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How sweet State Fair is for cinnamon roll winner

August 22, 2010
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

How sweet it is.

Out of 132 entrants in the Tones Cinnamon Rolls class at the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 12, Janice Nostrom, of Humboldt, entered the best rolls.

Her caramel nut cinnamon rolls will buy her some new clothes and take her on a mother-daughter vacation next fall because Nostrom gets $3,000 for winning. Really $3,500 because she won $500 for winning the caramel rolls division on her way to winning the whole shebang.

She was at the fair for the judging, she said, "because that makes it even more exciting."

When her name was called for winning the caramel rolls division, she could barely believe her ears, and when the judge said, "the overall winner is ..." she must have sucked in her breath big time because the person next to her thought she was hyperventilating.

"No, I'm all right," she got out. "I'm just completely in shock."

When her husband, Harold, who stayed home, heard about the win, he, too, seemed a bit unnerved. But now, Nostrom said, he's bragging about her to anyone who will listen.

"I used to sell cinnamon rolls," Nostrom said. "But I don't do that anymore. I'm 73 years old."

That's not so old in cinnamon roll terms, I guess, because she still likes to bake them, and her family and friends like to eat them. I'm thinking about moving to Humboldt.

Nostrom said her recipe isn't anything special, just a recipe her daughter got from a friend where she works.

"I wonder if it's the fact that I use butter," she said. "One time a judge at the Clay County Fair said, 'next time, try butter,' so that has stuck with me. I use everything fresh when I make the rolls. And I use toasted pecans. I toast them, and I think that really helps."

There were three divisions in the cinnamon roll class at the fair. Frosted, caramel and non-traditional.

"There was every shape and description of rolls," Nostrom said. "The non-traditional winner had pork sausage and barbecue sauce."

Getting past barbecue sauce on a sweet roll, it's likely that winner was like a roll-up type sausage sandwich. At least, that's how I'm thinking. And that would be non-traditional, all right.

And, before I forget - Marianne Carlson, of Jefferson, won a bunch of contests at the state fair, even though she can't enter her cinnamon rolls any more.

She won second in the meatloaf contest, which is sponsored by Fareway, and won a $50 store card. She placed second in the Tones Week Nights Sweet Treats contest and won $250. For that she made a toffee which contained Chipotle Chile Powder and added Kettle Cooked Potato Chips to the toffee and drizzled bittersweet chocolate over the top. It's salty and sweet, with a warm spicy taste after you eat a piece.

Carlson also won the Tone's Cookie/Bar contest for $500 and got second in the fudge contest for $300.

Who knew a person could use their baking and cooking skills so lucratively?

Oh, and if you're wondering about her peach pie recipe from last week's paper, there should be 1/4 flour mixed in with the sugar and cinnamon to be a thickening agent.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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