Midwest Fair Favorites
Hot Dogs on a Stick
Also known as corn dogs, these state fair staples taste best when served right after cooking. Flour, dry mustard, cornmeal and sugar form the base for the batter. Be sure to pass lots of ketchup and mustard for dipping!
Grilled Behemoth Drumsticks
Many Midwest state fairs serve this portable food with a medieval twist. Brush drumsticks with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then grill to juicy perfection.
Another grilled favorite: Hearty Iowa Chops. The thick, slow-cooked chop lures many visitors to the Iowa Pork Producers tent at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.
Blended strawberry drinks always rank high with visitors to the South Dakota State Fair in Huron. Here's our version of the sweet, crimson specialty, which also is popular at other fairs.
Singular Strawberry Shortcake
Besides golden caramel corn, burgers, funnel cakes, and sweet corn, strawberry shortcake stars at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. Here's our Test Kitchen's recipe for individual-size shortcakes to try at home for a summertime treat.
This quick-fix summer soother, served at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, is a simple but refreshing blend of lemon juice, orange juice, sugar and water. Just shake and serve!
Rib Eye Sandwiches with the Works
Juicy grilled beef topped with caramelized onions makes a mouthwatering sandwich at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. Serve on split and toasted rolls with steak sauce or creamy Dijon-style mustard.
Minnesota Fudge Puppies
These waffles get their name from the fact that they're served on a stick, like corn dogs. They're a staple at the Minnesota State Fair, where Granny's Kitchen makes fresh Belgian waffles, dips them in chocolate and tops them with whipped cream and crunchy sprinkles, strawberries or candies. Our version uses frozen waffles.
Another fun fair dessert: Elephant Ears. Our version starts with frozen white bread dough and adds sugar and cinnamon.
Fruit fillings complement the sweetness of other bar cookie ingredients. Blueberry-Almond Bars was a grand champion award recipe at the Marshall County Fair's annual Blueberry Bake-A-Rama in Plymouth, Indiana. Lori Van Der Weele combined blueberries, butter, white baking pieces and almonds for this winner.
Marjorie's Chocolate Chip Cookies
Marjorie Johnson of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, won one of her 2,500 state fair ribbons with this recipe. It's also part of her cookbook, The Road to Blue Ribbon Baking.
The secret to these cookies' great flavor: All butter (no shortening or oil); heavy on white versus brown sugar; chopped walnuts.
This recipe took first place two years in a row at the Applejack Festival's pie-baking contest in Nebraska City, Nebraska. The pie is easier to eat than a caramel apple, but tastes just as good!
Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies
Carol Schneider of Wausau, Wisconsin, brought home a blue ribbon when she entered these cookies at the Wisconsin State Fair. The recipe combines white and semisweet chocolate with dried cherries and walnuts.
Bear-chaser Blueberry Pie
This recipe, from Angle Outpost Resort in Angle Inlet, Minnesota, won top honors at a local Blueberry Fest. We loved the intense blueberry flavor softened by the cheesecakelike cream cheese. The recipe calls for a traditional homemade crust, but you can shorten prep time by using any type of purchased crust. Our picture shows the pie with a graham cracker crust.
Paradise Pumpkin Pie
A cheesecake layer and nut topping help this pumpkin pie stand out from its peers. This recipe was a winner at the Morton, Illinois, Pumpkin Festival baking competition.