New Castle News

August 15, 2013

Lawrence County Fair: Chocolate pairs with raspberry, peanut butter for winning creations

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Finding ingredients with “PA Preferred” labels posed a challenge for fair baking contest winners this year.

Competitors in the Pennsylvania Preferred chocolate cake and cookie contests at the Lawrence County Fair were required to bake their entries using at least two Pennsylvania Preferred products in their recipes, and provide the labels for those items as proof for the judges.

The logo indicates the ingredients were produced in Pennsylvania.

The products and locations where Pennsylvania Preferred items are sold are listed online at

Pennsylvania Preferred is a public-private partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and various companies throughout the commonwealth. The program is working with thousands of companies and stores to support and promote Pennsylvania products, according to information from the website.

The two chocolate baking contests — the cake competition for adults and the cookie competition for youths — were sponsored by state department of agriculture’s PA Preferred program.

The first-place winners are eligible to attend the state Farm Show in January and compete in those baking contests.

“I thought the chocolate cakes this year all were exceptional,” commented Lori Hites, the fair’s home economics director. “They really stood out. There were a lot of different ones. There were coconut, peanut butter, some maraschino cherries.”

Hites was particularly taken with the blue ribbon winner, a Chocolate Raspberry Cake, which had chocolate raspberry frosting. The cake was baked by Chelsea Glaister of New Castle, who was one of nine competitors.

The winning recipe for chocolate cookies — Peanut Butter Munchies — was baked by Brendan Clark of New Castle, who was one of only two entrants.

Lisa Norden of Volant was the blue ribbon winner in the fair’s special baking contest, sponsored by Hites’ family in memory of Virginia Worrell. This year’s recipe, which all contestants were required to make, was Sugar and Spice Cake.

Following are Gleister’s and Clark’s blue-ribbon-winning recipes:

Chocolate Raspberry Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and raspberry extract. Beat on medium mixer speed for two minutes. Batter will be thin.

Pour batter evenly into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.

Chocolate Raspberry Frosting

Cream butter in large bowl with mixer. Beat in 2 cups of powdered sugar, one at a time. Add the raspberry extract and 1 cup powdered sugar. Beat well.

Beat in last cup of powdered sugar.

Beat in cocoa powder, a little at a time, until all is mixed in. If frosting is too thick, add milk a little at a time.

 Peanut Butter Munchies

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa and baking soda and set aside.

Beat together butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and peanut butter with electric mixer until well combined. Add egg, milk and vanilla and beat well.

Beat in remaining dry ingredients.

Form batter into 32 balls and set aside.

For peanut butter filling, combine powdered sugar and 1/2 cup of peanut butter until smooth. Shape into 32 balls.

Slightly flatten a chocolate dough ball and top with a peanut butter ball. Shape chocolate dough over peanut butter filling. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly flatten with bottom of glass dipped in sugar.

Bake for about 8 minutes or until the cookies are set and surface is slightly cracked. Let stand for one minute.