Spring Recipes in Full Bloom

With pleasant spring weather rolling into Texas this month, it’s time for get-togethers with friends and family to hunt eggs, spend some time in the great outdoors, or simply gather around the table to eat! Need some inspiration for new dishes and desserts to whip up in the kitchen?  Look no further than these delicious recipes created by participants in the Creative Arts Cooking Competitions that take place every year during the Fair.  You can find many more recipes like this in the State Fair of Texas Cookbook, available soon for purchase at the Big Tex Store.  We look forward to seeing your own recipes at this year’s Fair but until then try these out and let us know what you think!

Chocolate Almond Cookie Brittle

By Karen Woo
Plano, Texas
Best of Show – Cookie Contest

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon Bread Flour
3 tablespoon All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cup Slivered Almonds
A pinch of salt

Wet Ingredients:
3 large Eggs (using egg whites only)
3 1/2 tablespoon Butter (melted)
1 TSP Almond Extract

1 bag of mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Sift powdered sugar, flour, and salt into a medium bowl. Separate egg whites and egg yolks.

Add and mix egg whites, almond extract, and melted butter to the sugar and flour mixture.

Gently stir in almonds and spread 1/2 mixture onto􀀕 baking sheet lined with a Silpat or non-stick silicon mat. Be sure batter is spread on as a thin layer. Bake at 300 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for and let cool for a few minutes.

Break off brown edges into desired shard pieces and return remaining piece by flipping over and having back side face up. Allow this to bake in oven another 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Break into pieces. Any chewy pieces can be placed back into the oven for a few minutes. Then pour last 1 /2 of batter onto Silpat baking mat and repeat as instructed above.

When cooled completely melt chocolate chips in double boiler. Spread chocolate on bottom side of cookie brittle. Break apart when chocolate has completely set and hardened.

Strawberries and Cream Pie

by Toni Steger
Plano, TX
Best of Show – Let’s Do Lunch

Crust Ingredients
1 1/2 cups vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup almond meal
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
pinch of kosher salt

Filling Ingredients
8 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
4 cups medium-sized strawberries, hulled
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Directions for Crust: In a medium bowl, mix together all the dry crust ingredients well. Pour the melted butter over all and stir until moistened. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Set aside until completely cooled.

Directions for Pie: In a large bowl, beat the cheeses together until fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar and almond extract. Fold in whipped cream. Spoon into cooled crust. Chill until filling is set.

Arrange strawberries, pointy side up, over filling. Drizzle with melted chocolate. Garnish with sliced almonds. Return pie to refrigerator until ready to serve.

Veggie Chopped Salad

By Jill Spears
Prosper, TX
1st Place – Let’s Do Lunch

3 cups finely chopped fresh broccoli
3 cups finely chopped fresh cauliflower
3 cups finely chopped celery
2 cups frozen peas (about 8oz), thawed
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1 1/3 cups mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup salted peanuts

In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, sugar cheese, vinegar and salt until blended. Add to salad and toss to coat. Stir in peanuts just before serving. Refrigerate leftovers.

Mexican Corn and Pasta Salad

By Peter Clarac
Dana Point, California
1st Place – Let’s Do Lunch

2 cups miniature BowTie pasta uncooked
3 cups corn kernels
1 large avocado, peeled, seeded and chopped small
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro. coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
6-8 strips hardwood smoked bacon, cooked to a crisp and crumbled
1/2 cup Cotija cheese shredded
1/2 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 Regular Mayo
3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice and 1/4 T lime zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 t. Siracha
Pinch of salt and ground black pepper

Cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Make sure the pasta is completely dry.

Use regular canned corn: heat a large cast iron skillet on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes or until very hot. Drain corn and place in a single layer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring once in between or until browned. Avoid stirring too often, as this will keep the corn from getting a good roast.

In a large bowl combine the completely dry and cooled pasta, cooled corn, avocado, onions, cilantro, jalapeno, bacon, black beans, and cheese.

Toss together.

In a small bowl combine all of the dressing ingredients and whisk together until completely combined.

Toss and enjoy.

Holiday Raspberry Beauties

By Rex Poland
Dallas, TX
Honorable Mention – Cookie Contest

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter cut into 1-inch chunks
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup seedless raspberry jam or preserves
6-oz package cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar, divided use
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons shredded lemon zest
½ teaspoon pure vanilla
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
½ teaspoon cream of tarter
Confectioners sugar for garnishing
Fresh raspberries for garnishing

Preheat oven to 350 degrees with rack in center. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with nonstick aluminum foil, leaving extra foil extending over the ends to lift the completed bars from the pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed until itjust begins to blend & soften slightly, about 30 seconds.

Add brown sugar and salt, beat on low speed until incorporated, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Do not cream, just mix it in. With the mixer off, add 2 cups flour. Beat on low speed until flour is incorporated. Increase speed to medium, mix until ingredients form an even, cohesive dough. Do not under mix shortbread as it makes it too crumbly.

Break dough into small chunks & distribute in prepared pan; with fingers press dough into an even layer. Bake 20 minutes or until dough has begun to puff and is just set. Cool on wire rack for 5 minutes. Spread raspberry jam evenly over crust. Sprinkle evenly with raspberries. With a bar zester, sprinkle raspberries with lemon peel.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium high for 30 seconds. Mix in granulated sugar and a tablespoon of flour, mixed with a teaspoon of cornstarch until blended. With mixer running add egg, egg yolk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

Pour cream cheese filling over berries. Spread gently. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until barely set.

In a large bowl, combine the egg whites, 1 teaspoon raspberry extract, and ½ teaspoon cream of tartar. Beat on medium speed about a minute or until soft peaks form. Gradually add the granulated sugar, tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed about five minutes or until stiff, glossy peaks form. Spread meringue gently over the hot bar surface & return to oven. Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Bake approximately I0 more minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until completely cool, about an hour. Cover & chill 2 hours before the cutting process. Lift the bars out of the pan with the foil grips and cut into bars the size of your choice.

Sprinkle very lightly with confectioners sugar & garnish with a fresh raspberry on each bar.


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