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Food winners of the state fair

Utah State fair features food contests that range from meatloaf to chocolate

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 20 2011 4:18 p.m. MDT

When asked why some sponsors discontinued their contests, she replied,

"Contest changes typically happen because of limited marketing dollars and shifts in strategy or priority cities."

Fair contest participation may also reflect a return to home cooking due to the economy.

"Across the country, I know bread-baking contest participation is up," Harles said. "One winner in another state commented she always makes her own bread now because of what a loaf costs at her grocery store."

Although it means more competition, Kip Kress said he's happy to see a greater number of entries.

"We enjoy seeing the creativity and the recipes, the presentations, and the feeling the excitement of all the contestants," he said.

The one contest that bucked the trend was the Beef — Anywhere, Anytime Cook-Off sponsored by the Utah Beef Council, with just six entries. Contest chair Diane Weston noted that the entry deadline of Aug. 29 might be one reason for the lower turnout. But with a $300 first-place prize, it's one that contestants shouldn't miss.

This year, the winner was school teacher Carol Bartholomew, who has been entering fair contests since 1987.

"The fourth time's a charm," she said when her name was announced, alluding to past unsuccessful tries. Actually, Bartholomew represented Utah in the National Beef Cook-Off back in 1990, and routinely takes home hundreds of dollars in fair prize money each year. She and Tanya Lowe of Payson won first place awards in Fleischmann's Bake For the Cure contest. With its "Bake for the Cure" theme, Fleischmann's donates money to the Susan G Komen for the Cure — $10 for each entry at 52 fairs across the country.

In the Budweiser Chili Cook-Off, first place went to Benjamin and Matthew Watson for their Red and Blue Rivalry Chili. Jalaine Swensen took first place in the Fresh Salsa Challenge. Lisa Blodgett took first place in the King Arthur Flour Great Cakes competition with her Pina Colada Cake.

Winners of other contests were not available as of press time.

Here are a few of the winning recipes:

DIAMOND BROWNIES: A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

1 3/4 sticks of butter (14 tablespoons)

1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli semisweet chocolate chips, divided

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup flour

1/4 cup Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa

1 cup raspberry preserves

3/4 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter and 3/4 cup chocolate chips in a double boiler over low heat, stirring frequently just until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Grease a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with butter, dust with flour. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium size bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until smooth.

Add the cooled chocolate mixture and stir until combined.

Blend together the flour and cocoa. Add to wet ingredients, stirring just until well-combined. and no trace of the dry ingredients remain. Spread the batter evenly and into the prepared pan.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the brownies start to pull way from the sides of the pan. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a rack.