Arlene's Cuisine

One of the most interesting events at the Chaffee County Fair, at least for me, is the open class competition in which anyone can enter the best of hobbies, crafts, baking, canning, sewing, etc.

It’s always fun to check on opening day and see what, if anything, you won and to see what other people have done. Often it’s surprising to learn that folks you know are talented in areas you never knew about. You learn, for example, that a friend you’ve known for many years is a really good artist, or someone you never knew had an interest in photography can take much better photos than you.

Today we’re featuring some of the recipes that were turned in for the baking competition. My Peanut Butter M&M Cookies won a white ribbon (third) place. But maybe next year will be better. That’s the fun of open class. There is always next year to look forward to.

Age groups were peewee, ages 5-12; junior, ages 13-18; adult, ages 19-55; and senior, ages 56 and older.


Bumbleberry Pie

From Barb Collins, senior, grand champion and blue ribbons

  • 1 medium tart apple, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced rhubarb
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

In a large bowl, combine the filling ingredients. Pour into a prepared pie crust. Roll out the top crust or cut out decorative shapes and place over filling. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake another 40 to 45 minutes. Cool on wire rack.


Thumbprint Cookies

From Ella Frecking, peewee, blue ribbon

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ¼ vanilla bean, soft inside scraped out
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup of your favorite jam

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two sheet pans or use parchment paper. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla scrapings and salt until incorporated. Add flour and mix at low speed until incorporated. Using your hands, roll dough into golf-ball-sized balls and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Flatten balls with your hand and use your thumb to make a well in the middle of each cookie. Fill well with jam of choice. Bake until lightly brown around edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in pan and transfer to cooking rack.


Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

From Ada Turley, senior, red ribbon

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups flour (increase to 1¾ cups for high altitude)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old-fashioned, uncooked)
  • 1 cup raisins

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Mix well. Stir in oats and raisins. Mix well. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet. Remove to wire rack. Makes about 4 dozen. You can also make these into bars. Bake 30 to 35 minutes in ungreased 13-by-9-inch metal baking pan.


Berry Cream

Cookie Snaps

From Chloe Frecking, junior, reserve champion and blue ribbons

  • Filling:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jam
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 1 to 3 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • Batter:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • Chopped strawberries (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat cream cheese, sugar and jam until blended. Fold in whipped cream and food coloring. Refrigerate.

For the batter, whisk sugar, flour and salt. Stir in egg whites and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in butter until blended. Line baking sheets with parchment.

Preparing four cookies at a time, drop batter by teaspoons 4 inches apart onto prepared pans. Bake until edges are lightly browned (5 to 8 minutes). Loosen each cookie and curl around wooden spoon handle. Repeat with remaining cookies. Before serving, pipe filling into shells using a cake decorating bag.


Austrian Raspberry


From Chloe Frecking, junior, blue ribbon

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raspberry jam
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar

Cream butter using a hand mixer until soft and fluffy. Add egg yolks and mix well. Mix sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the butter and egg yolk and mix just until incorporated and dough starts to come together. Turn dough onto a floured surface and form into two balls. Wrap separately in plastic wrap and freeze at least 2 hours.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove one ball from freezer and coarsely grate it by hand into the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Make sure it’s evenly covered. With a flexible spatula, spread the jam over the surface evenly. Remove remaining dough and coarsely grate it over the entire surface. Bake until light golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. As soon as it comes out of the oven, dust with powdered sugar, cool on wire rack and enjoy.


Peanut Butter

M&M Cookies

From Arlene Shovald, senior, white ribbon

  • ½ cup shortening
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (½ teaspoon for 7,000 feet elevation)
  • 1½ teaspoons soda (¾ teaspoon for 7,000 feet elevation)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups M&Ms plain chocolate candies

Mix shortening, butter, peanut butter, sugars and eggs. Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt and add to the shortening mixture. Add the M&Ms and mix thoroughly. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into 1¼-inch balls and place 3 inches apart on a baking sheet. Dip a fork in flour and make a crisscross on the top of each cookie as you would for regular peanut butter cookies. Bake about 12 minutes. Makes 6 dozen.



(More fair recipes next week.)