State Fair Food

All posts tagged State Fair Food

Source: LINDA MASTERS – Baxter Bulletin

Fair food has changed. In times past, a mention of going to the fair conjured up visions of corn dogs, cotton candy and funnel cakes. These days, fair food has changed into anything that can cooked in a vat of oil — deep-fried Oreos, deep-fried Twinkies, deep-fried pickles, deep-fried Coca-Cola, deep-fried Snickers, deep-fried strawberries and chicken-fried bacon — or anything you can eat off a stick.

New and innovative fair food seems to debut at state fairs before making the rounds at county fairs. The winner of this year’s Big Tex Choice Awards at the State Fair of Texas is none other than artery-clogging, calorie-ridden, deep-fried butter. Yes folks, you read that correctly, deep-fried butter, so you can look for that to arrive at the county fair next year. In the interest of health, I will skip that recipe.

Here are a few recipes — some new, some old, some healthy, some not — so you can enjoy the flavors of the fair throughout the year:

Caramel Apples

A new product, Kraft Caramel Bits, takes the tedious task of unwrapping caramels out of making caramel apples and really speeds up the process.

  1. 11-ounce package Kraft Caramel Bits
  2. 2 tablespoons water
  3. 6 large apples (I used Paula Reds)
  4. 6 wooden sticks
  5. 3/4 cup crushed peanuts
  6. 7-ounce tub Baker’s Milk Chocolate Dipping Chocolate
  7. Assorted sprinkles

Combine caramel bits and water; heat over low heat, stirring until smooth.

Be sure apples are room temperature and dry. Insert wooden sticks into apples. Holding each apple by the stick, swirl in the caramel to coat. Allow excess to drip off. Dip in crushed peanuts, if desired, and place on waxed paper. Allow caramel to set.

If decorating with chocolate, skip dipping in the peanuts and place apples on waxed paper to allow caramel to set. Follow directions on dipping chocolate to melt in the microwave. With a fork, drizzle chocolate over apples. Before chocolate hardens, add assorted sprinkles.

Makes 6.

Chocolate-Covered Bacon

This tidbit originated at Famous Dave’s at the Minnesota State Fair. A treat called Pig Lickers sounds weird, but the salty bacon marries perfectly with velvety, smooth chocolate to create a very unusual delicacy.

  1. 1 pound bacon
  2. 7-ounce tub Baker’s Milk Chocolate Dipping Chocolate

Cook bacon crisply by your favorite method — I like to use the microwave because the bacon stays flat. Crispness is the key, so make sure the bacon is crisp. Drain well and cool.

Follow directions on dipping chocolate to melt in the microwave.

Carefully dip half of each piece of bacon into the chocolate. Transfer to waxed paper to allow chocolate to harden before serving.

You also can pop it in the freezer for a few minutes and serve cold.

Corn on a Stick

Following the introduction of the corn dog, people learned to love the convenience of eating food on a stick. This is really easy, and children love it. For safety sake, nip off the sharp end of each wooden skewer once you have impaled the corn. Try it at your next picnic or cookout.

  1. Fresh corn on the cob
  2. Butter
  3. Mrs. Dash Table Blend
  4. Paprika or smoked paprika

Husk and de-silk the corn. Cut or break each ear in half. Cook according to your favorite method. I like to wrap each piece of corn in a damp paper towel and microwave 1-2 minutes.

Once the corn is cooked, using an oven mitt hold the corn and push a skewer through the middle. Butter the corn and sprinkle with Mrs. Dash Table Blend and either paprika or smoked paprika.

Serve at once on skewers.

Deep-Fried Dill Pickles

Deep-fried pickles combines the flavors of savory and salty. Give them a try; they are surprisingly good.

  1. 8-ounce jar sliced dill pickles, drained
  2. Vegetable oil, for frying
  3. Coating:
  4. 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  5. 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  6. 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  7. 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  8. 1 teaspoon paprika
  9. 3/4 teaspoon cumin
  10. 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  11. 3/4 teaspoon sugar
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

Heat at least 3 inches of oil in a deep saucepan to 350 degrees.

Combine coating ingredients. Toss a handful of pickles in the flour mixture and coat well. Shake the pickles to remove loose coating and transfer to the hot oil. Fry until the coating is golden and crispy, 3-4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pickles to a paper towels to drain. Continue frying pickles in small batches. If you crowd the pickles, they will stick to each other. Also, too many pickles will lower the temperature of the oil and create pickles that are greasy.

Serve with ranch dip.

Serves 6-8.

Apple Fritters

The Methodist church serves apple fritters at a huge 2-day fall festival in my hometown in Illinois. You have to get your apple fritters early each day before they sell out.

  1. 4 large apples, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch thick slices
  2. 1/2 cup vegetable oil for deep-frying
  3. Rum or lemon juice


  1. 1 tablespoon sugar
  2. 3 eggs, separated
  3. 1 cup all-purpose flour
  4. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  5. 1/2 cup beer
  6. Confectioners’ sugar

In a large bowl, mix egg yolks, flour, sugar and salt until combined but not smooth. Mix in beer until batter is smooth. Set aside and allow batter to rest one hour. Beat egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the batter.

Just before you are ready to serve, slice apples into 1/2-inch slices. Sprinkle with rum or lemon juice. Heat oil to 375 degrees. Dip apple slices into the batter and fry in hot oil until golden brown, about four minutes per side. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar or serve with warm honey.

Serves 4-6.

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State fair season is beginning and, for many, that means one thing: food. Lots and lots of food, often deep fried, on a stick or deep fried and on a stick.

Can you say fried pineapple on a stick? Or pork chop on a stick? Or, even more perplexing, salad on a stick? Then there’s deep-fried Milky Way bar on a stick, meatball on a stick, cheesecake on a stick, fried peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a stick and don’t forget about the fried pickle on a stick.

It seems like everything at the fair just tastes better on a stick.

Click Here for Photos of State Fair Food Favorites

Fair-goers from Iowa to Texas to Minnesota marvel each year at the various concoctions, returning to old favorites and trying new treats.

This year at the 158th Wisconsin State Fair, for instance, all the hype is about chocolate-covered bacon.

It has been a runaway hit, selling 7,000 slices — unexpectedly — in the first day of the fair Thursday. Teams now are working through the night to ensure that there is enough bacon for the fair with nearly 100,000 slices expected to be sold by the end of the 10-day event.

“You get a little bit of the sweet and you get a little bit of the saltiness. So you mix those two loves together and that’s where chocolate bacon came from,” said Jessica Deeg of The Machine Shed restaurant in Pewaukee, Wis., the maker of the treat. “It’s a craze around here and it’s awesome.”

Oh, and in case you were wondering, yes, it is served on a stick.

So what are the top foods at this year’s fairs? ABC News scoured the country and came up with our own list of top favorites. Feel free to add your favorites to the comment section below.

1. Caramel Apples

2. Belgian Waffle on a stick

3. Deep-Fried Oreo Cookies

4. Corn Dogs

5. Frozen Coffee On a Stick

6. Cotton Candy

7. Funnel Cake

8. Fried Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

9. Deep-Fried Norwegian Banana Split

10. Open-Faced Grilled Spam Sandwich

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