“Folks have been chasing blue ribbons and bragging rights at the N.C. State Fair since 1853,” said Lisa. In this episode, Lisa shares behind the scenes of one of the N.C. State Fair cooking competitions. She then gets one of the State Fair’s all-time champion, Gail Fuller of Raleigh, to share several of her blue-ribbon winning dishes.
With an annual attendance of more that 800,000, the N.C. State Fair is the state’s largest annual event. About 36,000 items are entered each year into contests at the fair. This year’s N.C. State Fair is Oct. 15-25. Tickets are available online and at walk-up locations in the greater-Triangle area. Each day also features a cooking competition sponsored by a North Carolina commodity association or a national food brand. Below is a blue-ribbon-winning recipe for Caramel Cheetos provided by Gail Fuller.
- 1 9 ½ oz. bag Cheetos
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ cup light or dark Karo syrup
- ½ cup butter
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Place Cheetos in a large greased, oven-safe bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add baking soda and vanilla. Pour over Cheetos and stir to coat. Place in preheated oven and bake for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and spread on a baking sheet, separating each piece. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Makes 6-8 servings.