From quick breads and cakes to molasses and chocolate, this year's Minnesota State Fair (Aug. 22 through Sept. 2) has plenty of contests for kids and adults. New this year is the Web site http://www.statefairrecipes.com, which has information on fair contests and State Fair trivia. You also can buy a $20 subscription to receive winning recipes, contest tips and more. Here's a rundown on this year's contests. Next year you could be listed on the winners' page:
• Calling all kids: New this year is the Kids' Gold Medal Cookie Contest, which asks bakers ages 8 to 13 to create, bake and decorate a cookie inspired by a favorite book (one idea was Three Bear Pops). The only requirements are imagination and the use of Gold Medal flour. First prize is $150, second is $75 and third is $25.
• Baking challenge: Start baking your chocolate dessert for the Nestle Toll House Contest. Entrants could win $100, $50 or $25 -- and a boatload of goodies -- for using Nestle's Choco Bake, unsweetened baking chocolate, semisweet baking chocolate, cocoa or Premier White baking bars in recipes. (That's right: Chips aren't eligible this year.)
• Hop to it: The Brer Rabbit Molasses Gingerbread House Contest returns for its second year, giving participants the chance to combine architecture and cooking. The house can be any theme (it can be up to a foot tall, wide and deep), and you also must bake and enter a dozen gingerbread cookies. Entries are judged on appearance, originality and taste. Prizes: $150, $75 and $25.
• Quick, bread! This year, Pillsbury and Clabber Girl both will debut quick bread contests at the fair. Clabber Girl invites bakers to submit any quick-bread product -- from Bundt cakes and scones to coffeecake and cornbread -- using its baking powder. Prizes: Clabber Girl products; first and second place receive $50 and $25. The Pillsbury contest is looking for baked goods using any of the 11 Pillsbury quick bread mixes. Prizes: $150, $75 and $50.
• Take the cake: Create a blue-ribbon cake-flour cake for the Softasilk Cake Contest, which is a tradition at fairs across America. Prizes: $100, $50 and $25; top winner will be entered in the national contest.
• Rise to the occasion: Breadworld.com will give up to $275 in prizes at the State Fair this year. Enter any bread flavor or shape using Fleischmann's yeast, as a single or an adult-child team. Here's an incentive: If your adult-child team wins locally, you'll get to compete in the national contest, where the grand prize is an Orlando vacation for four.
• The heat is on: Tabasco is sponsoring the Tex-Mex Challenge and is looking for recipes using the green version of its pepper sauce. Dishes are judged on taste, appearance, ease of preparation and originality. Prizes: $100, $50 and $25.
• It's pie time: Break out the fruit filling, it's time for the Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust Championship. Pie should use the Pillsbury pie crusts and will be judged on taste, appearance, creativity, ease of preparation and general appeal. Prizes: $125, $75 and $50.
• Spam it: The annual Spam contest returns and is seeking recipes using Spam Oven Roasted Turkey and up to nine other ingredients. Cooking time cannot exceed 30 minutes. Prizes: $150, $50 and $25; top winner will advance to the nationals.
To enter any of the contests, call the Minnesota State Fair entry office at
Poll: Which 2013 Taste Holiday Cookie Contest entry do you most want to try?