Dash of Class: Blue-ribbon sweets from the Hardin County Fair

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By Nora Sweat

There is nothing like a county fair. As many would say, “It’s the greatest show in town.” Well, it was the only fair in town last week, and I hope you did not miss it. There is something for everybody.

Last Monday, I judged the culinary arts contests. There were lots of different cakes, pies, candies and assorted baked goods. It was a delight, and since I know so many cooks in Hardin County, I asked the chairpersons, Dee Dee Cooper and Nan Filburn of Vine Grove Homemakers, to turn over the entry tags.

There was one lady who kept coming up as a blue ribbon winner, and that was Jayne Judd Adams of Upton. I have known Jayne for some time through her work with homemakers and the fact that her daughter danced in recitals at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center. Jayne won seven first-place blue ribbons and two second-place red ribbons in the culinary arts division.

Jayne has been a fair exhibitor for more than 20 years and has entered several different categories at the Kentucky State Fair and has won several awards there. Asked what her favorite food to prepare was, she commented, “anything people would enjoy.”

Jayne learned most of her cooking skills from her father, who was a graduate of Cornell Hotel School. He was in charge of institutional feeding at ARA, a food service company now known as Aramark. Though that, her mother taught her how to bake pies.

She and her husband, Ken, are parents of Kate, who lives in Chicago and works for Gateway Green Chicago, overseeing beautification projects in the Windy City. Their son, Matt, is an Agricultural Extension Agent for Hardin County.

Jayne has a degree in dietetics from Eastern Kentucky University and has held jobs at Woodford Memorial in Versailles and Caverna Hospital near Cave City. Jayne spends many hours at Creekside Elementary in Sonora as a volunteer in the school media center.

I thought you might like to try some prize-winning recipes, so Jayne is sharing some of her recipes with you. Enjoy and thank you, Jayne.

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.com
or by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.

Thumbprint Cookies

1/2 cup shortening (or 1/4 c. butter and 1/4 c. margarine)

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 to 1 cup finely chopped nuts

Mix shortening, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla thoroughly. Add flour and salt. Form into 1 inch balls. Beat egg white with fork. Roll balls in egg white then in chopped nuts. Place balls 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 5 minutes at 375 degrees. Quickly press center of ball with thumb and return to oven for 8 more minutes or until done. Cool. Fill the thumbprint with jelly or frosting.

Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 lb confectioners’ sugar, sifted

4-5 tablespoons half and half

Mix together butter and vanilla. Add sugar alternately with half and half beginning and ending with sugar to desired consistency. Yield: 2 dozen

Source: Helen Hebert, family friend

Chocolate Cake Mix Cookies

2 eggs

1/2 cup butter

1 package Duncan Hines dark chocolate fudge cake mix

Mix ingredients together. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. Yield: about 6 dozen.

Source: Adapted from the Duncan Hines website

Chocolate Fudge Filling

1/3 cup butter

1 cup semi sweet morsels

3 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

5 tablespoons half and half

Melt butter and chocolate in a glass bowl in microwave for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Heat for additional 10-second intervals if necessary to melt all chocolate. Blend in confectioners’ sugar and half and half, beginning and ending with sugar. Place about 1 teaspoon of fudge on the bottom of one cookie and top with a second cookie, bottoms together. Let sit until fudge sets up. Yield: about 3 dozen sandwich cookies

Toll House Marble Squares

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 eggs

1 6-ounce package semi sweet chocolate chips

Cream together the butter, sugars and vanilla. Blend in eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Spread dough in a greased 9x13 inch pan. Sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Place in a 375 degree oven for 2-3 minutes to melt chips. Remove from oven and run a knife through the chips to make a marble pattern. Return to the oven for an additional 12-14 minutes or until done. Cool completely and cut into squares.

Yield: 2 dozen

Source: Mom and Nestlé