Love to Bake? Enter a State Fair Contest!
If you answered "yes" to those questions, why not test your skills in a state fair baking contest?
For more than 25 years, C&H Sugar has sponsored state fair competitions in states from California to Iowa. These contests are a fun way to share your love of baking and to participate in a beloved American tradition. And don't forget the thrill of victory: contest winners may receive recognition, ribbons, C&H coupons, and even cash prizes!
It's surprisingly easy to get involved. Your recipe must be original, but it need not be elaborate; some winning recipes have just four or five ingredients. Of course, if you've developed a really spectacular and challenging recipe, go ahead and show it off!
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Check the rules. Each contest has its own set of rules, so be sure to know the specifics before you enter a recipe contest. For example, some states require that your recipe be typed; others don't. We've compiled a list of all the state fairs with which C&H is involved; follow the link to your state fair to read the rules.
- Keep it simple… Many prize-winning recipes call for just a few ingredients. It's her four-ingredient icing that makes Cassie Stoneking's Iced Pumpkin Cookies a success; all it takes is C&H Pure Cane Powdered Sugar, milk, light corn syrup, almond extract, and food coloring to create this delicate glaze! Cassie, who lives in Surprise, Arizona, took first-prize honors in the 2010 Arizona State Fair.
- …or stretch yourself! In competition, sometimes it's worth taking a risk. Experiment with herbs or spices for added flavor, or use different varieties of C&H Pure Cane Sugar to see how the results differ. C&H Superfine or Baker's Sugar could substitute for Granulated, or C&H Dark Brown Sugar for Golden Brown. There's nothing to lose and only delicious results to gain!
- Make it fresh. Using fresh fruit (or even vegetables!) is a great way to use fresh flavors to your advantage. During peak season, fresh produce is abundant in grocery stores and farmers' markets, so you'll find it at a great price. Fresh produce will add flair and flavor your baked goods.
- Get trendy. Look into current baking trends for inspiration. In 2011, baking trends include "retro" desserts such as whoopie pies and other sandwich cookies and Bundt or loaf cakes. Pies continue to be very popular.
- Get inspired by previous winners. We featured additional state-fair tips, stories, and recipes in a 2006 column, "The Fairest of the Fairs." There's a good chance that they may jump-start your own baking engine!