How sweet it is
LAKE CITY – Tiffany Poen has a kitchen confession to make – “I don’t really cook a lot, but I do have a sweet tooth and like to make candies and desserts.”
When she does cook, her family enjoys her treats, as do judges at the Calhoun County Exposition and the Iowa State Fair.
Poen, 14, has won a number of awards, including top honors at the county fair and blue ribbons at the state fair for her luscious caramels and her creamy peanut butter fudge.
She’s been exhibiting 4-H food projects since she was 10.
While Poen follows the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook recipe for her caramels, she said her winning fudge recipe came from Faith Blaskovich, of Lake City.
“When I took my caramels to the county fair one year,” Poen said, “Faith was helping with the judging.
“She asked what I planned to take to the fair next year, and when I said candy, she suggested fudge and shared her recipe.”
Poen also has a number of healthy recipes in her collection, including strawberry oatmeal breakfast smoothies made with soy milk and fruit.
Poen’s smoothies helped her win a Pride of Iowa award at the county fair, as did her fruit salsa, which includes apples, strawberries and raspberries.
“You have to have at least one Iowa ingredient in your recipe to win Pride of Iowa,” she said. The more Iowa ingredients you have, the better.”
While Poen always hopes her culinary creations qualify for the state fair, this active member of the Jackson Pioneers 4-H Club doesn’t stop with food.
She also exhibits bucket bottle calves and market steers at the Calhoun County Exposition and enjoys entering her photography in the fair.
When she’s not working on 4-H projects, this busy eighth-grader plays volleyball at South Central Calhoun Middle School and is a regular at the Dance 2 Xtreme studio in Lake City, where she practices tap, ballet, hip hop, jazz/funk and performs with the competition dance team.
Poen’s mother, Lynn Poen, said she appreciates her daughter’s interest not only in sports and dance, but 4-H activities.
“4-H is a great way for Tiffany to set goals and learn new skills.”
Poen is already thinking about the food projects she’d like to exhibit at the 2014 Calhoun County Exposition.
She said she finds inspiration on the social media site Pinterest and also credits family members who share recipes.
“I’m thinking I’d like to make chocolate caramel turtle candies,” Poen said. “It’s fun to try new things.”
(This recipe came from the local Burley Family Cookbook and was one of the first recipes Tiffany Poen exhibited at the county fair. She earned an Outstanding Junior Award with these bars.)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/3 cups white syrup
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
9 cups Rice Krispies
1 package chocolate chips
1 package butterscotch chips
Boil sugar and white syrup for 3 minutes. Remove from stove and add peanut butter.
Pour mixture over Rice Krispies and place in buttered pan.
Combine chocolate chips and butterscotch chips.
Melt and spread over Rice Krispies mixture.
(Tiffany Poen earned a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair with these creamy caramels.)
1 cup butter
1 pound (2 1/4 cups) brown sugar
Dash of salt
1 cup light corn syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Melt butter in a 3-quart, non-stick pan. Add sugar and salt. Stir.
Add corn syrup. Mix well. Add sweetened condensed milk.
Cook on medium heat to 245 degrees to firm ball stage.
Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Pour into glass baking dish, baking molds or ice cube trays.
(Tiffany Poen won a Pride of Iowa award with this simple smoothie.)
1 cup soy milk
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 banana, broken into chunks
14 frozen strawberries
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
Combine soy milk, oats, banana and strawberries in a blender.
Add vanilla and sugar, if desired. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.
(The recipe for this prize-winning fudge came from Faith Blaskovich of Lake City.)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoon butter
1 cup (a 7-ounce jar is fine) marshmallow cream
1 cup peanut butter (smooth is best)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Bring sugar, evaporated milk and butter to a boil, stirring constantly.
Let the mixture boil more gently until it reaches the soft ball stage, or 238 degrees. Take off heat, and stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Pour fudge into a buttered pan, smooth the top and chill until ready to cut.
(Note: Poen said she pours the fudge into ice cube trays for uniform pieces to cool. Each piece of fudge can be dipped in chocolate for extra flavor, if desired.)
(Tiffany Poen uses strawberry jam in this delicious fruit salsa, which is one of her favorite recipes.)
2 kiwis, peeled and diced
2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and diced
8 ounces of raspberries
1 16-ounce carton of strawberries, diced
2 tablespoons white sugar (more or less to taste)
1 tablespoon brown sugar (more or less to taste)
3 tablespoons fruit preserves, any flavor
In a large bowl, thoroughly mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, strawberries, white sugar, brown sugar and fruit preserves.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator at least 15 minutes.
Serve with cinnamon chips.
1 package flour tortillas
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat one side of flour tortillas with melted butter or butter-flavored cooking spray.
Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, to taste.
Cut into wedges and arrange in a single layer on a large baking sheet.
Spray again with cooking spray (not necessary if using melted butter).
Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Allow to cool, approximately 15 minutes.
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