Shy and polite, nine-year-old Sydney Ginther of Headland might be the last little girl one would consider a threat. But this past year when she donned her oven mitts and spatula in preparation for the National Peanut Festival’s student division recipe contest, she proved to be one tough cookie – or cheesecake bite.
“It was my third year entering the competition, and the first time I made this recipe was for the contest,” said Sydney.
Sydney’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bites took the student grand prize at the annual event in November, and she said her recipe has been in demand ever since.
“My brother and sisters and cousins all want to taste them since I won. The [Peanut Festival Pageant] queens tried them too, and they said they were good,” she adds.
Sydney said she enjoys cooking and baking, and was encouraged by her mom, Amanda, to enter the contest, just as her older sister had done previously.
“My sister was kind of jealous,” Sydney said with guileless honesty.
“I can’t compete next time since I won the grand prize, but I want to try again the next year,” she adds.
Adult grand prize winner Mollie Enfinger of Dothan is likewise no stranger to the annual culinary competition, and while she had taken first place in previous years, Mollie said she was still shocked to hear her Luscious Peanut Coconut Pie was the grand prize winner in the adult division.
“Of course, you do your best, and you always hope to win, but it was still very unexpected to hear my name called,” said Enfinger.
“I’ve been entering the peanut cooking contest for eight years, and my mother had competed for years, so it’s something we do as a family, selecting and trying new peanut recipes,” she explains.
In addition to her prize-winning pie, Enfinger also took top honors in the miscellaneous division with her Nutty Egg Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce, a dish outside her cooking comfort zone, she says.
“I mostly bake and make sweets, so I don’t do a lot of cooking in the usual sense,” says Enfinger, adding that she too intends to participate in the peanut cooking contest again when she’s eligible.
In celebration of National Peanut Month, these recipes earned top prizes at last year’s National Peanut Festival.
Visit www.AlfaFarmers.org to view the complete list of recipes.