More than 2,000 happy visitors enjoyed dozens of delicious treats at this year’s Chocolate Festival at Ritter Public Library.
The new Chocolate Champions are Angela Carter and Emily Kieswetter who won first place with their “I HEART Brownies” creation. Chocolate-cayenne candied bacon won second place for Terry Caudill. Third place went to Denise Zielske for her chocolate-strawberry cake.
The festival is a fundraiser for Friends of Ritter, who promote reading and use of the library. This is the eleventh year for the event, which featured more than 130 volunteer bakers. The library enjoyed more than 2,000 visitors. To celebrate the Ritter’s 100th anniversary this year, bakers were encouraged to use a “100” theme to inspire their dishes and decorations.
Girl Scout Troop 50646 won first place in the youth division, under leader Jenna Rowell, for “Thin Mint Muddy Buddies”. Friends Maddy Tennant and Caitlin Thomas won second place for their “Twix Cookie” dish. Jocelyn Bednar won third place for chocolate-cherry cupcakes that wished a happy anniversary to the library.
Here are some of the winning recipes.
“I HEART Brownies”
By Angela Carter and Emily Kieswetter
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ cup Hershey’s cocoa
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional
Place butter in large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50 percent for about 2 minutes or until melted. Stir in sugar and vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Add cocoa and beat until well blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt and beat well. Stir in nuts, if desired. Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Top each with a dollop of creamy frosting and a pink, white-chocolate heart.
Creamy Brownie Frosting:
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
6 tablespoons Hershey’s cocoa
2 tablespoons light corn syrup or honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
2 to 4 tablespoons milk
Beat butter, cocoa, corn syrup and vanilla in small bowl until blended. Add powdered sugar and milk; beat to spreading consistency. Makes 1-2/3 cups frosting.
Chocolate-Cayenne Candied Bacon
By Terry Caudill
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound bacon
2 cups Brummer’s dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the brown sugar and cayenne in a shallow dish and stir to mix well. Cut each piece of bacon into thirds and press one side of each slice firmly into the spiced sugar to coat well.
Arrange the bacon on a broiler rack in a single layer sugared side up. Bake until the bacon is crisp and the sugar is bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then to a serving dish. Melt 2 cups of Brummer’s dark chocolate in a measuring cup, dip the bacon in the chocolate, allow to cool and enjoy!
Thin Mint Muddy Buddies
By Jenna Rowell and Girl Scout Troop 50646
1 (10 ounce) bag Andes Mint Baking Chips
1 (11.5 ounce) bag milk chocolate chips
9 cups rice Chex cereal
3 cups powdered sugar
20 Thin Mint cookies, finely crushed
1 1/2 cups Mint M&Ms
In a microwavable bowl, combine Andes Mint chips and chocolate chips. Microwave for 3-4 minutes, or until melted.
Pour Chex cereal in a large mixing bowl. Pour melted chocolate over top of cereal and gently stir until cereal is completely coated in chocolate. Put powdered sugar and finely crushed cookies (I used my food processor to crush them) in a large Ziploc bag. Add chocolate-covered cereal to the Ziploc bag with powdered sugar mixture and shake until cereal is covered.
Add Mint M&Ms and more crushed cookies if desired.