Winning recipes from the Conway County Fair

Story and photo
by Janna Virden

This is the second year that Gloria Rankin has won the “Best of Show” for baked goods in the senior division at the Conway County Fair, which is held each September.

Her winning recipe for the 2013 fair was Peanut Butter and Jam Bars. Last year, she won for her Crock Pot Candy recipe.

Rankin belongs to the Oppelo Twilite Extension Homemakers Club and has been volunteering her time at the fair for more than 15 years in the Senior Arts and Crafts Department.

“I love it,” she said. “I look forward to the fair every year. It is amazing to me what people can do.”

Each year, Rankin has entries in several specialty divisions such as Flowers and Plants, Arts and Crafts, Photography and, of course, Baked Goods.

One of the reasons Rankin loves the fair is that she believes it showcases the talents of so many people.

2013 Best of Show:

Peanut Butter and Jam Bars
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup raspberry jam
Glaze (below)
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix sugars, shortening, peanut butter and egg. Stir in flour, baking soda and baking powder. Reserve 1 cup dough. Press remaining dough in an ungreased rectangular pan, 13-by-9-by-2 inches; spread with jam. Crumble reserved dough and sprinkle over jam. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Cool and drizzle with the glaze. Cut into bars. Makes about three dozen cookies.
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1-2 tablespoons hot water
Heat butter in a 1-quart saucepan over low heat until melted. Mix in powdered sugar and vanilla. Beat in hot water, 1 teaspoon at a time until smoother and of desired consistency. Drizzle over bars.
2012 Best of Show:

Crock Pot Candy*
1 jar (16 oz.) dry roasted peanuts, unsalted
1 jar (16 oz.) dry roasted peanuts, salted
1 pkg. (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bar (4 oz.) German chocolate, broken into pieces
3 lbs. (or 2 planks) white bark, broken into pieces
Put all ingredients in a 4- or 5-quart crock pot in the order listed. Cover and cook 3 hours on low heat. Do not remove the lid. Turn off and cool slightly. Mix thoroughly and drop by the teaspoon onto waxed paper. Let cool thoroughly. Should make around 170 pieces. *Rankin makes this simple recipe every year during the Christmas holidays and gives the candy to friends and neighbors.

1 pound bulk sausage
16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
1 small onion
1 small bell pepper
2 (8 oz.) cans of biscuits
Chop the onion and pepper, mix with sausage and brown. Cut biscuits into quarters. Put a layer of biscuits in a Bundt pan, then the sausage mixture and then layer with cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the cheese on top. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes. Note: Use less than half the biscuits, sausage and cheese on the first layer. *Rankin helps with many of her church showers, and this recipe is one that she uses for a  or bridal shower held in the morning.