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Kansas State Fair 2012 part 2: How I fared at the fair

First off, let me come right out with it and tell you that despite my quest to beat my baking nemesis in the banana bread competition this  year, my banana bread did not place at all.  Aw, don’t cry for me, Argentina, I promise it’s all good. :)  I’ll share more about that later, in part 5 of this State Fair series.  (I have so much to share about this experience that there will be a post every day this week for a change!)

I also did not place for the pies, which was no surprise.  I was reading the judges lips as well as I could and for the cherry, I saw the word “burnt.” LOL!  They only took a teensy bite of my burnt up cherry pie, but they really took a lot of bites of the triple berry and did a lot of head-nodding.  I think it might have been a contender if it hadn’t been for the fallen-off crust.  So I still have yet to place at all with pie, but maybe next year will be my year.

So let’s get to the winning entries, shall we?

Blue Ribbons:

My Sugarless Sugar Cookies (AKA “Snot Sauce Cookies”) may not have placed, but my regular Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies got a blue ribbon!  And it was my own recipe, yo!  I have to say this was fairly shocking.  I really didn’t expect this blue, or that I’d place at all.  This is a different recipe than I won 2nd with two years ago, and I never did get around to sharing that one, so I’ll probably just share this one instead since it ranked higher! Exciting!

The Kansas Honey Producers have their own set of baking contests for honey-sweetened baked goods.  There are two cool things about winning these contests: the ribbons are prettier, and they pay more! :)  I won a blue ribbon for Honey-Coconut Macaroons.  I was really hopeful for these because most honey cookies have a cloying honey taste, but these were very nice and delicate in flavor.  I was very happy that they did so well.

I was so excited to see I got a blue for my Raspberry Almond Fudge Cookies in the “Extra-Special Chocolate Cookies” category that I couldn’t internalize it.  I started jumping up and down and jabbing at the glass and saying, “Dennis!  Dennis!  Dennis!”  I couldn’t even formulate the words to express that I’d won and for what, he had to come over to figure it out for himself.  haha!  The coolest thing about winning this is that I beat another big-time contestant, a lady I’ll call DP.  To give you an idea of her baking prowess, several years ago she not only won the Pillsbury Pie Contest in KS, but also won nationwide out of all state fair entries that year!  You can see her chocolate whoopie pie behind my cookie.  When I saw those after entering my goodies, I just knew they were going to win, and that was before I even knew that DP made them.  Well, I’m glad I was wrong! :)

You guys!!!  I’m sorry for all the exclamation points but in this case, any I use are still inadequate to express my excitement.  <hyperventilating> OK, not only did I win first place for my carrot cake this year (a new recipe, which means I’ll have a third carrot cake recipe to share on my blog! But you can never have enough carrot cake, right?), but I also won Sweepstakes!! Sweepstakes!!  *breathe, just breathe* That means that not only did the judges think my cake was the best carrot cake, but the best of all the cakes entered at the fair this year.  Just look at that beautiful purple ribbon.  I could die.  You guys know that cake is my biggest passion and what I like baking most, so it was so gratifying to get this award.  I’m in shock.  I’ve never gotten this award before, I’m just so thrilled!

Red Ribbons

My Chai Snickerdoodles!  I have to admit, I was hopeful for a blue with these since they’re just so cool (I can say that because I didn’t think of the idea-lol), but 2nd place ain’t too shabby.  I have reader Amber S. to thank for this idea–she sent me some Chai Snickerdoodles for last year’s cookie swap, and while I used my own recipe based off the idea, I wouldn’t have thought of it without her help!

Hey Joanne, do these look familiar?  I won second for my version of your Snickerdoodle Biscoff Sandwich Cookies in the “Extra Special Non-Chocolate Cookies” contest!  Thank you for the wonderful idea!

They had a new category for cakes this year-chocolate sponge cake.  There usually isn’t a chocolate category because they reserve that for the King Arthur Chocolate Cake Contest, which is a special contest that is turned in and judged on the same day during the fair.  But I bet the judges were really wanting something new after so many years of the same cakes, and I’m glad they decided on a chocolate cake because I have never been able to go on the day they have the KA chocolate cake contest and I have wanted to so badly the last three years.  Anyway, I made a chocolate version of a Victoria sponge cake, which has added fat in it–butter in this case (but of course).  The cake I trimmed off the top tasted a little funny, probably because I used some really old self-rising flour for the recipe (I was in one of those desperate states where I ran out of ingredients but didn’t want to go to the store) but I guess my frosting saved it from being awful. Yay for 2nd place!

I tried a new Pineapple Upside Down Cake recipe this year but my rank stayed the same.  But that’s OK because guess who got 3rd? My banana bread nemesis! Bwahaha! ;)  Last year she got first, so I gloated a little but am trying to keep the gloating to a minimum so I don’t jinx myself for next year.

White ribbons:

My sour cream pound cake just goes to show you can’t always judge a book by its cover.  Trust me, this ugly pound cake is some velvety soft, delicious lovliness.  If I’d baked it in a bundt pan like the recipe says, it would have been a lot prettier.  But for some reason I thought it wasn’t allowed.  Well, as you can see by the bundt-shaped pound cake to the left, apparently it is allowed. Good to know for next year!

Nope, that isn’t my peanut butter cookie but I had to share this with Amanda, who won third place for it.  (She found my blog yesterday while trying to find the state fair results!  I thought that was so cool.)  I met her in line while we were waiting to submit our entries, and got to chatting.  I was so rooting for her because this was her very first year entering the fair contests, so I searched for her cookies as soon as I was done searching for my own and did another squeal when I saw her name with a ribbon.  Amanda, my first year I entered three things too and only got a single 3rd place ribbon as well, and it was for a cookie too, so I really hope this makes you excited enough to enter for next year!!  Congrats, girl, I’m just thrilled for you!

Remember my embarrassingly short loaf of bread machine bread? Well, there you go.  I’m so glad I didn’t just throw it out!  I guess you never know, right?  The recipe I used was Honey Oatmeal Bread, adapted for the bread machine.  We did keep the first one and it is very delicious, just a lot more dense than it should be.  Maybe next year I’ll get it to rise properly…and then it won’t place at all! haha

The Gluten-Free Cookies contestants have stepped up their game and I’m going to have to step up my own next year! I placed first with these Almond Fudge Cookies in this category for the last two years, but only got third this year.  That’s one cool thing about the fair competitions, they make me always try to do better.

Now what about that oatmeal candy, you may ask?  Well, I have a whole post about that one.  Hope you aren’t fair-ed out and will come back tomorrow to check out that story!

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