Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Going ga-ga over Ghiradelli chocolate at the fair (WITH RECIPE)

It’s no secret that I have a sweet tooth. In just the first few days of this year’s fair, I’ve consumed deep-fried Oreos and cookie dough, Ellison Bakery cookies and cupcakes decorated like pigs. Even Famous Amos or Mrs. Fields wouldn’t be able to keep up with my baked (or fried) food binge.

It should then come as no surprise that I was front and center at Tuesday’s Ghiradelli Chocolate Championship in the Ellison Bakery Home & Family Arts Building attempting to photograph decadent desserts without lunging myself onto the Culinary Arts Stage kitchen counter. Officials must have known my reputation – one asked me to step back because I was getting too close to the kitchen area.

Judges tasted 36 exhibits, awarding first through third places. All three top finishers walked away with a Ghiradelli prize basket and apron, with first capturing an additional $150 cash prize and second scoring a $50 prize.

First place went to Markleville’s Mary Alice Collins and her “Ghiradelli White Chocolate Macadamia-Pecan-Coconut Cake” (see photo at left of a judge taste-testing the winner). I’m not a fan of coconut, but I have to say her cake was among the prettiest that I saw. Second place went to Morgantown’s Beverly Rossell and her “Chocolate Malted Towers” and third place went to Greenwood’s Hae Won Miller and her “Ghiradelli Chocolate Almond Bars.”

All this talk of Ghiradelli chocolate got you in the mood to bake? Me, too.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, you can either scope out the entries in the basement of the Ellison Bakery Home & Family Arts Building or fire up the oven. The following is Collins’ award-winning recipe:

Ghiradelli White Chocolate Macadamia-Peach-Coconut Cake

Yields: 12 to 16 servings

8 oz. white chocolate baking bar

2-1/2 cups sifted cake flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1-1/2 cups granulated Domino Sugar

1 pinch salt

4 large eggs

1-1/4 cups milk

1 teaspoon coconut extract

½ cup macadamia nuts, chopped and roasted

2 fresh peaches or 1 cup, chopped very fine and drained on a paper towel

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 3- to 8-inch round cake pans on the sides and bottom. Flour the sides and place a piece of cut wax paper in the bottom. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Melt the 8 oz. bar of white chocolate in the top of a double boiler over hot water or melt in the microwave. Set aside to cool to room temperature. With a mixer, beat butter, sugar and salt until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until smooth. Add the flour and milk alternately beginning with the flour and ending with flour. Add the white chocolate, coconut extract, chopped peaches, and macadamia nuts just until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between the 3- to 8-inch pans. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs clinging on it. Cool about 15 minutes. Unmold onto a rack and cool completely.

Submitted by Kristofer Karol

1 comment:

  1. I was just going through my State Fair cookbook from 1989, and was amazed at all the entries from Mary Alice Collins and her mother Helen Rushton. I was so glad to see that she is still competing and winning!