• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 35s

Harvesting Alaska: Fair competition brings out generations of bakers

By Heather Hintze 10:25 AM August 29, 2016
PALMER –

As the deadline neared for the baked goods competition at the 80th annual Alaska State Fair, dozens of people filled Hoskins Hall, eager to drop off their entries.

Among them, Teresa Taylor and her box full of goodies: several plates of cookies and a bag of peanut brittle.

She and her daughter Heidi Taylor enter in different categories every year so they don’t have to compete against each other.

The two have more than a dozen entries combined.

“Let’s see, what did I make?” Teresa had to think for a second. “Snickerdoodles, molasses cookies, traditional chocolate chip, habanero-peanut brittle, Hawaiian tea cookies and almond short bread thumb prints. I think that’s it.”

Heidi’s list is almost as extensive.

“Peanut goody bars, chocolate pecan bars,” she listed off. “Peppermint meltaways, lemon meltaways and peanut butter oatmeal cookies.”

Teresa’s mother-in-law, Alice Taylor, taught her how to bake when Teresa married into the family. Alice handed down her prize-winning molasses cookie recipe that’s also a family favorite, too.

Hannah, Teresa’s oldest daughter, got married last June and wanted a cookie bar instead of a wedding cake.

“Because grandma was not able to make it to the wedding, she wanted grandma’s molasses cookie there to honor grandma,” Teresa said. “It was pretty sweet. So I made 1,600 cookies for her wedding.”

Heidi is confident her mom’s cookie will bring home the blue ribbon again, maybe even a second grand champion award.

“She will win. It’s not really a competition. It’s the best recipe, grandma’s recipe,” Heidi said.

So how did the Taylor molasses cookies stack up against the competition?

Long-time judge John Vinduska knows what makes a good cookie.

“Taste is the obvious thing. But the effort they put into it. You don’t want to see a burnt one or an undercooked one,” he explained.

He had an entire table full to taste but started with the molasses division with six entries.

“This one that looks good also tastes super,” he pointed to the fourth plate.

Those were Teresa’s cookies; Grandma Alice’s recipe goes home a winner again.

Teresa said that’s just one reason why she’ll keep coming back.

“My mother-in-law is not with us, she passed away in October so I plan on carrying that tradition as long as I’m here and if I’m not here my girls will do it — or my boys even,” she said.

There’s another opportunity to enter the baked goods competition. The second round of entries are due on Wednesday, Aug. 31 by 9 p.m.

Teresa said she’s not sure what she’ll make for the second round, but you can count on molasses cookies making another showing.

“It’s what we do,” she laughed. “Friends have said your house at fair time is better than Christmas. This is what we do.”

KTVA 11′s Heather Hintze can be reached via email or on Facebook and Twitter.

Latest Stories

  • Weather

    Spring snow storm closes Anchorage schools

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 29, 6:45

    Last updated at 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday, March 29 The Anchorage School District closed schools Wednesday because of poor road conditions, following an overnight snow storm. District spokesperson Heidi Embley said after school events were cancelled, as well. This is the first snow day of the current school year, she noted. “And probably (the) first […]

  • Lifestyle

    “Groundbreaking” technology restores movement in paralyzed man

    by Ashley Welch / CBS News on Mar 28, 20:42

    For the first time, a paralyzed man has regained functional arm movement and is able to feed himself using his own hand as a result of new technology that reconnects his brain with his muscles. Bill Kochevar, now 53, suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a bicycle accident eight years ago that left him completely […]

  • Sports

    Dimond Lynx cap off magical season

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 20:37

    The Dimond High School Lynx had one of those years: nine seniors will ride off with a 4A state title. Head coach Brad Lauwers and three of those seniors stopped by KTVA on Tuesday to sit down with Dave Goldman to discuss the championship run. Follow KTVA 11 Sports on Facebook and Twitter. Did you […]

  • News

    House votes to block Obama-era online privacy rules

    by Associated Press on Mar 28, 20:25

    The House has voted to block online privacy regulations issued during the final months of the Obama administration. It’s the first step toward allowing internet providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to sell the browsing habits of their customers. The Federal Communications Commission rule was designed to give consumers greater control over how internet […]

  • News

    Some Juneau property values will increase, city officials say

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 19:24

    About 60 percent of homeowners in Juneau will see the value of their homes increase, according to city officials. The City and Borough of Juneau’s assessor office mailed out property value notices Tuesday, an annual requirement under state law. The city has more than 12,600 taxable properties across more than 20 geographic neighborhoods. Many residential neighborhoods have homes […]

  • Politics

    State and local lawmakers call for more transparency on health care costs

    by Liz Raines on Mar 28, 18:57

    The price of health care in Alaska is higher than anywhere else in the nation. With national reform on the back burner, state lawmakers in Juneau are joining with the Anchorage Assembly in demanding more transparency from health care providers. Both local and state officials want to put a price tag on procedures. Last month, the […]

  • Politics

    Anchorage School District wants voters to say yes to bond package

    by Lauren Maxwell on Mar 28, 18:50

    The Anchorage School District is hoping the second time’s a charm when it comes to approving school bonds in the upcoming April election. Voters narrowly defeated the district’s bond package last year. Mike Nero, the director of capital planning and construction for the district, said the $58.5 million bond proposal will pay for roof replacements […]

  • Weather

    Hello spring? Anchorage may get 5 to 9 inches of snow overnight

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Mar 28, 16:41

    The National Weather Service says Anchorage residents should expect between 5 and 9 inches of wet snow through Wednesday morning. The NWS issued a winter weather advisory that will be in effect from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 10 a.m. Wednesday. Watch the entire KTVA Weather forecast at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. “Periods of snow […]