Heritage Cooking Contest features candy category for annual event

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By Ann Cipperly

The Mt. Olive Church was the setting for this year’s  Heritage Cooking Contest sponsored by the  Lee County Farmers Federation Women’s Leadership Committee.  The annual contest  spotlights Alabama commodities and agricultural products. Each year the Women’s division selects a different category for the contest. Homemade candy was the featured theme this year. 

Carole Clements  won first place for her Butterscotch Drops, while Mary Richburg received second place for Darcey’s Delights.

Carole’s winning Butterscotch Drops are prepared by melting butterscotch chips and mixing with pecans and shoestring potato sticks, a surprise ingredient. They are then dropped on wax paper to cool.  

Carole has enjoyed cooking for her family over the years. Her husband Bill was a veterinarian, and they always had horses at their War Eagle Farm. When their daughters, Cheryl and Cynthia, were growing up, they rode show horses and received many awards.

After the girls were grown, Carole and Bill began racing thoroughbred horses.  Their horses raced in Texas, Chicago, Baltimore, New York, Florida and at Churchill Downs in Louisville, but not in the Kentucky Derby. 

The Clements hired trainers to work with the horses until they were two years old.  The trainers then hired a jockey and started racing. They raced horses until 2005. Now, there are just a few horses at the farm.

Carole worked at Auburn University in the animal science department for 36 years. She has been active in the Lee County Women’s Leadership Committee and at Farmville Baptist Church. She also volunteers at East Alabama Medical Center and the Community Church soup kitchen. 

Mary Richburg’s entry was a favorite dessert she created for her daughter-in-law, Darcey, who has celiac disease.

“After our son and Darcey started dating,” says Mary, “I converted my kitchen to a shared gluten free cooking space with dedicated gluten free prep area, dishes and cookware.  I began experimenting with recipes from a variety of sources to adapt dishes to gluten free. 

“My goal was to prepare gluten free meals we all would enjoy,” she adds.  “After tweaking a candy recipe seven years ago, I made Darcey’s Delights for a family event.  Every piece was eaten and enjoyed!  When I began selecting foods to prepare their gluten free rehearsal dinner, I knew Darcey’s Delight would be one of the dessert choices.”

The yummy candy is created by combining chopped white almond bark with peanut butter, and then adding Chex corn or rice cereal or a gluten free crispy rice cereal, peanuts and miniature marshmallows. The confection will keep two weeks at room temperature in an airtight container, a month in the refrigerator or frozen for six months. (If you can hide them from your family!)

Mary is chairman of the Women’s Leadership Committee and has been a member for more than 15 years. She and her husband, Mahlon, have a hay production and registered Angus and SimAngus cattle operation.  Mary enjoys canning and freezing vegetables in the summer months.

Mary and Mahlon both taught in Auburn City Schools for 40 years.  Mahlon taught agriscience at Auburn Junior High and Auburn High School, while Mary was an elementary school teacher and guidance counselor.  They have two children, George and Katie.

A wreath contest was part of the event this year. Winners were  Carole Clements, first place; Jackie Henderson Long, second place;   Barbara Whatley, third place, and Cynthia Atkinson, fourth place. 

The Women’s Division was organized to promote agricultural products and commodities, as well as to provide an opportunity for women to participate actively in policy making. 

The Women’s Leadership Group donates to various charities. They have collected towels for Big House, donate to the Battered Women Shelter and the Veterans’ Association. They generally keep a project going all the time.

Ann Whatley is secretary for the Lee County group and is on the board as a member at large for the  Alabama Farmers Federation State Women’s Leadership Committee. 

Following are Carole’s and Mary’s winning recipes along with others from Heritage Contests over the years. 

Ann Cipperly can be reached at recipes@Cipperly.com.

Butterscotch Drops

Carole Clements

First Place

1 cup  (6 oz. pkg.)  Toll House butterscotch chips

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup shoestring potato sticks, broken 

Melt chips in microwave for about 30 seconds, being careful not to burn chips. If more time is need, microwave for 15 seconds at a time. Stir in pecans and potato sticks.

Drop by teaspoons on wax paper.  Cool and enjoy!

Note: Shoestring potato sticks can be found in a bag on grocery aisle where potato chips are sold. 

Darcey’s Delights

Mary Richburg

Second Place

1 lb. pkg. (16 oz.) white almond bark, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter 

2 cups Chex corn or rice cereal or similar gluten-free crispy rice cereal 

1 cup peanuts 

1 cup miniature marshmallows 

Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with parchment or wax paper; set aside.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine almond bark and  peanut butter. Heat on high power for 1 minute to melt. Stop and stir. As necessary, heat in 15-second intervals until mixture can be stirred smooth. Be careful not to overheat the mixture because white chocolate is notorious for scorching and seizing up.

To the melted white chocolate-peanut butter mixture, add cereal,  peanuts, and marshmallows.  Stir to coat. Mixture will be runny. If your mixture is extremely runny and would benefit from extra bulk, add a tablespoon or two of extra peanuts or marshmallows.

Using a two tablespoon scoop  or a spoon, drop mounds onto prepared baking sheets (I made 36). Allow candy to firm up for about 2 hours at room temperature, or quick set by placing trays in the refrigerator or freezer for 30 minutes to one hour. 

Candy will keep airtight at room temperature for at least 2 weeks, in the refrigerator for a month, or in the freezer for at least 6 months. 

Key Lime Cupcakes

2012 Lee County Winner

Carole Clements

1 box lemon cake mix

3 oz. box lime gelatin

½ cup orange juice

¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice

¾ cup vegetable oil

5 eggs

6 Tbsp. zest of lime

Combine orange and lime juice. Beat cake mix, gelatin, combined juices, oil and eggs in a large bowl on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes, scraping bowl occasionally. Fold in zest. 

Pour into cupcake baking cups. Bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool, then frost. Makes 24 cupcakes.

Frosting

½ cup butter, softened

8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

3 Tbsp. fresh key lime juice (regular lime juice may be substituted)

5 cups confectioners’ sugar

6 Tbsp. lime zest

2 drops green food coloring

Garnish with lime zest, optional

Lemon Blueberry Bread

Brenda Reese received third place for this bread in 2016.

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. sifted all-purpose flour

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 cup granulated sugar

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

2 large eggs

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup milk

2 Tbsp. grated lemon zest

1/2 cup chopped pecans

Glaze:

2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 4 x 8 x 2-inch loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, toss blueberries in 2 Tbsp. flour and set aside. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together butter, granulated sugar, 3 Tbsp. lemon juice and eggs.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour and milk alternately to the butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

Fold in lemon zest, pecans and blueberries.

Pour batter into prepared pan, and bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf should come out clean.

Cool 10 minutes in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Blueberry Banana Pound Cake

2014 Lee County Winner

Jamie Lazenby

1½ cups canola oil

2½ cups sugar

3 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup oat flour

1 tsp. baking soda

¾ tsp. salt

½ cup buttermilk

2 bananas, mashed

1½ cups walnuts or pecans

¾ cup blueberries

Mix oil, sugar and egg. Add flours, baking soda, salt and mix together.

Add buttermilk, bananas and vanilla. Toss in nuts and blueberries.

Bake in greased tube pan at 325 degrees for approximately 1 hour and 25 minutes. Check for doneness.  

Broccoli Cornbread

2013 Lee County Winner

Jackie Henderson-Long

2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix

4 eggs, well beaten

1½ sticks margarine, melted

10 oz. frozen broccoli

12 oz. cottage cheese

1 medium onion, chopped

1 small can Mexican corn

Grease 9 by 13-inch baking pan. Mix all ingredients; stir well. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool in pan.  

Mini Fried Apple Pies

Ann Whatley won second place in 2015 for these yummy fried pies.

1 pkg. (5 oz.) dried apples

½ cup sugar (white)

Water

Pie crusts: Use recipe of your choice or may use refrigerated prepared crust that you can buy.

Put dried apples in a pan filled with water. Bring to a low boil and turn down to a simmer. 

Simmer for approximately 8 hours or until apples are cooked to a consistency where you can pull a spoon through the apples and a division in the apples will remain.

At this time, add ½ cup sugar to apples and cook until sugar is absorbed by apples. Put apples in refrigerator to chill. Apples may be kept for several days before using or may be used as soon as they are chilled. 

Roll out pie dough and cut out using a cutter size of your choice. I use a cutter 3-inch in diameter and put about a teaspoon of cooked apples on cut out dough. 

Also, after cutting out pie dough, I roll the cut out shape so that the pastry is very thin.

Put apple mixture on lower half of dough. Moisten edges of lower dough with water. Fold over top half of dough and use a fork to press edges of dough together.

In a skillet, heat oil ½-inch deep. Cook pies until crust is a golden brown.

May serve as a finger food or place on a dessert plate and serve with Crème Anglaise.

Drain on brown bag or paper towels. Remember our grandmothers used Crisco to fry and brown bag to drain.

Pastry

1½ cups all-purpose flour

½ tsp. salt

½ cup shortening

4 to 5 Tbsp. cold water

Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas.

Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. at a time into flour mixture until all is moistened. Form into a disc and put in refrigerator to chill.

Take out of refrigerator for about 10 minutes before rolling out.

Crème Anglaise

1 cup heavy cream

2 tsp. flavoring of choice (I used 1 tsp. almond flavoring)

4 egg yolks

1/3 cup white sugar

In a small heavy saucepan, heat cream and vanilla until bubbles form at edges.

While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and cream until smooth. Slowly pour ½ cup hot cream mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. 

Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining cream mixture, whisking constantly.   

Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. 

Smoked Gouda and Bacon Dip

Barbara Whatley, Lee County 

First Place State Winner 2019

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated French bread 

8 oz. smoked Gouda cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened 

½ cup mayonnaise 

½ cup sour cream 

1/8 tsp. crushed red pepper 

1 cup cooked chopped bacon 

¼ cup sliced green onion  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake French loaf as directed on can, cool before slicing.  Spray pie plate with cooking spray.

In medium bowl, mix Gouda cheese, cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream, and crushed red pepper.  Mix on low speed with electric mixer until well mixed.  Reserve 2 Tbsp. and set aside.  Stir in remaining bacon and 3 Tbsp. of green onion.

Transfer mixture to pie plate.  Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until dip is heated through.  Top with remaining bacon and green onions.  Serve hot dip with sliced French bread.  

Cracker and Pecan Crust Cherry Pie

2010 Lee County Winner

Brenda Reese

3 egg whites

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup crumbled butter crackers

8 oz. Cool Whip

1 can cherry pie filling

Beat egg whites until stiff. Gradually fold in 1 cup sugar and ¼ tsp. cream of tartar. Add 1 cup pecans and 1 cup crumbled butter crackers. Mix well.

Bake in a buttered 8-inch pie pan for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool. Top with 8 oz. Cool Whip followed by cherry pie filling. Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Whipping Cream Pound Cake with Caramel Icing

1991 Lee County Winner

Lorene McCall  

3 sticks butter, softened

2 heaping cups sugar

6 eggs

3½ cups sifted cake flour

1 cup whipping cream

2 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter and sugar by beating until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat 2 minutes more. 

Add flour first, alternating with whipping cream, and end with flour. Add flavoring and stir until blended.

Bake in a 10-inch greased and floured tube pan at 300 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Test for doneness before time is up. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Caramel Icing

½ cup sugar for browning

2 cups sugar

1 cup butter

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Brown 1/2 cup sugar in a cast iron skillet. Combine remaining ingredients except vanilla. Bring to a boil. Add a little boiling mixture to the browned sugar and stir. Then add browned sugar to boiling mixture. Boil about 18 minutes or less. Test until a small amount forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water.

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