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Six Years Of Sweets At The State Fair

Past blue-ribbon winner Gloria Rice of Plymouth has exhibited many sweets at the State Fair.

How about some banana chocolate brownies? Or maybe some maple pecan quick bread? At one point or another you can find those baked goodies and more in Gloria Rice's kitchen.

Rice, 55, of Plymouth has been entering her breads, cookies, brownies and other goodies into  competitions for the past six years. In 2010, she won a blue ribbon for her maple pecan quick bread.

But among her family and friends, her brownies reign supreme and it's because of a family inspiration.

"I add banana to the mix," Gloria Rice said. "My mom, Malka, did that with her chocolate cakes and that's why they were so moist and good."

Most people can't taste much of the banana flavor, but the brownies are moist.

As a true Minnesotan, Rice has been going to the fair for 30 years. She always enjoyed looking at all the baked goods exhibited and six years ago decided she could do that.

"It's simple to register and enter and I like to be competitive," Rice said. "I enjoy baking because it gives me an excuse to bake and experiment on something that I can feed family, co-workers and friends."

Rice finds she tastes many desserts that are too sweet for her so she often tweaks recipes and scales back the sugar and often uses salted butter.

"I just find something comforting about a bowl of brownie batter and melted chocolate," Rice said. "I'm proud of my baked goods that I make and it's fun to see them at the fair."

Baking is a fun pass time for Rice who recently took a voluntary layoff from her 32-year job at the University of Minnesota. Her husband Tim works at Best Buy in Bloomington, but his job at home is also important.

"He's the official pan washer," Rice said.

Her family is her biggest baking fan club. Rice's nephew Elliott, 3, of Greenfield, comes to visit often to be the official taste tester.

Rice said she will continue to enter her goodies into the State Fair. This year she entered her banana brownies, strawberry pecan quick bread, banana bread, chocolate chip cookies and apricot almond shortbread bars in the fair. Unfortunately, she did not win first place for her entries in 2011.

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