great-grandmother won first place at the Kern County Fair’s cookie contest the first time she entered. With the encouragement of her daughter, Jody used the following recipe for her inaugural entry in 2012 and had a feeling she was going to come home with a ribbon. She was right!
Browned-Butter Almond Blondies
by Jody Boese
- 1-1/4 cups (2 ½ sticks) unsalted butter
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 cups packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup Heath bar crumble of toffee bits
- 3 large eggs
- 2-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup cake flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup sliced almonds
- ½ cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
- Combine in a mixing bowl until sticky. Set aside.
Add extract to powdered sugar. Add heavy cream 1 tbsp. at a time and whisk together until mixture is pourable but not runny. Cover and set aside.
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted into bowl.
- Heavy cream
- 1 tbsp. English toffee extract
Directions Preheat oven to 325 degrees (275 if using convection). Spray 9x13 inch baking pan. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook butter until it turns golden brown; remove from heat and let cool completely. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In electric mixer bowl, combine browned butter and both sugars; stir with wooden/plastic spoon until combined. Attach bowl to mixer; add eggs. Using paddle attachment beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about three minutes. Add vanilla and combine. Add flour mixture and almonds. Mix until thoroughly combined, pour into prepared pan. Using clean fingers, drop pieces of topping/crumble onto batter (do not try to spread). Bake until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes (do not over bake). Cool completely in pan. Turn out onto parchment or cut in pan into 3-inch squares. Place each square in cupcake paper. Drizzle each with icing.
An avid baker for many years, Tiffany Pierce is no stranger to participating in the Kern County Fair’s baking contest and plans to continue to support it every year. This particular recipe started as a snack that Tiffany made healthier with the addition of spinach. Tiffany says this bread is also a favorite of one friend who requests it every year for her birthday.
Spinach Wheat Bread
by Tiffany Pierce
- 7 oz water
- 1-1/2 cups wheat bread flour
- 1 cup white bread flour
- 1 tablespoon powdered milk
- 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed with excess water squeezed out
Directions Using a bread maker machine, place bread ingredients into the dough case in the listed order or in the order required for your machine. Set cycle for “Dough.” When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine and allow dough to rest for 10 minutes. Roll out dough into large rectangle (approx. 16x20 inches). Brush rectangle with beaten egg. Sprinkle dough evenly with dried herbs. Lay out pepperoni slices on half the rectangle. Layer fresh spinach leaves to cover pepperoni (may not need to use all of the spinach). Sprinkle entire rectangle with mozzarella, Italian cheese blend, then parmesan cheese. Roll up rectangle starting with side pepperoni is on. Seal edges of roll. Form loaf into a ring or a swirl. Seal ends together if making a ring; taper ends if making a swirl. Place bread dough on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise 30 minutes or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix sesame seeds and paprika in a small bowl. Brush bread with remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds and paprika. Bake for 35 minutes or until bread is well browned. Slice when cooled. Serve slices as appetizer or snack.
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried Italian herb blend
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1/2 cup sliced pepperoni
- 1 pkg or bunch fresh spinach leaves, washed and dried of excess water
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika