News from the Texas State Fair: A panel of local celebrity judges picked the Fried Cookie Dough – a chocolate chip, pecan and coconut cookie base that's battered and fried – from among seven competitors. The other winners included deep fried latte for most creative. it's a cappucino ice ceam sundae on top of fried pastry with syrup, whipped cream amd instant coffee sprinkles.
11:57 PM CDT on Sunday, August 26, 2007
By KATIE MENZER / The Dallas Morning News firstname.lastname@example.org
They make you fat and keep you awake.
Michael Levy eyes a Deep Fried Latte, the new dish that will debut at his family's State Fair of Texas concession stand this year. Mr. Levy hopes the dish will take top honors in the third annual Big Tex Choice Awards contest on Labor Day. No, they're not your kids.
They're the State Fair of Texas' new Deep Fried Lattes.
"We have gained about 10 pounds trying this. I'm not kidding," said Michael Levy, a concessionaire who will debut his family's new Deep Fried Latte at the fair this year.
"I've probably eaten 300 of these trying to get it right."
Video: Cooking up a Deep Fried Latte
Tell Us: Which new food will be best?
Deep Fried Latte – a fried pastry topped with cappuccino ice cream, caramel sauce, whipped cream and instant coffee powder – is one of seven new fair foods that will battle for fried domination in the third annual Big Tex Choice Awards contest on Labor Day.
The fair is still more than a month away – it opens Sept. 28 – but it might be a good idea to start dieting now.
"I think they're good products," said Ron Black, the fair's senior vice president of food service and novelties. "We've got experienced concessionaires, and their products all taste really good."
There will be plenty of new foods to try at the fair this year, but State Fair officials, for their contest, pick a handful they believe will most likely elicit talk around the water cooler – and entice you to stand in line in the heat to fork over your precious coupons for a bite.
Along with the Deep Fried Latte, this year's entrees include four more fried desserts, an ode to the humble Frito pie and chips 'n' dip all rolled into one tiny package.
Still, can anything rival last year's fair frenzy – when one of the new foods was copied at fairs coast to coast, featured on morning television and became the butt of jokes for late-night comedians?
"I'm not sure we have another Fried Coke," Mr. Black said.
Even its creator, concessionaire Able Gonzales Jr., questions if he will ever invent an equal to his deep-fried soda pop.
"I don't think I be able to beat that type of excitement again," he said. "That was crazy."
Still, he's proud of this year's creation, Fried Cookie Dough.
It's chilled cookie dough that's battered and fried. He's going to make an "everything" cookie dough with chocolate chips, coconut and pecans, but he might also offer oatmeal raisin and plain chocolate chip versions.
Concessionaire Allan Weiss is following up last year's underground hit, Fried Avocadoes – it was a favorite among the fair staff – with this year's Zesty Fried Guacamole Bites.
It's a scoop of guac, breaded, fried and served with ranch dressings or salsa.
"The Fried Avocado went over so well, and I think people like guacamole even more than they like avocado," Mr. Weiss said.
Although past Big Tex awards have offered nonfried options, none of this year's entries have escaped the fryer. But only one of the entries is on a stick, a favorite utensil among ambulating fairgoers because it makes food easy to eat on the go.
Country Pride Peach Cobbler on a Stick is a peach cobbler with dumplings rolled in pastry dough and fried. The whole thing is covered in brown sugar and cinnamon and skewered.
"I'm a food engineer," said Cobbler on a Stick inventor Gigi White. "You really got to work it."
Off the stick will be Fernie's Fried Chili Frito Burrito. It's chili and Fritos wrapped in a flour tortilla that's fried and topped with various adornments of your choice, including cheese sauce, shredded cheddar, jalapeños, sour cream, hot sauce and onions.
"Some people might like it plain," said concessionaire Christi Erpillo, whose family operates The Dock in the Embarcadero Building. "It tastes great just as it is."
B.W.'s Original Fried Banana Pudding also uses a fried tortilla as its casing. Inside is banana pudding, and the whole thing is topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar or cinnamon.
The recipe belongs to B.W. Morrow, a longtime fair food vendor who died of a heart attack this year. His sister decided to enter the recipe in the contest to honor him.
"I want to win this for him," said Debbie Hays.
The final entry is Mama's Fried Sweet Potato Pie, which is pie filling stuffed in a flour tortilla and deep fried. It's topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon.
Concessionaire Brent Reaves said the pie filling is his great-grandmother's recipe, and it's tasty.