Tag: blue ribbon baking

Sugar-Free Coconut Icebox Cookies with Low-Sugar Cookie Dip

These Sugar-Free Coconut Icebox Cookies are buttery, delicious and made with just a handful of ingredients. They are easy to make and pair perfectly with a low-sugar cream cheese cookie dip

Sugar-Free Coconut Icebox Cookies dip closeup

Icebox cookies simply means you chill the dough after making it and before baking. We shaped ours into a long rectangle but you could do round or oval instead. Then you just “slice and bake” when you’re ready for some fresh-baked cookies. You can even freeze the dough to have on hand whenever a craving hits. 

A Short Ingredient List

For these sugar-free coconut icebox cookies, the short ingredient list includes flour, baking soda, salt, butter, and egg. Instead of sugar, you use a Splenda sweetener, like brown sugar or the new Magic Baker zero sugar baking blend (now available on Amazon and at Walmart or other stores). Then you can flavor the cookies like we did, with a coconut extract, or opt for your favorite flavoring. Personally, we are working our way through our favorite extracts, ranging from coconut and pumpkin spice, to cotton candy and citrus blends.

The cookie dip is such a fun idea, with the best part being you get to choose your cookie to frosting ratio. Or  you can frost each cookie instead. A tip with the dip/frosting is to make confectioners type sugar out of Splenda granulated sugar and cornstarch. And just like with the cookie dough, you can flavor the dip/frosting with your favorite flavoring.

“Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” Recipe Contest

We created this cookie to celebrate the first year of our Splenda Magic Baker “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” and the upcoming contest at the State Fair of Texas. The fair runs Sep 30 to Oct 23 (2022), with the contest landing on Wednesday, October 5, 2022. The fair’s Creative Arts Building is where all their cooking contests happen and they have a terrific line-up. Hats off to all the aspiring blue ribbon bakers and amateur chefs there. We’re rooting for you! 

Whether or not you are competing, we invite you to bake these sugar-free coconut icebox cookies. Be sure to share and tag @BlueRibbonFoodies on Instagram and/or Facebook if you do! You never know when a giveaway will pop up.

And if you are at the State Fair of Texas please join us for all the ”Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” events. 

Splenda “Low-to-No Sugar Showdown” 10/5/2022

@ Contest Kitchen (Creative Arts Building)

  • 9am Entry Drop Off + Free Product Giveaway
  • 10:30am Judging
  • 12pm-ish Awards

@ Celebrity Chef Stage (Creative Arts Building)

  • 4:30pm Sponsor Showcase + Free Product Giveaway
  • Diabetes-Friendly Baking & Cooking
  • Featuring Andrea Luongo; Dieticians of Dallas

 

 

New Blue Ribbon Group Contests @ State Fair of Texas

Enter Our New Blue Ribbon Group Contests at the 2022 State Fair of Texas

Cash Prizes of $200, $100, $50 Offered in New Cooking & Baking Contests 

Dallas-Fort Worth, September  13, 2022 – Calling all Texas home cooks and hobby bakers! You’re invited to compete in our new Blue Ribbon Group Contests @ State Fair of Texas. Up for grabs is $350 in prizes in each of four contests/categories, plus bonus prizes and additional ways to win. Do you make great game day foods that are total crowd pleasers? How about some homemade low-sugar sweet-treats? If you do, then these new contests are for you!

Tom Thumb “Blue Ribbon Recipe Round Up” (Game Day Themed Recipes/3 Categories) 10/2/2022

The first Texas Blue Ribbon Group contest is the Tom Thumb  “Blue Ribbon Recipe Round-Up” on Sunday, October 2. With a “Game Day Delights” theme, the Blue Ribbon Recipe Round-Up calls for crowd-pleasing appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. The event is essentially three contests in one. We want to see your best-tasting recipes that are perfect for parties! Each category/type has $350 in gift card prizes, including $200 for 1st Place, $100 for 2nd Place, and $50 for 3rd Place. Plus, bonus prizes will celebrate overall baking category winners (among the fair’s total contest line-up) and offer additional ways to win, even if you don’t compete at the fair.

Splenda Magic Baker™ “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” (Creative Cookies) 10/5/2022

The second Texas Blue Ribbon Group contest is Wednesday, October 5, for the Splenda Magic Baker “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown.” This contest includes a free product giveaway – while supplies last – and calls for CREATIVE COOKIES that are low in sugar or sugar- free! Use any Splenda product, such as Splenda Magic Baker, a new zero-calorie, zero-sugar, plant-based sweetener that tastes and measures just like sugar. The product  is now available from Amazon, Walmart and other grocery stores.

Winner Selections

State Fair of Texas official judges (a varied panel of food professionals, local celebrities, and foodies) will decide each contest’s winners based on evaluating entries with this judging criteria:

  • Unique, innovative, creative recipe (35%)
  • Taste, flavor, aroma (30%)
  • Appearance, color, presentation (25%)
  • Texture, internal appearance (10%)

Extra Ways to Win

Be sure to follow Blue Ribbon Foodies on Instagram and/or Facebook or join our mailing list here for a chance to win one of our $25 gift card giveaways. Whether or not you are competing at the State Fair of Texas, we invite you to take part. We will offer random prizes and perks to our community members and followers throughout the 2022 state fair season, which for us, ends October 22, 2022.

Participation Tips/Guidelines – Blue Ribbon Group Contests @ State Fair of Texas

 All state fair recipe/cooking contest registration and judging goes through the State Fair of Texas Creative Arts Department.

  • Get all the competition details here (Jump to pages 19 & 26, for the Tom Thumb and Splenda Magic Baker contests)
  • Only Texas residents can win at the State Fair of Texas. Advance registration is recommended but not required.
  • When you are ready to register, follow this link (TX Registration Shortcut)

 

Special thanks to our 2022 Texas Contest Partners

 

Minnesota State Fair Baking Competition Winners Announced

Minnesota State Fair 2022 Baking Competition Winners Announced

  • Blue Ribbon Group special contests celebrate the best in home baking & cooking

  • Find the complete Creative Activities Building winner list here

  • Take in daily live demos/tasting Events in the Cambria Kitchen, starting with Kowalski’s Markets opening day

 

Minneapolis-St Paul, August 25, 2022 – Please join the Blue Ribbon Group in congratulating all the talented and creative entrants in our Blue Ribbon Special Contest Series at the Minnesota State Fair.

 

Splenda Magic Baker “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” Winners

1st Place – Gina Walker of Savage for “Gina’s Sugar-Free Gourmet Banana Bread”

2nd Place – Billie Holterman-Schniepp of Cottage Grove for “Low-Sugar Apple Coffee Cake”

3rd Place – Christina Bergstrom of Twin Lakes for “Peaches & Cream Coffee Cake”

 

Kowalski’s “Great Chocolate Cake Contest” Winners

1st Place – Michelle Seyward of Woodbury for “MN Black Out Cake”

2nd Place – Erin Dooley of St Paul for “Tribute to Mexican Hot Chocolate Cake”

3rd Place – Colleen Jensen of Woodbury for “Merry’s Chocolate Orange Cupcakes”

 

Kowalski’s Supreme Sourdough Contest Winners

1st Place – Guillermo Guardia of Minneapolis for “Peruvian Sourdough Croissants”

2nd Place – Karen Cope of Minneapolis for “Beer & Cheese Sourdough Bread Twist”

3rd Place – Molly Abbattista of Minneapolis for “Sourdough Focaccia Barese”

 

Blue Ribbon “Best Peanut Butter Cookie” Contest Winners

1st Place – Betsy Faber of St. Paul for “Crispy Creamy Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies”

2nd Place – Emily York of Hopkins for “Peanut Butter & Chocolate Macarons”

3rd Place – Sheila Mullen of Woodbury for “Salted Caramel Nougat-Filled Peanut Butter Cookies”

 

Blue Ribbon “Best Cream Pie” Contest Winners

1st Place – Melinda Chapel of Rosemount for “Blueberry Mojito Pie”

2nd Place – Randy Ferguson of Randolph for “The Pie-phrodisiac” (Chocolate Almond Coconut Pie)

3rd Place – Rachael Hood of St. Louis Park for “Blackberry Smash Cream Pie”

 

Blue Ribbon “Salad Bowl Tournament” Winners

1st Place – Amy Ellenberger of St Paul for “Lemony Summer Kale Salad”

2nd Place – Mia Bremer of Minneapolis for “Herby Tortellini Harvest Salad”

3rd Place – Ellen Joseph of Minneapolis for “Peppery Greens with Shrimp, Soba Noodles & Crunch Herbs”

 

3 Cricketeers “Energy Bars & Power Balls” Recipe Contest

1st Place – Amy Ellenberger of St. Paul for “Magic Chai Power Balls”

2nd Place – Tiffany Mainella of Rochester for “Apple Pie Energy Balls”

3rd Place – Eamon Whiteaker of St. Paul for “Cherry Chocolate Almond Energy Balls”

 

Find the Minnesota State Fair’s complete Creative Activities Building winner list here. During the fair, visit the Creative Activities Building to view entries across all baking classes and categories. To get involved:

  • Sign up for Creative Activities Mailing list (Under Participant tab at MNSTATEFAIR.org)
  • Follow Blue Ribbon Foodies on Instagram or Facebook

 

Thank you to the brands that made this Minnesota blue ribbon contest line-up possible:

@splenda

@kowalskis_markets

@kingarthurbaking

@3cricketeers

@thesaladgirl

 

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Splenda Low-To-No-Sugar-Showdown

New Splenda “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” Recipe Contest Celebrates Sugar-Free Blue Ribbon Baking at State Fairs

$350 in Cash Awards for Top Winners in Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, Arkansas; Bonus Prizes for Sugar-Free Bakers Nationally-

If you love cakes, cookies, pies, and other sweet treats but prefer them sugar-free or diabetes-friendly, check out the new Splenda “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown.” The state fair recipe contest series takes place this summer and fall at 5 prominent fairs.

  • Ohio State Fair  Runs 7/27/22 – 8/7/22   Judging 7/24/22 in Rhodes Center Building
  • Wisconsin State Fair   Runs 8/4/22 – 8/14/22   Judging 8/7/22 in Grand Champion Hall
  • Minnesota State Fair  Runs 8/25/22 – 9/5/22   Judging 8/20/22 in Creative Activities Building
  • State Fair of Texas  Runs 9/30/22 – 10/23/22   Judging 10/5/22 in Creative Arts Building
  • Arkansas State Fair  Runs 10/14/22 – 10/23/22   Judging 10/19/22 in Arts & Craft Center

Note: Most fairs require advance registration, which bakers do directly with each fair’s competition office. If you can’t compete at any of these fairs, you can still participate. See below.

The Low-Down on the “Low-To-No Sugar Showdown” (Product Giveaway!)

  • At each event, home-baking fairgoers receive a free 16 ounce bag of Splenda’s new plant-based, zero-calorie sweetener, Magic Baker (one per person, while supplies last).
  • All winning entries will feature Splenda Magic Baker or some other Splenda product.
  • Cookies, cakes, and diabetes-friendly desserts are among the varied themes at each showdown.
  • $350 in cash awards are up for grabs at each of the fairs.
  • 3 winners will receive cash prizes at each fair: 1st Place is $200, 2nd is $100, 3rd is $50.
  • Judges choose winners for being unique and creative, with great taste, flavor and aroma, as well as presentation and texture.
  • Look for a winning recipe collection on Blue Ribbon Group website and Blue Ribbon Foodies social media channels.

For contest details and complete competition guidelines, contact the fair’s entry office or the Blue Ribbon Group (here).

Bonus Prizes for Sugar-Free Baking Nationally

If you compete with a sugar-free/no added sugar recipe at ANY state fair (one of the above or other) and use Splenda, we invite you to share it with us for a chance to win a $25 gift card. To qualify, post before October 23, 2022 on social media — Facebook or Instagram, using #splenda, #lowtonosugar, #blueribbonfoodies, #blueribbonbaking, #statefair among your hashtags – and submit your sugar-free blue-ribbon-worthy baked good here. We will choose winning recipes (1 for each of 5 U.S. regions, if applicable) and feature them on our website and Blue Ribbon Foodies social media channels. Each baker with a winning recipe receives a $25 gift card.

State Fair Blue Ribbon Baking Season 2022

Hey you! You’re here! And we are so glad you are! You are in the right place if… vying for the best cookies, cakes or pies at your local fair is a thing for you, or you want it to be. Or maybe you just like to eat blue ribbon goodies. Whatever the case, stay tuned for 2022 blue ribbon baking opportunities and other highlights about the upcoming state fair season.

State Fair Blue Ribbon Baking Season 2022

Watch for:

  • Low-To-No-Sugar Showdown at 5 state fairs, including Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Texas, and Arkansas. We want to see your best baked goods with little to no sugar in them and made with Splenda products.
  • Minnesota State Fair blue ribbon baking contest series that features 7 new special contests and spans all baking classes and categories (ranging from sourdough to salads). Find a detailed round-up and tips for entering: here. Our key sponsors are Kowalski’s Markets, King Arthur Baking Company, and the Splenda brand for this line-up.
  • State Fair of Texas baking contest series that features multi-class contests and special prizes/giveaways. Blue ribbon bragging rights await the best cookie, cake, bread, and pie bakers (classic and low/no sugar entries). Look also for a new “game-day” themed contest. This line-up was made possible by Tom Thumb stores and Splenda.
  • National recognition of blue ribbon baked greatness, state by state, or region by region

State Fair Hosts – Upcoming Dates

Here’s a quick run-down of when each fair is, a link to competition departments, and their pre-registration deadlines. Plus, check out each fair’s most popular winning recipe on our site.

If you are a state fair wanting to partner with us, drop us a line here.

If you are a blue ribbon baker with a great recipe you want us to consider featuring, please share it here.

In the News

We were invited on the ABC Minneapolis affiliate, KSTP channel 5’s “Minnesota Live program.” We gave the hosts and viewers a sneak peek at our Minnesota State Fair special recipe contest series. Check it out here.

 

Jumbo Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies

These Jumbo Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies are a terrific twist on a traditional peanut butter cookie. You put chopped Butterfinger candy bars into the cookie itself and sprinkle them over a chocolate topping. Every bite is rich and chewy and absolutely delicious. I’ve had more than one person tell me these are the best cookies in the universe.

Plated Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies

This recipe is the epitome of a creative cookie that can win a special recipe contest. In fact, these did and recipe credit goes to Mackenzie Nelson, an Arkansas State Fair blue ribbon baker.

Tips & Tidbits

  • This recipe makes a monster-sized batch, as in 58 medium sized cookies, or almost 30 in jumbo, 3 ounce portions. It can easily be halved.
  • We like the jumbo size, like a bakery-style cookie. You can also opt for a smaller size and higher quantity batch.
  • If you flatten the rolled cookies into discs, you get a nice even bake.
  • Notice you use egg whites and not whole eggs
  • This dough works well if chilled before baking. You can even freeze in batches to pull out whenever.
  • You can alter how finely you chop the candy bars to your liking.
  • Change up how you top these, either by dipping or by spreading the chocolate on top.

Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies

Jumbo Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies: Step by Step

We walk you through the process here, starting with gathering and measuring your ingredients. We went with the big 3.7 ounce size candy bars. Once you buy them, make sure “no one lays a finger on your Butterfinger” supply.

Best Ever Jumbo Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies

You can alter how finely you chop the candy bars to your liking. I did a combo of bigger and smaller pieces, vs all finely chopped or all rough chopped. Any which way is delicious. It’s mostly the overall texture and look of the cookie that changes with how you chop the Butterfingers.

Step by step Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies

Then you start mixing up the dough, beginning with creaming the butter and sugars.

Step by step Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies

You’re off to a good start when the mixture looks like this.

Step by step Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies

Next, you add 3/4 of your chopped Butterfingers.

Butterfinger Cookies

Once you mix them in…

mixed cookie dough

Get your scoop! We used an ice cream scoop to get the 3 ounce portion.

Ready to scoop jumbo peanut butter cookies

Make sure you set them apart with ample room to spread out.

cookie dough balls

Once they’re baked, you microwave the chocolate and remaining butter, for dipping or spreading on top. A flat spatula works nicely to remove extra chocolate on the cookie’s bottom. Do this stage quickly and in batches so the Butterfinger crumbles stay put on the chocolate.

inspired peanut butter cookies

You could also opt to spoon the chocolate across the top for full coverage.

Jumbo Peanut Butter Butterfinger Cookies-fully loaded

If you love Butterfinger candy bars, you’ll love this epic cookie. And if you’re into candy-bar-inspired sweet treats, check on this cake!

-Cyndi

dipped cookies

Almond Blueberry Coffee Cake (Sugar-Free)

This Almond Blueberry Coffee Cake (Sugar-Free) recipe is one of the easiest and most delicious quick breads I’ve ever made.

It features – you guessed it – almonds and blueberries. We used sliced almonds and loved the end result. There’s a light crunch when you dig in, creating a delightful texture contrast.

Almond Blueberry Coffee Cake (Sugar Free) Key Ingredients

Blueberries abound

The bread portion is tender and filled with blueberries, which hold up well and provide a pop of fruity sweetness in every bite. We used fresh blueberries, but frozen would work well too. The batter is thick and spreadable. Because of this, the blueberries suspend throughout the quick bread and don’t sink down to the bottom, as they do often in other quick bread recipes. Here’s a look at the batter before I added the topping.

Thick Quick Bread Batter

How is this recipe sugar-free?

Thanks to the Splenda granulated sugar, this recipe is sugar-free. It bakes fast and gets a beautiful golden brown color. That color comes from tossing sliced almonds in egg white.  With the Splenda granulated sweetener added, that combo gives the coffee cake that fantastic, aforementioned texture contrast.

This type of recipe is called a quick bread for a reason, as it’s quick to make. It took me barely an hour from start to finish.

Almond Blueberry Coffee Cake (Sugar Free)

This almond blueberry coffee cake (sugar-free) creation was inspired by this one, from Splenda. I substituted heavy cream for 2%, but either will work. With no sugar, this recipe is diabetes-friendly. It’s ideal for my mother, who has type 2 diabetes, which she controls with her diet. According to my calculations, each serving has about 20 carbs, which makes it a sweet-treat that’s relatively low in carbs, especially compared to ones with sugar.

Upcoming recipe contest

Watch for more sugar-free desserts in the coming months as we experiment more with zero calorie sweeteners. Plus we have a 5 state fair recipe contest in the works with Splenda, so stay-tuned for more details on that this summer.

Cheers,

Cyndi

Almond Blueberry Coffee Cake (Sugar Free) Close Up

Prize-Winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

These homemade, aromatic, prize-winning parmesan & chive scones are simply the best savory scones, in more ways than one.

You will relish their phenomenal taste and tender yet firm texture. Their golden brown appearance is drool-worthy for sure. If you love savory scones like we do, be sure to bake these soon! They are perfect for weekend brunches and snacks in between meals.

Prize-winning parmesan & chive scones

This remarkable recipe comes from Amy Ellenberger.

Blue Ribbon Baker - Best Scone Winner 2021 MN State Fair

Amy won “Best Scones” at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair with this recipe. One taste and you’ll know why this one is a winner.

We asked Amy what her secret to winning was. In her words: “Because scones are a fairly simple baked good (as in few ingredients), it is important to use the best quality ingredients, as there isn’t much to hide behind. For this recipe I like to use (Minnesota-based) Hope Creamery butter, a sour cream (like Daisy) that doesn’t contain thickeners and other artificial ingredients, garden fresh chives, and high-quality Parmesan cheese that is freshly grated.”

Step by Step Tutorial

Take Amy’s top tip and begin with the best ingredients.

Parmesan Chive Scones

You start by mixing the dry ingredients with the cheese and chives.

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

Next, you cut in the cold butter. By the way, Amy’s family buys Hope Creamery butter by the case.

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

At this stage you want to see the chilled butter in tiny clumps, roughly the size of peas.

Butte Cut in Stage - Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

You also use both sour cream and buttermilk in the recipe, plus an egg.

Prize-Winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

Mix the sour cream, buttermilk and egg smooth, then combine that mixture with your flour mixture.

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

Once everything is together, you want a shaggy look to the dough.

Be careful not to overwork the dough. Shape it into a flat circle. You want it 1 ½ inches thick.

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

Then cut out the scones. You should get 12 (2-inch size) rounds (or squares if you prefer that shape).

Prize-winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

As your final step, you brush each with heavy cream, then sprinkle with parmesan, a pinch of sea salt, and fresh cracked black pepper. You also want to chill them 30 minutes at this stage.

From Amy: Don’t skip the chilling step. This ensures the butter is solid and won’t leak out of your scones during baking.

Prize-Winning Parmesan & Chive Scones

After the chill time, the only thing to do is wait for them to bake (at 350 degrees Fahrenheit) for 25-30 minutes.

Prize-Winning Parmesan & Chive Scones: every bite will be pure delight. Seriously. Hit the kitchen and bake these now!

-Cyndi

p.s. Scones are best eaten shortly after they are baked. However, you can opt to freeze the dough to fresh bake the scones later (ideally within 2 months). Or you can freeze them after baking. Just pop a frozen one in the microwave for about 30 seconds before you nosh.

 

Blue Ribbon Beer Bread

Say hello to this award winning Blue Ribbon Beer Bread. The recipe features the pilsner Wonderstuff, from Bauhaus Brew Labs in Minneapolis, along with cheddar cheese, rosemary, and honey. A thick slice of this bread solo or with a swipe of butter is pure bliss. It’s tender but hearty, and has a beautiful golden brown exterior.

The recipe comes from Cortney Carlson who won “best beer bread” with it at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair.

Cortney Carlson

This was her first blue ribbon win ever! In fact, she had only competed one other time, in 2019 for a special sugar cookie competition. Cortney shared, “Nothing came of the submission, but it ignited my interest in competing.”

Her recipe is easy to follow and replicate. It also great starting point for variations. After tasting and loving Cortney’s Blue Ribbon Beer Bread, we tried a cheddar, chive, and jalapeño version. It was really good also.

Winner Q&A

We caught up with Cortney for a Q&A recently. Read on to learn about her backstory.

BRG: What can you tell us about your Blue Ribbon Beer Bread recipe and why you chose it?

Cortney: While you’d think most people just KNOW they are submitting their (insert favorite recipe here… sugar cookies, sourdough, etc.), I actually stumbled across mine. When the categories for baking categories were released, I scanned the list for something to jump out at me. I like to try new recipes, new areas of baking, new techniques… so I didn’t go into this with a plan or recipe.

Immediately beer bread jumped out at me. My experience with bread was virtually nonexistent, but all the breweries around town, especially coming from Northeast Minneapolis? Not so much a mystery to me (hehehe).

Knowing little about bread, I looked at dozens of different recipes. I looked for types of beer bread, what types of things people added to them, and then just dove in. I liked the idea of adding an herb…I tried different cheeses, different styles of beers, and went back to the drawing board the more I tried things (that’s a MN nice way of saying the first attempts were gross). Once I started researching the right things, things started clicking and here we are. I landed on the attached final recipe.

BRG: What do you think your secret to winning was?

Cortney: The only thing larger than the amount of foods on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair is the Minnesota pride that you can feel in the air the entire twelve days of the fair. My recipe included ingredients made or headquartered in Minnesota. From local beer, honey, and cheese, to Pillsbury flour and rosemary grown at home… every part of that bread was a nod to people (myself) who say “ope” several times a day.

BRG: What is the worst disaster you’ve had in the kitchen and how did you deal with it?

Cortney: I’ve experienced the most average disasters – burning things, undercooking things, messing up a recipe, missing key ingredients, etc. The thing I’ve learned about kitchen disasters is that while it’s so disappointing and frustrating that day, the greatest lessons I’ve learned in the kitchen have come from the time I did it wrong.

BRG: What advice would you give young people wanting to cook/bake more?

Cortney:  Learn your staple dinners/desserts/contributions to potlucks, but don’t stay there. Try new areas of cooking. You like pie but have never made one? Try it. And know that you may not knock it out of the park the first try, but the more you try the more you will learn and can apply to the next recipe.

Great advice Cortney! Now everyone, get ready, set, and bake this bread!

-Cyndi

p.s. If you’re into breads, be sure to bake this blueberry winning recipe and this whole wheat winner.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

These Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies won best sandwich cookie and best overall cookie at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair. Their creamy filling, phenomenal flavor, and utter deliciousness will wow you with every bite.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

A Winning History

Joan Kinsley

Joan Kinsley was the winning Minnesota State Fair baker. She adapted a Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest winning recipe that Annette Gustafson won with in 2020. Joan first entered the state fair baking competition in 2014, had a win, and was hooked on the annual tradition.

Joan’s version is a linzer look-alike with an opening on top so you see the inside filling inside, which is thick, creamy, rich, and absolutely divine.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

We invite you to make them for the holidays and check out our step-by-step tips for reproducing these blue-ribbon-winning Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies. Did I mention that outstanding filling? =)

Special thanks to Joan fore re-baking her cookies for me. Same to the our friends at the Star Tribune for their recipe use permission and to Annette. We look forward to learning what more about this year’s Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest winners!

Secrets to Success

Joan estimates she made these cookies 5-6 times before entry drop-off at the fair. She spent hours tweaking ingredients and altering the thickness of the dough and the filling. She also adjusted baking times, temperature, and what kitchen tools she used. This seems to be a popular process among successful state fair blue ribbon baker, especially with recipes they’re new to. It pays off.

  • To achieve the “perfect bake” Joan keeps the dough chilled throughout the entire prep process: before rolling it out, afterward with the scraps she re-works, and even while the cut dough waits its turn in the oven.
  • Hint: Handle the dough as little as possible. It’s much easier to transfer and work with when chilled.
  • Joan prefers baking them on parchment that sits on a silpat baking mat with an air bake pan underneath.
  • You can opt to cut out the cookies an inch apart, directly on the parchment you’ll bake them on. This way the shapes stay fully intact because you’re not touching or moving them.
  • Joan uses an adjustable rolling pin (for an exact thickness) and a Linzer tart cookie cutter.
  • Joan also bakes her cookies 1 sheet at a time.

Step by Step

You make the cookies with flour, cinnamon, salt, butter, and brown sugar. Set out your butter ahead of time as you want it room temperature. Also, allow enough time to chill the dough at least 30 minutes.

Ingredients for Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

When mixing the dough, it’s ready when the ingredients are just fully combined and clumps start to form. Like with pie dough, avoid over-mixing.

Prepped Dough

Pressing the dough out before chilling makes for an easier roll out. And seal it in plastic wrap. Ultimately you end up rolling it out between parchment layers.

Dough pressed out

Joan uses an adjustable rolling pin with rings to make the dough exactly 1/6th inch thick.

With the first portion of dough, you cut the cookie “bottoms.”

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

With the second portion of dough, you cut the cookie “tops” with the center cut out.

Wilton Linzer Cookie Cutter

Tip: cut out, then chill the unbaked cookies again and they will be easy to move with an offset spatula. Bake them an inch or more apart. Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

You sprinkle all with a cinnamon/sugar mixture before baking, giving them some glitter and glam.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

Then, simply keep a close eye on the oven. You want the bottoms to barely start to brown, which takes 12-14 minutes.

The filling features Biscoff cookie butter (available at most grocery stores in the peanut butter section), along with butter, and powdered sugar. I could eat this stuff by the spoonful.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

Joan pipes hers on before spreading it even with an offset metal spatula.

Cinnamon Cookie Butter Cookies

All these tips and tricks were the secrets to her baking success.

The last thing you need to do is enjoy these better-than-anything blue ribbon cookies.

Happy baking!

-Cyndi