Growing up in the midwest, I looked forward to the fair all summer long, knowing that it was a great way to kick off the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year.
Much to my surprise here in Texas, the county fair is run a bit differently. There are no carnival rides, but instead, everything focuses on the students who enter county fair events – from show cows to show pigs and chickens, and especially wonderful recipes.
As a Family and Consumer Science teacher, which many people still call Home Economics, I am in charge of the recipe area. Some of the categories we have include bread, jams and preserved foods, two categories of cakes (decorative and edible), cookies, and candies.
I figured I would share some recipes from each category, breaking this blog post down into a few different posts. Today's post focuses on Cookies and Candies.
Award Winning Cookie and Candy Recipes – Cookies
1. Dishpan Cookies
I'm fully convinced that this recipe came about from someone just throwing things together. That being said, it turned out perfectly and is now being shared by Debbie Quimby over at Just a Pinch.
Debbie commented that the best part was you get “Sweet, savory, and chewy” and with ingredients such as pecans and cereal, she is absolutely right. Sounds like an award winner to me.
2. Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies
You know it's great when you can take a traditional cookie that will leave the judges wondering what makes it so special until they taste it. Soft and cake-like this one uses traditional ingredients in just the right way.
Caryn over at Genius Kitchen came up with this melt-in-your-mouth cookie that reminds us of the delicious chocolate chip cookie we have all grown to know and love.
3. Carrot Cake Cookies
Any time you make a cookie and add icing to it, you know it's a winner. After all, we eat with our eyes first and many people have eyes that say, “Ooohhhh, icing, yum!”
For our fair, I think this would be a good one as well because we are just past the Christmas holidays and are all aching for a bit of spring. The added benefit is that carrots can be bought at the Farmers Market this time of year in Texas, so you can have some fresh ingredients.
To see the full recipe, check out the post over at Taste of Home.
4. Cookies and Cream
Dare I say, a cookie within a cookie! This one has already won because it combines one thing we all love and does it two different ways.
She uses pudding mix in the recipe to give you the cookies and cream portion and also adds in Cookies and Cream bars by Hershey which is one of my family's favorites. She doubled up on the cookies and cream which means it's double the goodness!
This recipe comes from Megan over at Just Dandy.
5. Strawberry Lilies
The cookies are soft, made with cream cheese and the strawberry jelly poking out of the top makes it that much more beautiful.
If we make them next year, I am going to have my students fold the cookies to look like envelopes and call the cookies “Love notes”.
I like the fact that this recipe has already been a winner. Back in 2013, Anna Witt won the Colorado State Fair with it! The recipe is found over at the Denver Post.
6. Texas Sheet Cake Cookies
I chose this one because it did win at the Johnson County Fair this year. I can understand why because I love Texas sheet cake and it represents what we stand for to some extent. I am putting this one in a future show file but will not be pulling it out for next year.
This recipe comes from Cookies and Cups.
7. Monster Cookies
I think if we do this, one I might add a few more ingredients and call it trail mix cookies since it already has M&Ms and raisins in them.
I love the fact that we can take recipes and make them our own. That's the thing about the fair. I had one winner out of twelve entries and am not upset because they and I had fun, we found good recipes, enjoyed ourselves in the kitchen and made sure we could eat some ourselves.
If you don't enjoy and don't have to do it, don't. Live a happy life. And try some of these cookies.
This won in Minnesota and the recipe can be found over at State Fair Recipes.
8. Turtle Thumbprint Cookies
I love traditional turtle recipes with the caramel, nuts, and chocolate. Turning them into a cookie is a great idea, similar to that of the Texas sheet cake. Yep, it's going in the file and I hope a student decides to pick it next year!
This thumbprint cookie comes from Handle the Heat.
9. Mississippi Mud Cookies
So, we are stuck on the chocolate and nuts. But some homemade marshmallows (if you're feeling extra adventurous) would make a delicious cookie for all to love.
This recipe can be found over at A Dash of Sanity.
10. Blueberry Cheesecake Macarons
I am ninety-nine percent sure that someone will be making macarons next year. You know why? Because I have several classes that asks to make them on a regular basis.
There are so many great varieties of macarons to chose from but I chose the blueberry version because it has a fresh taste to it that so many of the judges' palates are going to need after tasting all that sweet stuff.
This recipe is found at Tatyana's Everyday Food.
11. Award Winning S'mores Cookies
In case I haven't already told you, which I am pretty sure I have, I love S'mores. It's a rare food that can be eaten year round.
Yet having a recipe that can take the judges back to a favorite memory that involves food, from camping to hayrides makes for a winner.
This recipe can be found at The Cooking Photographer.
12. Puppy Chow Cookies
Like the recipe before it, I sure hope everyone remembers their first bite of puppy chow. I know I do! My neighbor across the street who watched my brother occasionally gave us a bag that I gobbled up.
Likewise, I am looking forward to making this recipe, which is found at What Megan's Making, and watching the judges gobble them up.
Award Winning Cookie and Candy Recipes – Candies
13. County Fair Blue Ribbon Fudge
Chocolate and walnut fudge. I am sure most people would be all over it as the fudge combines salty and sweet. Check out this recipe over at CD Kitchen.
14. Salted Caramel Butter Bars
Sticking with the salty and sweet, this butter bar is sure to be a winner not only because it tastes good but also because it is stunning to look at with the different layers.
This delicious recipe comes from Cookies & Cups.
15. Orange Creamsicle Patties
Orange creamsicles are one of my oldest daughter's favorite ice cream bars to eat. This is why I am letting her make the cookies and putting them in the junior category next year at the fair. If the judges have the same passion for the flavor as my daughter and see the beauty in the inside of this recipe, she is sure to win.
To check out the recipe for your self head over to The Spruce and see just exactly how Elizabeth LaBau whipped it up.
16. Chocolate Cabernet Truffles
I was a bit taken aback when I found out that my students can use alcohol in their recipes. Wine jelly has won at our compeitions before; therefore, I think this recipe would do quite well and it already has my mouth watering.
Special thanks to Jessica who came up with this deliciousness, which can be found at How Sweet Eats.
17. Cake Pops
I had to find a cake pop recipe that used regular cake and not a cake mix. I, sadly, had a student disqualified because she made a red velvet cake pop with cookies and cream white chocolate but used a cake mix. I just thought with those flavors and the disco dust (aka. edible glitter) she was sure to win!
So, always make from scratch and use this recipe that comes from Posh in Progress.
P.S. Still looking for that chocolate she used to coat it with!
18. Butter Toffee Candy Bar Shots
I love, love, love, this one because it's ooey and different. I saved it and again, hope that a student uses it next year. I was worried at first that it had a drink inside of the chocolate cup but found out it is soft caramel. Getting to eat this would be a treat for any judge, I am sure.
This recipe can be found over at Sprinkle Bakes who by the way, is full of good information if you are looking for a candy recipe!
19. Red, White, and Blue Raspberry Candy Bars
I am in love with these colors. The blue raspberry and chocolate combination along with the colors of the American flag are a sure fire way to win with anyone who is proud of their American heritage.
These cute bars can be found over at Cherry Tea Cakes.
20. Homemade Cow Tales
If you have never had a cow tail, don't make these just yet. Instead, head to your nearest grocery store and pick some up. You have to taste the real thing first to get a true appreciation for what you are making.
We will have this on our list for next year but I will be making these at some point this week. It didn't take long for me to fall-in-love with this recipe, which can be found over at Food52.
21. The BEST Cream Cheese Mints
The first wedding I remember going to as a child, they had mints similar to this and I ate until my stomach hurt. Hey, I was a kid who didn't know how much of a foodie I really was. I just knew that I loved the melt-in-your mouth flavor.
To see for yourself make these mints that Trish wrote the recipe up for, and it can be found at this site..
22. Slow Cooker Cinnamon Pecan Candy
My sister made these for my husband a few years ago for Christmas. I promptly ate the majority of them and decided I needed to learn her recipe.
I hope the judges prefer this sweet treat as well. Sadly, most of my time for fair projects gets taken up with decorated cakes (which I will explain ways I have found to make this easier in a future post) so having a crockpot recipe is an advantage I plan to take full use of.
This recipe can be found over at Dinner Then Dessert.
23. Candied Orange Slices
Looking for something fresh that reminds the judges of both Texas and the winter months, these chocolate-covered orange candies are sure to win the judges over.
They are beautiful looking as well with the stained glass look of the oranges. Check out all the details of the orange slices over at Tastemade.
24. Buttercream Truffles
Buttercream is deliciously tart and combined with some darker chocolate would make a great truffle recipe. The color differentiation is a nice contrast as well. I don't know if we will use the dark sprinkles though. I want to play around with the look of this recipe before we enter it.
These truffles were created by Aimee over at Shugary Sweets.
25. Homemade Ferrero Rocher Nutella Truffles
Nutella? Ferrero Rocher candy copy cat? That should be enough said. I am sure this recipe is a winner with both you and the judges.
If you love this candy as much as I do, the recipe can be found over at Thrifty DIY Diva.
I hope you enjoyed going through the list from candied pecans to macarons, these are some of the best recipes that are sure to win people over and could even give you that blue ribbon at the fair! Make sure to check out my post on Award-winning Breads and Jams and stay tuned for my post on Blue Ribbon Cakes- both flavor and decorated.