January 12, 2007

State Fair Recipes

Some folks collect state fair recipes and cookbooks, either from their own state or those from all fifty states.

You can find hardcover state fair cookbooks published by mainstream publishers and also smaller printed publications, sometimes published by the various state governmental agencies. Recipes from state fairs are often printed in local newspapers in the food section.

The Senior Citizens Cookie Recipes Book (1976, 24 pages) is one example of the smaller publications that can be found. It's a small cookbook with a stapled binding and was published by the State of Indiana Commission on the Aging and Aged. It was available at the 1976 Bicentennial Indiana State Fair. The Cookie Bake-Offs were held in the Senior Citizens Building and open to male or female Indiana residents who were 60 years of age or older.

The cookbook contains recipes from the 1975 Senior Citizens Cookie Bake-Off Contest held the previous year. Notice the Bicentennial colors on the cover. An entry form for the 1976 contest is in front of book. Name and location given for winners next to their recipes. Two pages in the center of the book contain photo Highlights from the Senor Citizens Building that were taken in 1975, with captions for the photos.

Some of the recipes called for name brand ingredients. Cocoa Puff Krispie Cookies was the Third Grand Prize Winner in the Final Bake-Off. It was submitted by Pearl Lee Mauck of Corydon, Indiana.


1 stick of Margarine
6 oz. package of dates
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup coconut
2 cups Coco-puffs
Powdered sugar or coconut

Cook margarine, dates and sugar over low heat until dates are melted (about 10 minutes), stirring all the time. Remove from heat. Add nuts, coconut, and coco-puffs.

Stir well and roll into small balls. Flatten and shape.

Roll in powdered sugar or coconut. Makes about twenty-five, or according to the size you roll.

There are 28 prize-winning recipes in all. The next recipe below was submitted by Mary Kinchlow of Indianapolis, Indiana. Although I've shown the recipe as it was printed, please note the addition of the cup of pecans at the very end of the recipe rather than higher up in the instructions.


1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
2 tsp. cinnamon
2-1/2 cups cake flour
1 tblsp. sugar
1 egg white, beaten stiff
1 cup chopped pecans

Cream shortening and 1 cup sugar together. Add egg yolk, cinnamon and flour. Mix. Spread 1/4 inch thick in a well-greased 10 x 15 inch pan. Add tablespoonful of sugar to beaten egg white and brush over top of dough. Cover with thick layer of pecans and press into dough. Bake 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Makes (75) 1 x 2 inch sticks. Add the cup of pecans to dough and sprinkle additional nuts on top.

You can look here to get an idea of some of the state fair recipes booklets that periodically become available. Most of the smaller booklets have been saved as part of someone's recipe or cookbook collection.

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