Preparations Begin Early for Bakers Entering State Fair Cooking Competitions

August 19, 2016 09:19 AM

The Great Minnesota Get-Together is just one week away.

To get ready, KSTP's Lindsey Brown got a sneak peek at one of the favorite events for dessert lovers: the Blue Ribbon Baking Competition.


She met with two bakers to see how much work they put into the competition weeks before judging takes place. 

Lynsay Benson of Minnetonka is trying out one of her family favorites that she's finally submitting for judging. She thinks her gingerbread s’mores in cookie form will be a hit with the judges. They are so good that her family makes them every Christmas. 

Benson's kitchen is a walk through kitchens of the past. She loves all things vintage and uses as many vintage cooking utensils as she can find, including her lovely apron. The vintage theme continues through her recipe. Her gingerbread s'mores are a twist on a classic favorite, loaded with marshmallows and chocolate, but all in a cookie. She says her family loves them. 

"It also kind of reminds me of being in Minnesota, too, because Minnesota is so campfire-outdoorsy; it's a Minnesota s'more," Benson said. "I am a huge fair person. I love the fair; I go several times a year."

We also met Kim Mueller in her Shakopee kitchen. She already had her pie crust ready for her beautiful patriotic berry pie. It's a beauty of a pie made with strawberries and blueberries and topped with golden baked stars. She usually serves it with ice cream.

Mueller has her fair ribbons hanging around the house for inspiration. She's won blue ribbons for jelly, pickles and baking but has the competitive cooking bug and can't stop. For her, planning starts very early. 

"About 15 minutes after the contest is over, you start thinking about it," she said. "You see what the entries were, where you think you can do well."

Mueller makes her pie crust ahead of time, but day-of she cuts out the golden pie crust stars and mixes her berries. Once done, it looks like a golden brown work of art topped with stars. Along with her patriotic pie, Mueller is submitting about 40 additional entries. 

"I'm excited. I'm a little worried," she said. "I've never gotten that many entries to the fair. Because you are doing so many, I don't think I'm going to be sleeping."

Benson is also submitting multiple entries. Her first blue ribbon was for a face mask she entered in the arts and crafts category. 

Both women will be handing over their entries Saturday, Aug. 20.


Lindsey Brown

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