Posts Tagged ‘Topsfield Fair’

Here’s an oldie but a goodie–feel like doing a little baking this weekend?  Try this!  I made this one up a few years ago for the Topsfield Fair and came home with a blue ribbon from the King Arthur baking contest!  The deadline is approaching quickly if you are thinking about entering any goodies into the fair–get those forms in!

Here’s a link to the form–print it out and enter something–it’s so fun!!!  http://www.topsfieldfair.org/handbook/2012/foodentry.pdf



Taste of Autumn Bundt Cake

For the Filling:

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 cup Vermont maple syrup
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons Cape Cod whole berry cranberry sauce
1/3 cup dried Cape Cod cranberries, chopped

For the Cake:

3 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
3/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 cup butternut squash or pumpkin puree
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Topping:

1/2 cup Macintosh, Granny Smith or other tart New England apple sauce
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoons apple brandy
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup New England hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup dried Cape Cod cranberries chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease bundt pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt and set aside.

In a medium bowl prepare the filling. Beat together cream cheese, egg, cornstarch and maple syrup. Add brown sugar, butter, salt and cinnamon, cranberries and cranberry sauce until combined. Set aside.

In a large bowl beat granulated sugar, brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at time until blended. Beat in squash, sour cream and vanilla until well combined. Beat in the flour mixture until just combined.

Spoon one half of the batter into the pan. Spoon filling on top of batter in a ring but do not allow filling to touch the edge of the pan. Top with remaining batter.  Bake for 60 minutes.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Turn out on to rack to cool completely.

When cake is cool, place on serving plate. Combine apple sauce, confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, brandy, heavy cream and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over cake and sprinkle with hazelnuts and cranberries.


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I have always been one of those people who thought that baking a yeast bread was very difficult–yeast was some sort of mysterious creature and that terrible things would happen if I didn’t do everything just exactly right.

Well, that really isn’t true and the only way to figure that out is to just start making bread.  So I did.  Last Winter I made endless loaves of olive bread, lots of pizza crust (yes, that counts) and a few others and had fun in the process–and lots of nice bread to go with dinner and toasted for breakfast the next day.  There really is nothing better for dinner than a big salad, nice bread and a piece of grilled fish or some lobster and steamers in my opinion.

But as usual, I am getting off track.  Last week at the Topsfield Fair I entered the Fleishmann’s Yeast Bread contest.  When I say that the competition was fierce, I am not kidding.  There is so much talent there–some of these ladies have been baking bread their whole lives.  I knew that I probably wouldn’t have a chance if I chose something too complicated since I am still a novice but I was inspired by an idea I saw on the King Arthur Flour website for a twisted stuffed bread.  I also had to be realistic–I could not spend all day waiting for dough to rise, punching it for a second rise and then bake it—a girl has to work–so my friend Caroline Craig suggested that I tinker with her overnight dinner roll recipe so I did.  My final bread dough and filling recipe is completely different than the original that I found in the King Arthur email but I followed the procedure for making the figure 8 shape with good results.  So, gathered up my courage and just went for it–and I am so happy I did!

This recipe makes two loaves.  I submitted one to the Fair and made one for home that we enjoyed with soup and salad for dinner.  I added some finely chopped preserved lemon–preserved by yet another talented friend Beth–to the loaf I kept for myself and that little bit of salty citrus really added something to the mix.    Try it–feel free to use whatever filling ingredients you like–and let me know how you made out.  You don’t  have to do this one overnight.. You can do this early in the day and then bake it for dinner but I actually refrigerated it and baked it off in the morning before I went to work.  YUM!

Overnight Fennel & Cheese Brunch Twist

For the dough:
2 cups milk, warmed
1/2 cup plus one tablespoon olive oil, divided, plus additional for oiling the bowl
4 1/2 teaspoons Fleishmann’s Yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
6 1/2 to 7 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt

For the filling:
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh lemon thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced fennel
1/2 cup chopped Kalamata olives
3/4 cup drained oil packed sun dried tomatoes
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
3/4 cup mozzarella cheese

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine warm milk, olive oil, Fleishmann’s Yeast, warm water and sugar. Beat once to combine and allow to rest until foamy.

Beat in the eggs and then slowly incorporate 6 cups of the flour on medium speed until dough forms, adding as much of the remaining one cup flour as necessary to form a cohesive dough. Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 5 minutes until dough is smooth.

Oil the mixing bowl and let dough rise overnight covered with plastic wrap.

In the meantime, saute sliced fennel with one tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

When ready assemble twist, punch down dough and divide in half and roll out to about 8” x 22” on a well floured surface. Sprinkle on granulated garlic, half of the herbs, half of the fennel, olives, sun dried tomatoes and cheese. Roll the dough the long way to form a log, pinch the seam closed and place on a parchment covered baking sheet.

With kitchen scissors, lengthwise down the center of the log about 1” deep most of the way down the log, leaving about 1” on each end uncut. Twist one end to the right and one end to the left, tucking the ends underneath the log to form and “S” shape. Cover the bread with buttered plastic wrap or a damp towel and allow to rise again for an hour. In the meantime, repeat process with remaining dough and filling and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake twists, one at a time, in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, tenting with foil after 20+ minutes to prevent over browning. Allow to cool before cutting and enjoy!

And how did I do in the competition you ask?  Well, even if you didn’t I am going to tell you–I came in third!  I was thrilled with the win and for me, placing in a bread competition is a huge step in the right direction when it comes to learning the art of bread baking.

And my friend Deb Stewart came in second with an amazing pizza—she is quite an accomplished cook and another one of my “Fair Weather Friends” who has enough ribbons to make a quilt, and perhaps wall paper her living room with them.  I was in very very good company.

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I could not be more proud!  Not only has my girl Lil been on national TV (The Nate Berkus Show) and featured in a national magazine (Kiwi Magazine) but now she is bringing home the ribbons at the Topsfield Fair!

Over the weekend, Lil won two blue ribbons and one red second place ribbon for her desserts–and she is giving out her recipes.  Her third ribbon, a red second place, was for a version of her rice pudding that she made on the Nate Berkus show last week.  I am so proud of my girl!

Happy Apple Streusel Muffins–Recipe by Lily for the Topsfield Fair Muffin Contest

Streusel Topping
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold butter

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup diced apple
1/4 cup cinnamon chips

Heat the oven to 400°F with the oven rack in middle. Put cupcake papers in 12 standard muffin cups

First, make the streusel topping:

Combine the flour brown and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some pea-sized pieces.

Combine the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl.

Combine the milk, melted butter, vanilla, and egg in a medium bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture, and stir only until the flour is moistened. Gently stir in apples and cinnamon chips.

Divide the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling them about 2/3 full. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of streusel over each muffin.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a couple of muffins comes out dry. Cool slightly.

Makes 12 -14 muffins

Three C’s Cookies–recipe by Lily for Topsfield Fair

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon milk
1 egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup cashews

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Put silicone baking mats on three cookies sheets.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, kosher salt and baking soda.

In a large bowl, beat together shortening, butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and milk until light and fluffy.

Turn mixer to low speed and beat in dry ingredients.  When mixed, add chocolate chips, cranberries and cashews and mix until combined.

Using a medium ice cream scoop, dish out cookie dough on to prepared pan, 12 to a sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges are lightly browned.  Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

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Well, I am not the only one who thinks Jannine Fisk is a superstar!

Check out this great article/blog written by the fabulous Kristina Vanni for Better Recipes!


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