Photos by Lisa Patterson
Try to eat something that you’ve never had before – good or bad – and see if you can take a bite and not react. That is the biggest challenge when you are judging food. I had the honor of judging the Fisher Scone competition at The Washington State Fair today in Puyallup.
When you are judging, the people who submitted their scones into the competition are watching. That’s why I tried to play it cool. I don’t want to give my ‘yuck’ face if I take a bite of something I don’t like and hurt someone’s feelings. I’m a pretty picky eater, so the chances I won’t personally like something is relatively high.
The first scone I tried was a savory one. A too savory one. My first instinct was to spit it out but instead I drank water. A lot of water. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that scone because being overly-critical is not proper fair etiquette – this isn’t Chopped.
Lucky for me and my fellow judges – an official from The Fisher Co., a restaurateur, and an official fair judge – there were some creative and delicious dynamos in the bunch. First place went to Cathy Norberg of Lakewood and her awesome Cinnamon Roll Scones. She took the mix as her base, added some extras to the batter and rolled it out and folded onto itself to create delicious, flaky layers of goodness. Add some butter and cinnamon and she had a blue ribbon winning dessert that was as pretty as it was delicious. Second place went to a coconut cranberry scone and third place when to an almond cherry tart made out of scone mix.
I decided through the process of trying and rating all of the scones carefully on their appearance, originality and taste that it was OK to smile when I tasted something good.
So what makes a good scone? If you don’t over knead the dough, over bake it or under bake it that’s half the battle. And if you want to win the competition it has to look pretty and taste even better. Creativity is key. And when the judges can’t figure out how you did it and want a copy of your recipe, that’s when you know you’ve hit a home run.
If you want to enter a fair competition, check out their website at thefair.com and start practicing for next year – pies, scones, mom and me cookie contests, jam … there is a contest for just about every culinary creator.
Read the winning recipes below:
1st Place Winner: Cathy Norberg, Lakewood
Name of Recipe: CINNAMON ROLL SCONES
- 1 Package Fisher Scone Mix
- 3/4 Cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Ice water
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, Melted
- 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
- 1 Egg, Slightly Beaten
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon NonFat Milk
- 1 Tablespoon Softened Butter
- 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
- Combine scone mix and water in a large bowl until just together. On a floured surface roll dough into a 12″ square. Fold over 1/3 dough to the center, then fold over the other 1/3 to the center. Now do the same the other direction until you have a square. Place the square dough on floured plate and place in freezer for 5 minutes. Remove from freezer and roll dough into 12-inch square. Spread melted butter over dough. Mix together brown sugar and cinnamon
- Spread brown sugar, cinnamon mixture over butter. Roll dough, keep as tight as possible. Keeping seam down flatten roll to 4″ x 12″. Cut into 8 triangles (Approximate 3″ along the bottom) Place scones on parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush with beaten egg.
- In a 400 degree preheated oven, bake scones for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Completely cool on cooling rack
- Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, butter and vanilla. Pour into Ziplock bag. Cut the corner and Drizzle onto scones. Serve.
2nd Place Winner: Cheryl Teifke, Tacoma
Name of Recipe: COCONUT CRANBERRY SCONES
- 18 Ounce Fisher Scone Mix
- 3/4 cup plus 3 Tablespoons Water
- 1/2 Teaspoon Coconut Extract
- 1/2 Cup Flaked Coconut
- 1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips
- Raw sugar
- Combine scone mix, coconut, cranberries and white chocolate chips in mixing bowl.
- In one cup measuring cup combine water and coconut extract and add to dry mixture and combined until mixed.
- Knead dough 5-6 time on well floured board.
- Divide dough into thirds. Patch each piece into 5 inch diameter dome with center slightly higher than the edge.
- Cut into quarters, brush with water and sugar. Bake at 400 degrees on ungreased sheet for 10 minutes.
3rd Place Winner: Marlene Cox, Spanaway
Name of Recipe: CHERRY ALMOND PASTRY
- 1 Package Original Fisher Scone Mix
- 3/4 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon water
- 1-1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Almonds
- Sliced Almonds
- 1 Can Cherry Pie Filling
- 1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
- 1-1/2 Tablespoon Milk
- 1/2 Teaspoon Almond Extract
- Combine pastry ingredients to make a soft dough. Divide into 18 pieces and form into a crust in greased muffin cups.
- Mix pie filling with extract and cinnamon.
- Put about 1 tablespoon in each crust.
- Bake at 400 degrees for 11 to 12 minutes.
- Cool and drizzle topping over tops.
- Add sliced almonds.