My Fair Lady

Check out the recipe for my Sugar Cookies, and the recipe for my Chocolate Chip Cookies!

Deep Fried BuckeyesI’ve been going to the Ohio State Fair every year for most of my life. I think it’s mainly because I’m a sucker for fair food. Deep fried junk? Yes please. Something on a stick? All the easier to walk with it to the next food place. Deep fried food on a stick? Now you’re totally speaking my language. Every 5 feet there’s another heart attack tempting you with its promise of overindulgent goodness. I can almost feel my arteries clogging at the thought of a deep fried Twinkie, but at least I’d die happy. There’s deep fried everything if you look hard enough: Twinkies, candy bars, Oreos, Cheesecake, Strawberry Shortcake, pickles, corn dogs, even macaroni and cheese, although I’m not sure how that works. The newest deep fried tasty treat? Deep fried Buckeyes; chocolate and peanut butter coated in a funnel cake-like batter and fried to a golden, melty goodness. Mmm. A total mess, but totally worth it. And even though I’ve been coming to the fair for 20-something years, I’ve never once thought of actually participating in it, other than the whole eating my way through it thing. Competing in the fair was something farmers did with cows, sheep, and chickens. I don’t have livestock. What did I know about being in the fair? It wasn’t until I walked through the Creative Arts building last year and actually looked at the entries in the baking competitions that I really thought anything about it. It wasn’t just pies and canned vegetables. There were cookies and cakes, muffins and brownies--all things I felt I could do. Okay, so maybe I might know a little something about this fair stuff. Maybe I could enter in the fair. Maybe even win something. Ah who am I kidding; I’d probably just forget about it until I was back at the fair next year.

Well I didn’t really forget. It was always in the back of my mind, just floating around. But I don’t really do things like that. I’d never competed in anything before, much less a baking competition. There’s no way I would win. These people that enter the fair, they know what they’re doing. I’m just fumbling around. It wasn’t until Cupcake Camp that I really got into the competitive spirit. I convinced myself that if I was going to compete in something, I wasn’t going to take the safe route. I was going to go all out and push my own boundaries. And it paid off. I won the category I entered even though I doubted that I would stand a chance. But no matter if I had won or lost, I was bitten by the competition bug at Cupcake Camp. I needed to enter more! That’s the thing about me. I have a terrible competitive streak. I have to win. Or I have to at least try my hardest to win, even if I don’t end up actually winning. I’m competitive with people who don’t even realize they’re competing. In things that shouldn’t even be a competition. I always have been that way. And once I got the taste for baking competitions, well there’s no turning back now. I’m a competition junkie. Competing in the fair? Sign me up. For the State Fair. There is no county level when you’re living by “go big or go home.”

I knew right away I wanted to enter my beloved sugar cookies into the decorated cookie category. Looking last year at the winners in the category, I immediately thought (in a totally not I’m-better-than-you mean kind of way), “I can do better than that.” So I set out to make the best, cutest sugar cookies I had ever made. These were going to be absolutely perfect! Well. Maybe not absolutely perfect, but I hopefully could at least find 6 really good ones of the bunch to take to judging! I decided on a Princess Birthday theme since I had bought cutters in the shapes of a cake, a present, and a tiara, and I was dying to find a reason to use them. I even had my design ideas all sketched out. 2 and a half days, 30 cookies, 3 colors, and some luster dust later, I had some pretty cute cookies I was feeling fairly good about. There were some in the bunch that weren’t so fantastic though. I tried to rush along the drying of my icing by putting them into an oven at 175F, and some of my white turned a bit yellowish at the edges, but oh well. Those just wouldn’t come along for the ride. And I’ll remember that for next time.

I decided as I was registering my entries online that I would make chocolate chip cookies as well. I love my chocolate chip recipe, so I decided what the heck. I’ll give it a shot. The ones I actually took with me were thrown together at literally the last minute after a not so successful first batch (more on that later), but somehow the 2nd batch, the one I took to be judged, came out almost perfect. With only an hour left to get my cookies turned in, I was running around like crazy getting everything ready, and of course snapping a bunch of pictures. I managed to get them in on time, thankfully, and now there was nothing to do but sit and wait until I could go to the fair and find out how I did.

I finally got my chance on Thursday night to go with Boyfriend and Kelli. After a not-so-quick stop for some Deep Fried Buckeyes (those things were molten hot, and it was almost impossible to eat without a fork, which they didn’t give us..), we were off to the Creative Arts building to see the results. Walking down the immense glass cases towards the cookies, I spotted my sugar cookies at the very bottom.

Check it out!! 2nd place!!! Not bad at all! I got excited and started squealing and jumping up and down when Boyfriend was like, “Hey. Hey look!” and pointed a little further up in the case.

HOLY CRAP! FIRST PLACE!! I WON!!!! I WON AT THE STATE FAIR!! And for chocolate chip cookies! The category I thought everyone would enter because it’s the easiest. The category I almost didn’t enter myself. The category that had to be thrown together at the last minute and almost didn’t make it here! A blue ribbon! HELL YEAH!

All my squealing and jumping up and down attracted a bit of attention… The director of the entire Creative Arts competition came over to talk and to take my picture with my cookies! (Which I’m sure looked fantastic since I wasn’t even wearing makeup and I had expected it to rain at some point, so I didn’t bother with my hair at all…) I still can’t believe I placed in both categories I entered in, my first time competing! Yay!! All night long I would randomly just let out a squeal of excitement whenever I thought about it again. I’m pretty close to letting out a crazy squeal right now! I’m definitely competing again next year, and in more than just 2 categories. Looking online at past winners, and seeing all their names again this year in so many different categories, I realized it’s time for some fresh blood. Whether they realize it or not, the gauntlet has been thrown by those same 6-8 people that win in 15 different categories year after year. My competitive spirit won’t let it stand without a challenge. So to any Ohio bakers out there; this is your call to arms. I’m ready to take them down, now who’s with me? Their tyrannous rein will come to-- oops. Sorry. I got a little carried away again. *Deep breath* Let’s just move on to some pictures of fun fair stuff while I calm down a bit.

Okay I’m better now. I had a great time at the fair, and can’t wait until next year! And don't forget to check out the recipe of my BLUE RIBBON WINNING Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

And just because they're so pretty. Here's some more of my 2nd place Sugar Cookies to look at!

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Jen said...

omg I was squealing for you when I read this! I used to live in Ohio and plan to move back within the next couple of years. When I do, I'm totally with you on competing in the state fair. You got me thinking about the state fair here too...

sarahe said...

amazing!! i can only imagine how proud you are of your cookies! i'm jealous!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow congrats, this makes me so happy. I feel almost as if I won :) next year first place on everything!!!

Leila said...

Congratulations! They look beautiful and I'm sure they were delicious!

sweetie said...

wowow! congrats! both sets of cookies do look prize winning and i can't wait to make the ccc's! (it's my answer to a hunt i've been on after a not so great recipe yesterday). post sooon!!!!

Ingrid said...

YAY!!! Hip-hip-hooray! I'm squealing with ya! :) Congrats! You go girl. Your sugar cookies are super cute.

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