Every year, the Lebanon Area Fair gives local bakers a chance to test their mettle in baking contests.
This year, the categories were chocolate cake, angel food cake, apple pie, and the junior category: cookies, brownies, and bars.
Isabelle Barnhart was the winner of the junior category, submitting raisin bars. The youth contest had 12 entries, so she had lots of competition.
“I was like, ‘maybe I win or maybe I wouldn’t,’ I just didn’t know,” she said of her thoughts when she dropped her bars off Monday morning. “I’m really happy because I worked hard.”
Barnhart’s grandmother has been baking for years, and shared her raisin bar recipe, one of Barnhart’s favorites.
Her win at the fair means that Barnhart and her raisin bars will be moving on to compete at the Farm Show in January 2023.
“It’s making me nervous but who knows, I may win again,” said Barnhart. “You never know though.”
Barbara Engle, the winner of the angel food cake contest, also used her grandmother’s recipe.
“It’s not easy; it’s step by step by step, but it’s really good,” Engle said of the recipe, which requires extensive work to prep. “I felt pretty good about this one, I really did.”
Engle has competed in the fair baking contest for several years and grew up participating in 4-H. In the past, her cakes have placed second or third.
“When I got second and third, I thought, ‘I’ll just keep trying,'” she said.
Evelyn Troutman, this year’s Dairy Princess, competed in the apple pie competition and placed third. It was her first time competing in the baking contest.
“I guess I was a little nervous because it’s the first time we made this and I wasn’t really sure what was going to come out of it,” said Troutman. “But I guess the judges liked it and it was really fun to make.”
Troutman wanted to use a recipe with dairy products to reflect the importance of the dairy industry.
“When selecting it, I wanted to do something geared around dairy products since I am the dairy princess this year, and I found this one and it had cream cheese and other dairy products in it, and I thought it was the perfect one.”
The Lebanon Area Fair will be open until Saturday night, so take the opportunity to look at exhibitions from talented Lebanon Valley locals.
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