by Marianne Christy
The contestants of the Old Forge Library’s annual Sweetheart Dessert Contest on February 9 did not make it easy for judges Barbara Getty, Dave Berkstresser and myself to determine the winners.
Entries were judged in the Youth, Adult and Masters categories…unfortunately there were no teen entries.
But on the bright side I’m not sure we could have taste-tested any more without going into sugar shock. (Maybe that’s why Izzie asked Dave, an EMT, to be a judge?)
Anyhoo, the winner in the Youth Division was Lydia Bartel for her delicious and festively decorated Chocolate Nutella Cupcakes.
Lydia, a member of the Herkimer County 4-H Club, recently attended a cake decorating workshop and successfully demonstrated her flair for the skill.
In an extremely tight contest, Alison Eyre Albright took the Adult Division with her Paris-Brest, a French pastry filled with a praline flavored cream.
Shaped like a bicycle wheel, the dessert is named after an 1891 bicycle race that ran from Paris to Brest and back…a race that preceded the Tour de France.
Of French descent, Alison credited her late grandmother and her mother Annette with teaching her the art of pastry making.
Taking first place for the Masters was Trish Sehring, a multi-time winner, with a heart-shaped Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting.
This was not your average carrot cake, folks. It was impeccably decorated with a lattice pattern and accented with handmade fondant flowers. Its sweetness was tempered with a smearing of currant jam…delightful.
The unwritten law of baking contests is that entries should be made from scratch, but if you’re not in a competition you can make a quick and easy baked good using brownie or cake mix.
To follow are two tried and true recipes that take no time at all but will dazzle your family and friends.
The Crumb Cake is a favorite treat that my mother always baked when the grandkids came to visit.
Though she is often mistakenly credited with creating the recipe, it actually came from the recipe box of Sister Barbara.
I found this Peanut Butter Truffle Brownie recipe while scanning Pinterest one day. It’s received rave reviews from the peanut butter and chocolate lovers in my life.
Peanut Butter Truffle Brownies
1 box brownie mix of choice,
prepared according to package
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp. milk
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. butter
Heat oven to 350º. Grease bottom only of 8- or 9-inch square pan with cooking spray or shortening. (For easier cutting, line pan with foil, then grease foil on bottom only of pan.) Make brownies as directed. Cool completely for about one hour.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer until smooth. Spread mixture over cooled brownies.
In small bowl, microwave topping ingredients uncovered on high 30 to 60 seconds; stir until smooth. Cool 10 minutes, then spread over filling. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until set. Cut into six rows by four rows. Store covered in refrigerator.
Fantastic Crumb Cake
1 package yellow cake mix
3 sticks melted butter
3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
Prepare cake mix according to package directions. Pour into greased and floured (15” by 10”) jelly roll pan. Bake 10 minutes at 350º.
Combine topping ingredients and crumble over cake. Bake 15 more minutes. When cooled, sprinkle with powdered sugar.