Well, it looks like I’m getting dragged to the Minnesota State Fair after all. It’s been a few years – but not long enough! LOL. Hot temps + tons of people + tons of noise + obnoxious smell of grease everywhere… not my bag, I hate to say. Back in 2009, I struck a deal with my husband that resulted in a couple years of not having to go – and in the creation of “beer battered corn on the cob.. on a stick”. Well, I don’t have the kitchen or the brainpower to come up with a deal this year, so… we’re going! LOL
Around the time of the fair, Minnesotans really focus on new, unique foods. Yes, a lot of the time this means just “X Food… ON A STICK”, but, still. It’s sometimes fun to hear of the creative ways that vendors are coming up with ways to either add calories, put it on a stick, or Minnesota-it-up with various foods. Hell, even Caprese salad can be “Minnesota’d up”, as long as you serve it on a bed of wild rice! (?)
A couple years ago, I decided to “Minnesota-up” an old fashioned dessert – the Baked Alaska. There is a HUGE emphasis on camping, camp fires, etc here – moreso than anywhere I’ve ever lived – so I decided to do a Smores themed version. Custom designed a base – a graham cracker flavored cookie – and went from there. These are individual sized servings – smaller than a normal baked Alaska.
The result was awesome. So much fun, and perfect for this coming long weekend!
Enjoy, and have a great labor day weekend!
Graham Cookies (Makes 12 large cookies)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine crumbs, flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, set aside.
Cream together sugars and softened butter. Add eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth. Slowly add dry ingredient mixture, mix until fully incorporated. Add chopped cherries, stir just until evenly distributed.
Roll dough into 1.5” balls, and place on un-greased cookie sheets, leaving 2″ between cookies. Flatten slightly.
Bake for 13-15 minutes. Cookies will puff during baking, be soft when removed, and will flatten and set when removed from the oven.
Cool on cookie sheet for about 2 minutes, until cookies are set. Move cookies to wire rack to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, chill thoroughly.
For Mini “Baked Minnesotas”
1 batch Graham cookies, chilled
Chocolate ice cream
6 large egg whites
dash of lemon juice
3/4 cup super fine sugar*
Arrange graham cookies on a cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each. Top each cookie with a scoop of chocolate ice cream, place in freezer.
Preheat oven to 450°F*
Using a very clean mixer with a very clean whisk attachment,beat egg whites together with lemon juice until glossy peaks form. Slowly add in the sugar, and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
Remove cookies/ice cream from the freezer, slather each generously with the meringue. Make sure the meringue is thick and comes all the way down to the cookie – you are insulating the ice cream from the heat of the oven!
Place in oven and bake until edges of the meringue start to brown, 2-5 minutes or so.
While baked Minnesotas are in the oven, drizzle each individual serving plate with some chocolate sauce. Serve immediately after removal from the oven!
*Alternatively, preheat your broiler. Alternatively to THAT, forget your oven, and just “toast” the edges of your meringue with a kitchen torch!