Year after year, Texans from across the state participate in one or more Creative Arts cooking contests.
One of the more well-known competitors is George Yates. George has been entering and winning ribbons in the Competition Kitchen for more than a decade. Yates doesn’t only enter the Creative Arts contests, he spends the “off-season” traveling to regional and national competitions submitting culinary creations – and he wins – a lot.
For the first time, George traveled to Poteet, Texas, just south of San Antonio, to enter a new dessert creation at the Taste of Texas Food Show held during the annual Poteet Strawberry Festival. He created five entries for the competition.
When the judging ended, George had received three blue ribbons, one red ribbon, and most impressive, the Reserve Grand Champion ribbon for his Strawberry Streusel Cheesecake bars.
Geroge’s cheesecake bars are worthy of the distinction. Try them out for yourself this weekend!
The State Fair loves to showcase Creative Arts competitors and their creations in our Cookbook and our new recipe blog on bigtex.com. Enter in this year’s Creative Arts competitions for your chance to be in the spotlight!
Strawberry Streusel Cheesecake Bars
Created by: State Fair of Texas competitor George Yates – Dallas
Reserve Grand Champion – Taste of Texas Food Show – Poteet Strawberry Festival
Cookie Bar Base
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) sugar cookie mix
1/4 cup cold butter
4 oz.(half of 8-oz package) cream cheese
½ cup sliced almonds
2 ½ packages (8 oz each) cream cheese (20 oz), softened
4 ozs white chocolate, melted and cooled
½ cup sugar
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 t. almond extract
1 t. orange extract
2 t. orange zest
1 can (21 oz) strawberry pie filling
4 T. powdered sugar
1 T. half & half
1 t. vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350-degrees F. Spray cooking spray on bottom and sides of 13×9-inch pan. Place cookie mix in large bowl. Cut in butter and 4 oz cream cheese, using pastry blender or fork, until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1 ½ cups mixture for topping. Set almonds aside. Press remaining crumb mixture in bottom of pan. Bake 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat 20 ozs cream cheese, melted white chocolate, sugar, flour, almond and orange extracts and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in orange zest. Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over partially baked cookie bar base. Spoon pie filling evenly over cream cheese layer. Sprinkle with reserved topping and almonds. Bake 40 to 45 minutes longer or until light golden brown. Cool 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until chilled. Mix together the powdered sugar and half & half until smooth; stir in vanilla. Drizzle over bars before serving.
Store covered in refrigerator.