The Edmond Sun

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September 28, 2013

Edmond woman wins blue ribbon at State Fair with bite-size candies

EDMOND — Elsie Harner of Edmond won first place in the Bite-Size Treats Category of the new Sweet Treats for Sweet Hearts contest at the Oklahoma State Fair. Harner entered her Creamy Dreamy Meltaway and won a $100 cash prize for her tasty treat.

Harner has been cooking since she was 10 years old, and at 77 years of age she is relatively new to entering cooking contests.

“I have entered contests the last few years since I retired and started entering the County Fair,” Harner said. “This is my third year to enter the State Fair.”

In 2011 Harner won the Karo Cookie Contest with her Apricot Chocolate Chip Yum Yum cookies.

This is the first year for Karo Syrup’s “Sweet-Treats for Sweet-Hearts” contest.

Harner, an Edmond resident for 35 years, said she made the recipe she had used for years which includes chocolate, coconut and pecans and entered it in the Best Bite-Size Treat, 2013 Oklahoma State Fair.

“I thought, ‘I can put Karo in my recipe real easy,’ so I did and the Karo gave the candy the melt away consistency,” Harner said. “I did make some other candy that I wasn’t happy with so I decided I would do something different. The recipe is a pretty simple one, and it can be made a variety of ways.”

Harner said she has always loved to cook and always likes to change a recipe and do something different.

“It is hard for me to go by any recipe,” Harner said. “When I am making something I have to keep a pencil and paper next to me because I am always making changes.”

Harner said after she had made the candy she almost didn’t enter the contest because she had used paraffin.

“I got on the computer and they still use it in candy today,” Harner said. “I was very surprised because in that category there was only one winner.”

She said her husband Pete is her taste tester.

“He always knows just what to say,” Harner said. “Whatever he samples he always says, ‘That’s a winner.’”

She and her husband of 58 years have two children, four grandchildren and one great-grandson.  

Elsie is a master gardener and between gardening and cooking she loves to go thrifting, although she said her true love is cooking and creating new recipes.

“I won the Spam contest last year,” Harner said. “I was the Grand Champion. I made Spam balls with Spam, pineapple, relishes and Panko bread crumbs.

“I would tell aspiring cooks to always put their own little touches in their recipe. It might just be a sprinkle of cinnamon on a dessert. Experiment and add something different to every recipe you try.”

Harner said she is going to start thinking about pies for next year’s contest.

“I think I am going to enter the Pillsbury Pie contest next year,” she said.

Elsie can be seen making her “Creamy Dreamy Meltaways” candy at 7:15 a.m. Oct. 5 on Channel 9.

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