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State Fair champion baker

By Staff | Aug 28, 2009

Rachel Mosher offers her daughter, Kathleen, a sugar cookie while son Alan displays his decorative talents. Alan entered his sugar cookies at the Iowa State Fair and won third place in the My Most Creative Sugar Cookie for children 5 years old and under.

ELDORA – Entering into food competitions is nothing new for Rachel Mosher of Eldora.

Involved in 4-H as a child is where Mosher began entering into contests. Within the last six years, she has competed in adult level competitions.

“I’ve been cooking forever,” said Mosher. “I grew up on a farm and mom had all of us cooking and I learned a lot in 4-H.”

Mosher’s mother is also the one that encouraged her to begin competing.

Mosher said she will enter foods that travel easy such as muffins, cookies, cakes. Most recently, Mosher took first place in the Fair Foods competition at the Iowa State Fair with her “Kathleen’s Kettle Korn.”

Mosher said that when she thinks of Iowa State Fair foods, kettle corn is what comes to mind.

“With my grandfather, our family tradition was to grab a ‘small’ bag, about 3-feet long, of kettle corn,” said Mosher.

“Then we would stand in line about an hour ahead of time for the evening horse show. Grandpa said we needed to be there plenty early to get good seats. We would munch on that bag while waiting outside and then continue munching through the entire horse show.”

She also entered muffins, butterscotch cookies and a bean-pot recipe this year and even her 3-year-old son, Alan, entered some sugar cookies.

“I decorated them,” said Alan.

Alan earned third place with his sugar cookies in the My Most Creative Sugar Cookie for children five years old and younger.

He chose to use her donut cutter to cut the cookies, which made for all sorts of sizes of cookies, Mosher said.

Mosher said she plans to enter something new and different than what she entered the year before.

“I’m always trying new things and if it turned out well I’ll enter it,” said Mosher.

Mosher strongly recommends giving a food contest a try.

“It’s addictive once you try it and especially if you win,” she said. “You learn a lot once you go down there and listen to the judges.”

In addition to Alan, Mosher and her husband Ted have a 1-year-old daughter Kathleen.

“I’m always looking for lard recipes,” said Mosher. “With the kids being lactose intolerant as babies and toddlers I wanted to find recipes where lard is used in place of dairy products.”

Looking for recipes that call for using lard as an ingredient usually means Mosher is looking through some very old cookbooks, which she also likes to collect.

A sample of her past award-winning recipes include:

Kathleen’s kettle korn

(First Place in 2009 Fair Foods contest)

1/4 cup corn oil

1/2 cup popcorn kernels

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 tablespoons white sugar


Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add kernels and cover. When kernels begin to pop, lift cover carefully, and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cook, shaking the pot frequently until popping slows. Then sprinkle with white sugar and continue to shake the pot until popping has almost stopped. Dump into a bowl and sprinkle with salt to taste.

Rolled sugar cookies

(Third place in 2009 My Most Creative Sugar Cookie by Alan Mosher, age 3)

3 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 cup solid shortening (we use scant cup of lard)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Blend flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and sold shortening in a bowl. In a mixer beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until foamy and well blended. Add flour mixture to the mixer and work together.

This dough is better if not refrigerated. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll as thick or as thin as desired. Use cookie cutters of your choice. May be eaten plain or sprinkled with colored sugar before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

This cookie does not brown on the top.

After cooled may be frosted, if desired

Salted peanut cookies

(Second place in 2008 Cookies of Yesteryear)

1 scant cup lard

1 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

3 1/4 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons cream of tarter

2 teaspoons soda

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 to 1 1/2 cups unsalted peanuts (may chop if desired)

Combine sugar and shortening, add eggs and vanilla. Sift cream of tarter and soda with flour. Add to creamed mixture. Mix in peanuts. Drop on cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Peanut butter cookies

(First place in 2005 Peanut Butter contest)

1 cup lard

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup peanut butter

2 eggs, beaten

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream together lard and sugars. Add peanut butter and eggs. Sift together flour, soda and salt. Add to creamed mixture; stir in vanilla. Form into balls. Roll in a couple tablespoons of white sugar.

Place on ungreased baking sheets. Press flat with a fork. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

Grandma Mosher’s molasses cookies

(Second place 2005 Cookies of Yesteryear)

Small cup lard

1 cup dark molasses

About five cups all purpose flour (to make soft dough)

Mix together. Roll into small balls and roll in white sugar. Flatten with the bottom of sugared glass.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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