Tag: Blue Ribbon Foodies

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

 

 

Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner: MN Blackout Cake

The Kowalski’s Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair was this phenomenal “MN Blackout Cake.”

With its three layers, pudding filling, chocolate drip, and decoration, this cake is a chocolate lover’s dream come true. It’s intense color and flavor are going to wow you, just like it did us and the judges.

Replicating it as we did, takes time, but every bite makes it worth the effort.

Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner MN Blackout Cake

Kudos to Michelle Seywerd who was the Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner at the 2022 Minnesota State Fair with this inspired creation.

Michelle’s husband loves Guinness chocolate cake which was her first idea of what to enter. Then she recalled the notorious Brooklyn Blackout Cake. Michelle’s winning recipe is a twist on it. She used this recipe as her base and then adapted a Food Network pudding filling. She added the fun chocolate shards on top too. We were shocked to learn Michelle had barely baked a cookie before the pandemic but really got into it with her daughter, who was a toddler at the time. They started with basic baked goods, watched a lot of YouTube channels, and worked up to more challenging recipes. “It’s been quite a journey,” Michelle shared.

Decadently Dark Cake

In her own words, Michelle describes her MN Blackout Cake here:

A decadently dark cake perfect for the dark chocolate lover in your life! I created a twist on the classic Brooklyn Blackout Cake by featuring black cocoa. Black cocoa is used to give Oreos that distinct color and flavor. Here, I’ve featured chocolate in 4 ways –  layers of moist cocoa cake, filled with black cocoa pudding filling, dripping with a semi sweet chocolate ganache, and topped with intense dark chocolate shards. The result – the boldest and richest chocolate flavor possible without use of food coloring. Enjoy with a nice glass of cold milk! Thank you!

Baking Tips: Great Chocolate Cake Contest Winner

Some random tips we got from Michelle and learned along the way, are these:

  • You’ll want to double the cake portion of the recipe if you want to recreate Michelle’s 3-layer version she won with at the fair. You’ll have an extra single layer that works great to taste and decorate separately. We did crushed salted peanuts on ours (4th unused layer) and loved it. You could also go for a 4 layer cake, but that’s mighty big.
  • If you opt to not double the cake and don’t want extra of the pudding filling, you’ll want to cut that recipe portion in half or do 2/3. The thick filling layer makes this cake a show stopper in our opinion. I would eat that pudding filling as a solo dessert. It’s that good.
  • We got our black cocoa from King Arthur and loved the results. Get yours here.
  • Using black cocoa over the buttered parchment helps the cake keep its intense color.

  • With chocolate drip, if you’re starting with a chocolate bar (versus chocolate chips), chop it into small pieces until they’re about the size of chocolate chips. You’ll get a smoother, more efficient melt.
  • If you can’t find 90% cacao chocolate, use 100% (2 ounces) and semi-sweet chocolate (1 ounce) as a substitute.
  • When we did the chocolate drip, we started with the edge. We worked by the spoonful for more control and to get the drizzle/drip look we wanted.
  • Michelle says this cake is not a fast one to make, but the payoff is totally worth it.

We invite you to re-create the magic of this MN Blackout Cake. Be sure to share on social media and tag @blueribbonfoodies. We want to see what you’re baking!

Enjoy!

-Cyndi

 

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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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

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.

State Fair Apple Raspberry Pie

This State Fair Apple Raspberry Pie is a show stopper. It won both “best creative apple pie” and “best overall pie” at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair. Carol Marsh is the star state fair baker here. Her pie is beautifully designed and absolutely delicious. The filling tastes fantastic and has a firm yet tender texture. Fresh raspberries add a splash of color. Their sweetness pairs perfectly with tart apples.

State Fair Apple Pie

Carol has been competing at the Minnesota State Fair since 2010 and baking since she a child. This year, 2021, was a big year, with her winning four blue ribbons. They were for a 2-layer chocolate cake, a raisin bread, a classic apple pie, and this creative apple pie, which won best overall pie also. This makes her a 6 time pie sweepstakes winner (best overall pie 6x since 2010). That brings her total to 36 Minnesota State Fair ribbons for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place wins.

Carol, like a lot of us, finds much joy in baking. She knows the ideal texture of pie dough and how to have a thick filling. As a result, she finds baking pies a breeze. She has it down to a science.

State Fair Apple Pie Baker

Carol has won multiple times at the Minnesota State Fair with this recipe and slight variations on it. Carol recently baked her pie for me and we brought you along to experience the journey of making a perfect pie. Seeing her in action was so much fun!

Carol’s Pie Baking Tips – Step by Step

Chill your bowl and all your pie crust dough ingredients (dry, wet and shortening).

Dough mixture (with chilled shortening already cut in) should resemble cornmeal.Cornmeal Looking Stage

Carol strains her egg/vinegar mixture into the crust’s dry ingredients.

Allow enough time to also chill the dough, for at least an hour. Check out the beautiful texture Carol gets. State Fair Apple Pie dough

For the filling, Carol prefers using a combo of Granny Smith, Braeburn, and Pink Lady apples.

Layer the apples, butter, and raspberries. You’ll get a colorful look that doesn’t “bleed” much or look messy.Layering State Fair Apple Pie

Let your artistic side out by cutting and etching the leaves for the top crust like Carol did.Pie Crust Leaves

Layer and distribute the leaves evenly, so the top crust will bake uniformly.Leaf decoration on State Fair Apple Pie

Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar for some beautiful browning and sparkle.

The pie will be heaping with apples. While baking, the apples shrink, resulting in a full, lush-looking pie.Baked State Fair Apple Pie

The pie cuts beautifully and has a firm yet tender filling.State Fair Apple Pie

This State Fair Apple Raspberry Pie is a classic. Put it on your holiday baking list. And if you want another 2021 Minnesota State Fair winning pie, check out this blue ribbon winner also.

Enjoy!

-Cyndi

 

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

 

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Put these Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies on your must-make baking list. Their flavor shines bright with Chambord black raspberry liqueur, along with orange zest, chocolate chunks, and fresh red raspberries.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Minnesotan Rachael Hood created the cookie for the Blue Ribbon Drop-Style Cookie Contest at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair (a Blue Ribbon Group sponsored contest). She won 1st place and $100 in King Arthur Baking Company gift cards.

I also arranged for Rachael to showcase her cookies on a TV spot with me on KARE 11 Saturday, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis. Yay for hometown PR! We had an absolute blast.

Blue Ribbon Baking 2021

Let’s get back to the cookie itself. If you are intrigued by this cookie, read on for some insights about it and how you can recreate the recipe.

Key Ingredients

With these Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies, the Chambord liqueur is key. It plays off the other ingredients so well, making for a terrific flavor combination that subtle, but not too subtle, and so well balanced with citrus and chocolate elements.

Display of Key Ingredients - Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I especially love the cookie’s scent you take in with each bite and the delicious lingering aftertaste.

Chambord – if you aren’t familiar with it – is a liqueur that combines XO Cognac and French spirits with Madagascan vanilla, honey and Moroccan citrus peel, making it an ideal flavor enhancer for these cookies. It originated in France, the Loire Valley specifically, in the 1600’s. Back then, with the many King Louis of the time, it was popular to sip cognac or liqueurs at fancy French meals.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Fast forward to today, the Chambord brand is owned by the same folks who own Jack Daniels. I was surprised to learn that in addition to black raspberries, they infuse blackberries and blackcurrants into it. You can find it in a variety of sizes. Since I had to go to a couple of stores to find it,I recommend calling ahead, especially if you want a specific size.

Bake Like a Blue Ribbon Winner

As always, before I add a recipe to this Blue Ribbon Foodies blog, there’s a baking test run. Walk through the recipe with us here and then give it a go yourself. The cookies are delicious and highly recommended.

Here’s everything that goes into the cookies (minus the food color), including the liqueur, fresh Driscoll raspberries, orange zest, and all-purpose flour from King Arthur Baking Company.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

You first sift together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

Flour

Next you cream the butter and sugars before adding in the remaining wet ingredients and mixing until smooth. Sorry, no pic. I was too excited to get these into the oven! Finally, add the pre-mixed dry ingredients, and stir just until combined.

Then all that remains prep-wise is to chop the raspberries and gently mix everything together.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies Dough

Put both the fruit and juice in the dough. Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies Ingredients

Your dough should come out a bit like this.

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined baking sheet. You’ll bake these 12-14 minutes at 350 degrees F.Dough on baking sheet

To experiment and to use ingredients already on hand, I varied from Rachael’s recipe just a bit. I used all semi-sweet chocolate chunks instead a combo of dark and milk chocolate and did not chop them fine, opting for larger chocolate pieces. I also used a different red food coloring. Here’s how mine came out!

Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Rachael chopped her chocolate by hand and smaller. She also used McCormick’s red food coloring.  Do both those things and you’ll match the color of Rachael’s cookie dough and end product.

Blue Ribbon Raspberry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

What a delight these were to bake and eat. We invite you to bake and share these cookies, or anything from our recipe collection. If you do, be sure to post a pic on Instagram or Facebook. Be sure we can follow along, by tagging:

  1. @blueribbonfoodies
  2. @mnstatefair
  3. #blueribbonbaking2021
  4. #kingarthurbaking

Hey Hey! You never know when we might do a giveaway!

-Cyndi

 

 

Chewy Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

These Chewy Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies are a well-deserved blue ribbon winning entry from the Washington State Fair.

Chewy Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

The award-winning cookie recipe features the nutty deliciousness of browned butter, combined with oatmeal, coconut, and toffee bits. The cookies are full of flavor and have an amazing aroma. As the finishing step, you drizzle melted chocolate and sprinkle extra toffee bits on top.

Chewy Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Recipe credit goes to Rachel Atwood who won 1st place with this re-invented oatmeal chocolate chip cookie at the Washington State Fair (2015, Gold Medal Cookie Contest). Rachel originally titled them as Brown Butter Coconut Chewies. Magically, they are chewy, crispy, and tender all at the same time.

Chewy Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies are an all-time favorite recipe we make again and again. They wowed the judges at the Washington State Fair and they wow us and every taster every time we bake them.

The recipe takes about two hours max, start to finish and makes about 24 cookies. You might want to double the recipe. It is that good!

Chewy Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

The variety of ingredients in this recipe reminds us of kitchen sink cookies, but the texture is quite different.

Ingredients for Chewy Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Aromatic Browned Butter

Browning the butter is an essential step. Also key, is using these mix-in ingredients: toffee bits, oatmeal, coconut, and rice krispies cereal. Altogether they bring on the cookie’s crispy addictive chewiness. You can almost foresee the texture once you mix the dough.

Chewy Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Before baking, you’ll want to slightly flatten each ball you roll.

Single ball of dough, flattened

Use a scale and make them 1 ounce each if you want a consistent size and look. On the baking sheet, be sure you give ample space, about 3 inches, between the balls of dough, as they spread out more than the average cookie.

Chewy Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies

If you love browned butter like we do, this will become a fast favorite of yours like it did with us. And if you’re looking for another creative oatmeal cookie, check out this strawberries & cream themed one. It will be love at first bite with both. Enjoy!

-Cyndi