CLEARFIELD — Cooking is becoming a family affair for some.
Every year, Clearfield hosts a dessert baking contests that brings many people out to test their culinary skills in making pies, cakes, dishes, cookies, and candy. Many families enter together as an annual holiday event.
This year, four related-people had the chance to even win a place in the contest.
Debbie LeBaron, a Clearfield resident, won first place in the best low fat/low calorie food for her chocolate mint brownies. Her trick was using applesauce instead of oil, plus adding peppermint extract to the brownie mix and frosting for the mint flavor.
She said she has entered the contest for about four years now with her husband, Mike.
“We always do it,” she said. “We think its fun. Sometimes, we win, and sometimes, we don’t.
“It’s just about spending time together and trying new recipes.”
This year, her husband didn’t place. But he still enjoyed making cinnamon rolls for the contest. He tried something he saw on television to give them a good flavor. The rolls were frosted both before and after baking.
But he loves to cook anything, especially Asian food like curry or yakisoba.
“Cooking is something you can do with your family,” he said. “It’s not a solitary event. You can visit and talk, so you don’t have to be alone when you are doing it.”
He and his wife are looking forward to continuing to bake together. They are hoping that someday soon their children might also join the fun and work on contest entries with them. They have an 8-, 5-, and 3-year-old.
“Eventually, they will be old enough to do it, too,” Debbie LeBaron said.
The LeBarons aren’t the only ones who enjoy entering the cooking contest. There were 34 entries this year, up from 33 in 2009.
South Weber residents Amy Bigler and her 11-year-old son Christopher both placed in the contest this year.
The family used to live in Clearfield, and they say that they love coming back for the cooking and annual Dart the Turkey event.
They have been doing the cooking portion for about five years now.
This year, Amy Bigler placed second place in candy for old fashioned fudge and second place in cake for her stuck up brownies.
Her brownies are scooped into balls and placed on a stick, then dipped in milk chocolate. The finishing touch is an added drizzle with colored chocolate to make them more festive.
“We love to cook,” she said. “It is fun to make treats. It gives you the chance to make something and share it.”
Her son placed first place in the student contest for his butterscotch corn flake clusters.
“I like to help my mom when she cooks,” he said. “It’s fun. It is a hands-on project that we can do.”
But, like many people, he said the best part is eating it at the end.
Pat Bergseng, the event organizer, said the cooking contest is a great time for families to spend time together. The baking portion has been going on for 21 years, and she has been part of it for 19.
“It’s a family tradition for many people,” she said. “It’s just an annual activity that they do every single year.”
Bergseng said that she has seen many children grow up through the competition and now they are participating with their own kids.
“They are always there,” she said. “It creates a fabulous tradition.”
People come from as far north as Kimberly, Idaho, and as far south as Sandy, Utah.
Berseng said she hopes families can enjoy the contest for years to come.
Winners of the 2010 Clearfield dessert baking contest
Best Cake 1st place: Tyler Anderson — Crumpkin Cake
Best Cake 2nd place: Amy Bigler — Stuck up Brownies
Best Candy 1st place: Logan Larsen — Candy Bar Fudge
Best Candy 2nd place: Amy Bigler — Old Fashioned Fudge
Best Cookie 1st place: Jean Cazier — Lemon Cheese Bars
Best Cookie 2nd place: Holly McIntosh — Cherry Streusel Cookies
Best Dish 1st place: Dennis Bobzin — Heath Bar Chocolate and Strawberry Trifle
Best Dish 2nd place: Virginia Bobzin — Homemade Cream Filled Cupcakes
Best Pie 1st place: Troy Bishop — Caramel Apple Pie
Best Pie 2nd place: Dalton Larsen — Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake
Best Student 1st place: Christopher Bigler — Butterscotch Corn Flake Clusters
Best Student 2nd place: Morgan Parry — Pumpkin Crunch Cake
Best Low Fat/Low Cal 1st place: Debbie LeBaron — Chocolate Mint Brownies
Best Low Fat/Low Cal 2nd place: Dalton Larsen — Chocolate Pumpkin Cake