BAKING WITH BEV: You can still enjoy fair food by making your own | Lifestyle

I often do a fair recipe column this time of year. I’m bummed that area county fairs have been canceled, as I enjoy judging area 4-H and open class projects. Fairs won’t be part of my summer memories for this year.

People look forward to fair foods and were wiling to pay $20 for a car load of five people to drive through the Minnesota State Fair grounds and purchase fair food. Organizers were surprised that the tickets sold out so quickly. I’m sharing some recipes so you can try making favorite homemade fair foods.

Sweet Martha’s chocolate chip cookies has one of the top selling booths at the State Fair. Her buckets are served full of delicious warm cookies. I was hungry for chocolate chip cookies last week and made this recipe. It was quick to make and was as tasty as Martha’s with the butter, vanilla and chocolate flavor.

Chocolate Chip Pan Chewies

½ cup butter, room temperature

½ teaspoon baking powder

Stir butter, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until creamed. Add flour, baking powder and soda and stir until mixed. Stir in the chocolate chips. Put in a prepared 9×9 inch baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Cheese curds are another favorite food at the fair. This recipe was shared by Pillsbury and uses their crescent sheets to cover the curds. It is less messy than dipping curds into the batter.

State Fair Crescent Cheese Curds

1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Dough Sheet

8 ounces cheese curds, any variety (about 1 ½ cups)

8 wooden skewers for serving

In deep fryer or 3 quart heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat to 350 degrees. Unroll dough and cut lengthwise into 4 strips, then cut crosswise into 8 rows, making 32 squares. Roll each piece of dough around each cheese curd (no larger that 1 inch); and press to seal edges and completely cover cheese curd. Fry cheese curds, 8 at a time, about 1 minute, turning occasionally until dough is completely cooked through and deep golden brown. Drain on paper towels and keep warm. Thread 4 cheese curds on each wooden skewer. Serve immediately with condiments like ranch dressing or ketchup. Makes 8 servings.

Onion rings are another favorite fried food. You can make this quick, easy recipe for crisp, baked onion rings.

1 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Slice the onions into 12 inch wide rings, then place in a dish of water. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. In as second bowl, whisk together egg whites and mayonnaise. Add the bread crumbs to a third bowl. Remove each onion ring from the water, shaking off any excess and then placing into flour, tossing until its throughly coated, then dip the onion ring into egg white mixture until it’s throughly coated and then into the breadcrumbs, pressing firmly onto all sides of the onion ring. Place the onion ring on the prepared baking sheet and repeat the coating process with the remaining onion rings. Throughly spray the onion rings with cooking spray to help onion rings brown more evenly. Bake the onion rings for 10 minutes then flip and bake an additional 5 minutes until they’re brown and crispy. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. 6 servings.

Corn dogs are the reason some people go to fairs. They are favorites because they have a soft outer coating with a light crunch. It’s important to dry hot dogs before coating with bater so more will stick. Evenly coat the hot dog by putting batter in a tall narrow glass. Dip about 3 times to evenly coat hot dog.

1 cup yellow cornmeal (not stone ground)

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 tablespoons-1/4 cup sugar

Push wooden stick into each hot dog and set aside. Mix all ingredients until no lumps. Start with 1/2 cup milk and add as necessary until batter is similar to pancake. Drop in 360-370 degree oil and fry until golden. It works best to fry 2 at a time. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels. 10 servings.

Make fair-style lemonade using fresh squeezed lemons with this quick, easy refreshing recipe.

¼ cup sugar (use more if you want it sweeter)

Squeeze lemons and place lemon juice in a 16 ounce glass. Add sugar to juice and stir until it completely dissolves. Top with ice. Fill glass with additional water and stir again. 1 serving.

Janelle B. Smith

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