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Who Will Take The Cake? Here Are The Top 10 Finalists In The Texas State Fair Food Competition

Piece of cake shaped like Texas with caramel drizzled over top and and two whipped cream dollops on either side.
Dick Patrick
/
State Fair of Texas®
One of the finalists in this year's contest is this dish called Texas Poke Cake. It's a Texas-shaped, pumpkin cake with a gooey vanilla glaze, caramel, topped with fluffy whipped cream and lightly sprinkled with "secret" spice.

More than 40 different foods entered the State Fair of Texas' annual Big Tex Choice Awards, but only three can win.

From duck dumplings to fried coffee cake, the 10 finalists for the 17th Big Tex Choice Awards offer a picture of the state — and a little something for everyone's taste buds.

Judges will choose the best savory and the best sweet dish. There will also be an award for the most creative entry.

The tangy selections include fried seafood gumbo balls, crispy crazy corn and the deep fried I-35 — a fried kolache topped with smoked brisket and a Dr. Pepper BBQ glaze.

On the sweeter side, finalists include brisket brittle, Texas pumpkin poke cake and the armadillo — a cookie butter ice cream sandwich.

A panel of celebrity judges will award the best dishes based on on creativity, presentation and taste. The winners will be crowned Aug. 29.

Here's a look at the 10 finalists:

Deep-Fried Halloween, Isaac Rousso

Pretzel drizzled with icing, topped with colorful candy that has a Oreo cookie and other chocolate candy sticking out.
State Fair of Texas®
/
This trick-or-treat experience starts with a chewy pretzel that's deep fried and bathed it in candy corn syrup, followed by rainbow sprinkles and powdered sugar. Then it's piped with orange and white buttercream frosting and stacked with some favorite Halloween candies. Finished with a marshmallow whipped cream and a drizzle of chocolate and caramel sauce.

Crispy Crazy Corn, Ruth Hauntz

Crispy Crazy Corn
State Fair of Texas®
/
Sweet whole kernel corn is individually battered, fried and dashed with a "secret seasoning." These crispy gold nuggets are then topped with slowed-smoked pulled pork, a tangy pineapple slaw, a drizzle of freshly made jalapeño crema and a generous sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

The Armadillo, James Barrera

The Armadillo
State Fair of Texas®
/
A cookie butter ice cream sandwich with made-from-scratch cookie butter semifreddo – an Italian take on ice cream. The treat is drizzled with cookie butter and sandwiched between two deep fried Armadillo-shaped cookies that are made with a branding iron. Finally, it is dusted with buttery sugar.

Pork Shots, Glen & Sherri Kusak At Hans Mueller

Pork Shots
State Fair of Texas®
/
This fair food starts with smoked sausage wrapped with with hickory smoked bacon and filled with creamy mac and cheese. It's then sprinkled with a "secret, sweet and spicy" BBQ rub.

Brisket Brittle, Ruth Hauntz

Brisket Brittle
State Fair of Texas®
/
The buttery, crunchy, sweetness of old-fashion peanut brittle — but replace the peanuts with smoky Texas brisket. This sweet yet savory treat finishes with a hint of heat.

Lucky Duck Dumplin, Bert Concessions

Lucky Duck Dumplin'
State Fair of Texas®
/
A pastry filled with cream cheese, blended with duck bacon and delicately roasted sweet corn, with a sprinkling of herbs and spices, then they're deep fried until golden-brown and crispy. Three Lucky Duck Dumplins are served alongside a "sweet and gently spicy" Thai chili glaze.

Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake, Winter Family Concessions

Fernie’s Fried Toffee Coffee Crunch Cake
Dick Patrick
/
Lightly glazed, old fashioned cake donuts broken into chunks and mixed with buttery baking morsels, English toffee, crunchy almonds and a custard. The cakes are dipped in an egg product and covered in panko and vanilla cookie crumbs, then fried to a golden brown. It's served with powdered sugar, toffee bits and a dollop of mocha coffee whipped cream.

Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls, Gourmet Royale

Deep Fried Seafood Gumbo Balls
State Fair of Texas®
/
Using a family recipe that has been handed down four generations, the balls are loaded with Gulf Coast shrimp, stewed chicken, blue crab meat and andouille sausage. Then they're rolled in a saltine cracker and breadcrumb batter and fried. Served with a side of dark gumbo roux sauce for dipping and topped with chicken fried okra spears.

Texas Pumpkin Poke Cake, Michelle Edwards

Piece of cake shaped like Texas with caramel drizzled over top and and two whipped cream dollops on either side.
State Fair of Texas®
/
State Fair of Texas®
A Texas-shaped, pumpkin cake with a gooey vanilla glaze, caramel, topped with fluffy whipped cream and lightly sprinkled with secret spice.

Deep Fried I-35, Clint and Gretchen Probst

Deep Fried I-35
State Fair of Texas®
/
Kolache dough is fried and topped with smoked beef brisket and a homemade BBQ glaze made with peach juice and Dr. Pepper. It's garnished with sliced peaches and a sprinkle of powdered sugar.

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Got a tip? Email Rebekah Morr at rmorr@kera.org. You can follow her on Twitter @bekah_morr.