Skip to Main Content
September 28, 2018 – October 21, 2018

Holiday Cookies & Mores from our Community Coffee Competition Kitchen

Posted in: Creative Arts, food, Recipes.

A large part of the State Fair of Texas experience is food, so it’s no surprise that one of our favorite things about the holidays are the tasty treats that make the season bright. What would a holiday celebration be without something sweet? So, in the spirit of baking goodies for friends and family, we decided to share some of the exclusive recipes that can be found in the upcoming 2018 State Fair of Texas Cookbook. These desserts were created by fairgoers who submitted their baked creations into one of the 2017 cooking contests held inside Creative Arts Competition Kitchen, presented by Community Coffee. Share these at your next holiday party and then get inspired to submit your own sweet recipes next year. Happy Holiday from all of us at the State Fair of Texas!

Buttery Vanilla Almond Sugar Cookies

By Jenna Rushing
Fort Worth, TX
1st place – Cookie Contest

3 cups of flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of salted butter, cold and cut into chunks
1 large egg
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
½ tsp of pure almond extract
½ tsp of butter Vanilla Bakery Emulsion

Royal Icing
4 cups of powdered sugar
2 tbsp of meringue powder
¼ cup of warm water (+ more for thinning)
1 tsp of pure almond extract
Various gel icing colors


Preheat oven to 350°. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. In bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder, set aside.  In bowl, blend sugar and butter until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Add egg, extracts, butter vanilla bakery emulsion – mix until fully incorporated. Switch to low speed and gradually add flour mixture in two batches, beating until fully combined, stopping to scrape down sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Do not overbeat.

The dough will be a bit crumbly; use your hands to work into smooth ball for rolling out. Roll dough on floured surface to about ¼ inch thick and cut into shapes. Place shapes on parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 5-10 minutes. Remove from freezer and immediately bake for 9-11 minutes. For smaller shapes, bake 7-8 minutes. Let cool 2-3 minutes on baking sheet and then transfer to cooling rack. Let cookies cool completely before decorating.


In a bowl, combine powdered sugar and meringue powder. Add in warm water. Mix on low speed until a paste forms. Turn mixer on high speed and beat until mixture is thick and pure white without shine (about 3-4 minutes). If mixture is too thick and not mixing well, more water, 1 tsp at time. Add in almond extract. When ready to use icing, separate into bowls and add in gel food coloring of choice. Thin icing using a spray bottle, water dropper or teaspoon until the icing has reached desired consistency.

Chocolate Pecan Cookies

By Robert E. Baker, MD
Little Elm, TX
1st place – Cookie Contest

6 oz of milk chocolate toffee bits, coarsely chopped
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp of all-purpose flour
¼ tsp of baking powder
¼ tsp of fine salt
6 tbsp of unsalted butter, slightly softened
½ cup of granulated sugar
¼ cup of packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 cup of toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
½ cup of semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup of best-quality white chocolate chips

Place milk chocolate toffee bits, unsweetened chocolate and espresso powder in · medium bowl and place over pot of simmering water and melt, whisking occasionally, until smooth. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt onto a piece of parchment paper and set aside. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat butter, granulated sugar and light brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla extract and beat on high speed for 1 minutes. On low speed beat in melted chocolate mixture until just combined. Fold in flour mixture with rubber spatula until just combined. Stir in pecans, chocolate and white chocolate chips. The batter will be loose. Cover and refrigerate until just firm, about 30 minutes. Using small ice cream scoop {about 1 tablespoon size), scoop heaping tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets, putting 8 cookies on each sheet. Bake for 10 and 11 minutes. The surface will be dry and shiny but tops and insides will still be soft. It will take no longer than 10 to 11 minutes so set a timer. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then move to rack to cool for 5 minutes longer. Repeat with remaining batter.

These cookies are best eaten day they are made. Wrap leftovers well in plastic wrap and store in airtight container.

Holiday Candied Bacon Brittle

By Vicki Carlisle
Dallas, TX
Best of Show – 1st place – Domino Sugar Contest

Candied Bacon
1/3 Cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp real maple syrup
2 tbsp Tabasco Original Pepper Sauce
1 lb (11-12 strips) THICK CUT bacon

Nut Brittle
1 ½ cup of Domino Sugar
1/3 cup of water
1/3 cup of light corn syrup
8 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup of pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup of cashews, toasted and coarsely chopped

In small bowl stir together: ½ cup brown sugar, 2 tbsp maple syrup and 2 tsp Tabasco, and set aside.

Cover rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a wire rack inside. Separate bacon strips and place them evenly over rack/baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Flip bacon strips over and brush top with ½ of syrup then bake 5 minutes, flip bacon over, brush top with remaining syrup and bake 5-7 minutes or until browned. Don’t bake much beyond this because sugar coating can start to get smoky.

Remove from oven, use tongs to shift them around slightly on the rack to prevent sticking and let cool on rack until room temperature. Pat dry both sides lightly with paper towels to remove excess oil then chop into ½” pieces.

In medium heavy saucepan, combine 1 ½ cups sugar, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 cup corn syrup and 8 tbsp butter. Bring to a boil and adjust temperature to keep medium boil. Cook, stirring occasionally 10-12 minutes, stirring more frequently towards end (time will vary based on the size of pan, so cook until brittle is light beige and reaches 300 on candy thermometer.

Once at 300, turn off heat, remove candy thermometer and very quickly stir in 1 tsp baking soda. It will puff up. Baking soda makes brittle lighter and crunchier.

Quickly stir in both nuts and candied bacon then immediately transfer to parchment lined baking sheet and work fast to spread brittle out with 2 forks then smooth out with spatula. Cool until firm. Break into pieces and enjoy!

Holiday Cake

By Monette Carr
Garland, TX
2nd place – Fruit Desserts

4 eggs, room temp
1 ½ cups of sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ cups of very ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
¼ cup of pineapple juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
1 ½ tsp of baking soda
1 ½ tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of salt
1 ½ tsp of cinnamon
8 oz of chopped dates
1 ½ cups of chopped almonds (toasted, sliced almonds for garnishing)

Sugar Plum Glaze
½ cup of prunes
¼ cup of pineapple juice
1 cup of powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 °. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat eggs; add sugar and oil and blend thoroughly. Add bananas, pineapple juice, and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and blend into banana mixture.  Stir in dates. Pour into greased and floured 10-inch Bundt cake pan. Bake 1 hour, or until cakes tests done. Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack and cool completely.

For glaze: process prunes, pineapple juice and powdered sugar in food processor until smooth. Spread glaze over top, letting it spill down sides of cake. Sprinkle top of cake with sliced almonds.

Apple & Cranberry Cake

By Dee Morgan
Richardson, TX
3rd place – Fruit Desserts

1 cup of dried cranberries
2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and diced
½ cup of light brown sugar
1 tsp grated orange zest
¼ cup of fresh orange juice
1 1/8 tsp of ground cinnamon (divided use)
2 eggs, room temp.
1 cup plus 1 tsp of sugar (divided use)
½ cup of unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 tsp of vanilla extract
¼ cup of sour cream
1 cup of flour
¼ tsp of salt

Preheat oven to 325  degrees. Combine dried cranberries, apples, ½ cup light brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice and cinnamon in bowl. Set aside. In bowl of electric mixer beat eggs for 2 minutes until fluffy. Add 1 cup granulated sugar, butter, vanilla, and sour cream. On low speed add flour and salt. Pour fruit mixture into a 10 inch glass pie plate. Pour batter over fruit. Combine 1 tsp sugar and 1/8 tsp cinnamon and sprinkle over batter. Bake 55 to 60 minutes. When a toothpick inserted in middle of cake comes out clean and fruit is bubbling around edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mission Statement

The State Fair of Texas celebrates all things Texan by promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement through quality entertainment in a family-friendly environment.

The State Fair of Texas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


Mailing Address

P.O. Box 150009
Dallas, TX 75315



big tex texture