Joe Wins Top Awards In "Ethnic Baking" Category At San Joaquin County Fair
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The San Joaquin County Fair ended Sunday. And, I did pretty well but would have scored higher if I weren’t so stubborn.

As I know all too well, judges prefer ”smaller” cookies and baked goods with ”less” frosting.

I’ve had points taken off for these two infractions, if you can call them that, in past years. But since I bake for my friends and not a group of anonymous judges, I press on. My cookies are the size of your palm and the frosting is as thick as the Lodi telephone book.

My motto: if that’s too big, then eat half and put the other half in your pocket for a snack later. And if there’s too much frosting, then scrape some off and give it to your dog.

What’s most important, however, isn’t my on going dispute with the judges but my triumphs in a new category the fair introduced this year: ethnic baking.

Around the central California valley, ”ethnic” translates to Hispanic or Asian.

But I threw the panel a curve by entering Irish Brownies and Italian Lemon Almond Biscotti.

The brownies—with their healthy spike of Guinness Stout—won first prize. And the biscotti took second place. For anyone who likes to bake but has never tried biscotti, I recommend it. They’re easy to make and your homemade versions will bear no resemblance to those nasty store bought ones that you break teeth on.

Mail me for the brownie and biscotti recipes, if you want to give them a try.

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