Melony Darrough of Wabbaseka won the first-place prize for her sweet potato dumplings recipe at the first University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Sweet Potato Cooking Contest.

Five contestants entered the competition, according to a news release.

“During the competition, the contestants prepared a variety of delicious recipes using top-quality sweet potatoes grown at UAPB,” said Easter H. Tucker, interim family and consumer sciences program leader for UAPB. “In the end, it was Mrs. Darrough’s original mouth-watering recipe that most impressed the panel of four judges.”

Other participants included Juanita Webb of Monticello, second place; Jeanette Banks of Pine Bluff, third place; Vertique Galloway of Pine Bluff, fourth place; and Kumar Shrestha, a UAPB agriculture graduate student, fifth place.

Tucker said all contestants stated how much they enjoyed participating in the cook-off after the event’s conclusion. The judges said determining the best recipe was a difficult task.

This year’s winning recipes for the UAPB Sweet Potato Cooking Contest included:

1st Place winner Melony J. Darrough — Sweet Potato Dumplings recipe:

Ingredients: 2 (8 count) cans crescent rolls, 1 medium sweet potato peeled and cut like Texas fries, 1 ½ cups sugar, 1 ½ sticks butter, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup whole milk.

Directions: 1. Spray a 13 x 9 baking dish or pan with cooking spray. 2. Peel and slice sweet potato into 16 pieces. 3. Roll each sweet potato slice into one section of crescent roll. 4. Place rolled slices in pan in two rows, putting extras alongside. 5. Melt butter, add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over crescent rolls and potatoes. 6. Pour milk over all. 7. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

2nd Place winner Juanita Webb — Frosted Sweet Potato Muffin Tops recipe:

Dry Ingredients: 2 cups all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Place dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. Set aside.Wet Ingredients: 1 ½ sticks margarine, 1 cup brown sugar, well packed, 1 large egg, 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes, 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring, 1/3 cup buttermilk. Place all wet ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and process for 20-30 seconds.

Directions: Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix just until all ingredients are well incorporated. Don’t over mix. Can add 1 cup pecans and/or raising if you like. Using an ice cream scoop, put dough onto a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Makes 18 servings.

Frosting for Sweet Potato Muffin Tops — Ingredients: 4 ounces cream cheese, ½ stick butter, 1 cup cooked sweet potatoes, 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/3 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring. Directions: Place all ingredients into bowl of food processor. Process for 20-30 seconds until well blended. Spread frosting onto cooled muffin tops.

3rd Place winner Janette Banks — Honey Candied Yams recipe:

Ingredients: 3 small yams, ¼ cup honey, ½ cup water, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 tablespoon light margarine, ½ teaspoon lemon flavor. Directions: 1. Wash and peel yams. Cut in quarters, then cut into two pieces each. Rinse pieces. 2. Place yams, honey, water, nutmeg, margarine and flavor in a sauce pan and heat until boiling. 3. Turn heat down to medium, cover and let simmer until all water boils out and the sauce is syrupy.

Next year’s competition

Arkansans who want to participate in next year’s competition can select a recipe and perfect the dish by preparing it for their family and friends, according to the news release. Details of the competition will be available at or on Facebook -