10 Blue-Ribbon-Winning State Fair Recipes Slideshow
Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread Recipe
From its humble beginnings in 1869 as a horse exhibition with approximately 2,000 attendees, the Colorado State Fair has grown into the largest summer event in the state. During the weeklong extravaganza, the fair hosts amazing livestock auctions, carnival rides, and major musical guests. Its primary goal, however, is to educate and excite attendees about agricultural affairs. And what better way to pay homage than with a recipe that celebrates the bounty of several harvests?
Mike Milosavich won the Fleischmann’s Yeast "Sensational Sandwich Bread" contest with his now nationally recognized Bacon and Sun-Dried Tomato Bread. This recipe will forever change the way you do BLT’s, and will bring some truly authentic Colorado cooking into your kitchen.
Broccoli Rockets Recipe
While the fair has been around for some time, the folks in charge of the San Diego County Fair know a thing or two about rolling with the times. The event appeals to trendy bacon lovers with its Bacon Exhibit, sci-fi fans with a Star Trek Exhibit, and even history buffs with its Courage to Remember: The Holocaust Exhibit. They even found a person that makes vegetables cool.
Home cook Michelle Vicari took simple ingredients and made art. The floured and fried broccoli florets are a uniquely crunchy way to enjoy this common dinner table vegetable.
Caramel Rolls Recipe
It’s easy to get starstruck when you make a trip to the Iowa State Fair. After all, "America's Classic State Fair" didn't get its reputation from being boring. The fair’s exhibitions of everything from cattle to pies have inspired three movies, one novel, and a Broadway musical. As if that weren't enough reason to head down to Des Moines, the fair boasts amazing family attractions, including a sculpture of a cow made entirely of butter.
What a segue, as this next award-winning recipe by Lana Ross almost entirely consists of butter, too. OK, maybe not all butter, but this recipe took Tone's Best Cinnamon Roll competition to a new level, blending the flavors of oozing caramel, fluffy rolls, and mashed potatoes. Try this unique recipe in your own kitchen and discover flavor like you've never experienced before.
Berry Chocolaty Fun Recipe
The history of the California State Fair is truly a golden story. After the Gold Rush, many Californians were concerned with building the state's reputation. It was suggested that they focus on agriculture, and the result amounted to the first fair held in San Francisco. Today the fair has found a permanent home, but the event itself is always evolving. By booking the hottest bands and building expert exhibitions, the fair offers families a place to let their hair down and fill up their stomachs.
One way to bring a little West Coast love into your home is to make 23-year-old grad student Lauren Kramp's Berry Chocolaty Fun, winner of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Championship. Kramp was inspired by her family's ganache recipe and freshly picked berries, and this recipe perfectly captures the essence of a summer day in one bite.
Mini Maple SPAM Donuts Recipe
Sure, the Washington State Fair has tons of things for visitors to do — from rodeos to rides and games for the whole family — but what people flock to is the fabulous food. Each dish is a celebration of culture, including ethnic ones like traditional German plates, or old standbys, like its renowned corn dog. Of course, there are tons of chances to show off your kitchen skills. That’s exactly what home cook and aircraft mechanic Jason Munson did when he won the Great American SPAM Championship.
The winning recipe demonstrates the power behind the combination of sweet, savory, and the unusual. Munson's Mini Maple SPAM Donuts are fried SPAM rings coated in a buttermilk batter, glazed with a maple icing, and garnished with diced SPAM bites. Whip up this dessert in your home and astound your guests when you reveal the secret ingredient.
German Chocolate Ring Recipe
New Jersey has a ton of cultural flair, as exhibited at the Jersey Shore and, of course, the New Jersey State Fair. The fair aims to promote agricultural education and raise money for charitable causes that affect New Jersey residents across the state. But the best thing to come out of the state is this blue ribbon recipe.
Dawn Dembrowski took home the blue ribbon (and eventually the national prize) at the New Jersey State Fair’s Fleischmann’s Yeast Baking Contest for her take on a German chocolate cake. She used traditional ingredients like chocolate, coconut flakes, and pecans to create this delicious dessert bread that you can easily craft at home.
Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate Splash Cake Recipe
Like many state fairs, the Minnesota State Fair extravaganza has deep roots in agricultural prosperity, promotion, and education. However, there are not many state fairs with the bragging rights that Minnesota has. At the fair, experience everything from typical carnival rides to the miracle of life in the CHS Miracle of Birth Center, which brings 200 calves, lambs, and piglets into the world during the fair’s 12-day run. It isn't every day that you have a choice of 450 menu items from 300 different vendors, with more than 60 of them offering finds like deep-fried candy bars on sticks.
Lisa Silmser's cake is another original hailing from the Minnesota State Fair. After her batter "splashed" a mess in the kitchen, she decided wild chocolate decorations should commemorate the "disaster" with a Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate Splash Cake. This decadent dish proudly features with three types of chocolate, which she makes so eye-catching with her decorating skills using a bull's-eye of milk and white chocolate and spreading it out with a knife.
Salted-Caramel-Peanut Butter Pie Recipe
While Arkansas is known for its Little Rock, there certainly is nothing small about the annual state fair. Competitors flock to flaunt their skills in everything from flower arrangements to needle work. But what blows everyone away are the amazing dishes that come out of the fair, and this blue-ribbon-winning recipe is no exception.
Christie Burns’ Salted Caramel-Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pie stole the show at the Arkansas State Fair’s Pillsbury Pie Crust Pie Baking Championship. This dessert artfully blends the sweet, creamy taste of peanut butter with the savory flavor of salted caramel, and it melts in your mouth. Plus, it’s easy to make!
State Fair Apple Lollipops Recipe
If perseverance is key, then the Vermont State Fair has a long, happy rode ahead of it. The fair has survived wars, famine, and job loss and still reigns as one of the top attractions in the Northeast 168 years later.
This winning recipe is a tradition in the making: Rhonda Tebeau won a Canola Oil "Fry It for the Fair" Contest in Vermont (Champlain Valley Fair) with her State Fair Apple Lollipops. Not your average sucker, these pops are pancake batter-based and up for alteration as you add or subtract your favorite filling ingredients.
Super Sour Novas Recipe
North Carolina farmers battled over-cultivation and ill-bred animals before the Civil War, and many felt it was a time for a radical change. Most farmers at that time were illiterate, so the few agricultural journals that existed made little impact. Journal editor Dr. John F. Tompkins had the biggest influence on North Carolina agriculture not with words, but with actions. He orchestrated a meeting in Raleigh to discuss better farming methods and re-established the North Carolina State Agricultural Society. The annual meeting slowly grew into a social event where farmers constructed buildings for exhibits and a racetrack. Today, we know this pivotal event as the North Carolina State Fair, where Raleigh residents (plus a few thousand more) celebrate agriculture through flea markets, crafts and, of course, food.
Margalit Mermelstein knows the meaning of true tradition: She has been competing at the North Carolina State Fair since she was 5 years old. Her Super Sour Super Nova, a star-shaped sugar cookie drizzled with sour icing, dipped in Pop Rocks candies, and served on a stick won her a blue ribbon for the Karo Syrup Cookie Contest. You'll be happy to pucker up for these cookie pops.