I LOVE the Minnesota State Fair. I love the food, the Leinenkugel’s band shell, the baby animal barn and I especially love the Creative Activities building. On the first day I attend the fair, the Creative Activities cooking area is the first place I go. There are many different kinds of baking and cooking contests at the state fair. 2012 will mark my 5th year competing in the Minnesota State Fair and this year also marks the 4th year that I have appeared on Twin Cities Live giving Minnesotans a preview of the contests and one of the recipes I plan to enter. It is also a special year for me because I am 9 months pregnant with my second baby preparing for the fair!
There are so many different types of cooking contests you can enter at the fair. There are cookie, bread, pie, gluten-free, vegan, canning and corporate-sponsored contests at the fair. You prepare the dish at home, follow the contest rules and recipe requirements and then bring it to the fair on the specified day. The drop off day is almost as exciting as the first day I walk into the Creative Activities building when the fair first opens. There is a drop off day on August 15 for the corporate-sponsored contests and then a drop off day for the other contests on Sunday, August 19. The Sunday drop off is one of my favorites, as it is usually a collection of people young and old across the state, all clutching their paper plates filled with their baking creation. And its not just a few people, the line to drop off stretches around the building and can take upwards of an hour to wait in line. Here’s some of my favorite Sunday drop off pics (L-R People you meet at the drop off-Marjorie Johnson, the line for drop off wrapping around the building, 9 months pregnant in 2009 with my first daughter dropping off my enries).
You can access the MN State Fair Creative Activities Book here: http://www.mnstatefair.org/_assets/pdf/competition/creative_acts_pb.pdf
The Creative Activities Book contains information about all of the contests available, rules, recipe requirements and drop off information (some contests have different drop off dates). Please also note you will need to register to participate in the contests-the Creative Activities deadline is August 7. You can access the online registration here: http://www.mnstatefair.org/register/competition/
For this year’s state fair contest preview on Twin Cities Live, I made Avocado Truffles for the Ghirardelli-sponsored contest. Ghirardelli is celebrating their 160thanniversary so I decided to do a recipe that celebrates their California heritage (avocados and pistachios). When my husband saw me preparing the recipe, he was excited because he thought I was making guacamole-then he saw me mixing it with white chocolate and cream cheese! When he tried the final truffle, he said, “this is curiously good!” I think the avocado gives the truffle a delicious buttery fat and creaminess and a beautiful color as well! If you don’t end up entering a contest at the state fair, be sure to make a stop at the Creative Activities Building and check out all the amazing entries!
Click here to watch the July 6, 2012 Twin Cities Live segment when I made this recipe:
4 ounces Cream Cheese (softened)
1 Avocado (ripe)
8 ounces Ghirardelli White Chocolate (melted)
¼ cup Powdered Sugar
Green Food Coloring (several drops)
11.5 ounce bag Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips (melted)
1 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
1 cup Pistachios (nutmeats, finely chopped)
In a stand mixer, blend cream cheese, avocado, Ghirardelli White Chocolate, powdered sugar and several drops of green food coloring. Once combined, refrigerate mixture for one hour.
Once chilled, use a small cookie scoop and place one ball at a time in melted Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Chips and then roll in either Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate or Pistachios. Place inside small baking cup liners and refrigerate.
Makes 34 Truffles
Store in Refrigerator