A 13-year-old Great Valley Middle School student took first prize during the PA Preferred Chocolate Baking Contests for Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Cookies/Brownies/Bars at the 98th Annual Pennsylvania Farm Show in Harrisburg on Jan. 4.
Seventh grader Jenny Huffman, of Malvern, was the Kimberton Fair’s local winner for the PA Preferred Chocolate Baking contest, which qualified her to compete in the Annual Farm Show bake off.
“I started baking when I was little with my mom and grandmom,” Huffman said. “It was fun, and I always wanted to help.”
Huffman’s own recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Upside-Downs was the winner, beating out 56 other competitors, in Harrisburg.
“A few years ago my mom and I came up with this recipe, I changed it this year and added the raspberry,” Huffman said. “It doesn’t take long to make them, but for me it does because I want to make sure not to undercook or burn them. I want them to be good.”
According to the PA Preferred Chocolate Baking website, out of the 110 local and county member fairs conducted this year, 102 held PA Preferred chocolate baking competitions during the 2013 fair season.
At these local fairs there were over 1,075 entries baked and exhibited. Once determined a winner at the local fair, Huffman was certified to move on to the state competition in Harrisburg.
“I was so excited,” Huffman said. “When they started calling out the top 10, I couldn’t believe it. I am going to enter at the Kimberton Fair again next year.”
This year at the Farm show, each contest was judged by a panel that included representatives from PA Preferred producers as well as a cookbook author, a chef and the emcee that has been with the chocolate baking contests at the Farm Show for 26 years.
Huffman is glad she took her grandmother’s advice.
“Since I like baking, my grandmom suggested that I enter a contest.”
At the Farm Show this year, Huffman competed against 57 cookie-brownie-bar entries and 74 chocolate cake entries. Youths aged 8 to 18 could compete in the contest, and each contestant had to submit an entry of six cookies, brownies or bars baked from scratch. Each entry had to feature chocolate or cocoa as the main ingredient.
Another rule of the competition was that the contestants had to use at least two PA Preferred products in their recipe.
“I used three: butter, eggs and flour,” Huffman said. “I love baking new recipes. In school I am taking German, so I have been trying some German recipes.”
For her winning entry at the state farm show, Huffman was awarded a $250 cash prize, and she also received some CDs and t-shirts.