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Award-winning recipes

By Staff | Feb 11, 2011

Jan Nostrom, of Humboldt, pours a bowl of her five-hour beef stew. It is one of her favorite winter time comfort foods.


Farm News staff writer

Humboldt – Jan Nostrom said she loves a little competition from time to time, and that that love has led to years of food competing in food contests.

Nostrom lives on her family’s farm southwest of Humboldt with her husband of 55 years, Harold. Together they have four adult children – Barb Oberbroeckling, Carolyn Hartmann, Bud Nostrom and Dutch Nostrom.

Growing up Nostrom was an only child and said because of her small family her mother didn’t need a lot of food prep and cooking help. However, she added, she enjoyed spending time in the kitchen helping anyway.

These sweet dough caramel cinnamon rolls won Jan Nostrom not only a blue ribbon at the Iowa State Fair last August, but $3,500 as well. She was the first-place winner in the caramel division and overall winner out of 132 entries.

And she really became involved in baking and cooking once she was married and had a family of her own.

Nostrom said she mostly enjoys baking, especially bread, pies and rolls and has excelled over the years in competitions, especially at the Clay County Fair and a few at the Iowa State Fair.

Nostrom and her daughter, Carolyn, will each usually take 40 entries to the Spencer fair. In fact, Nostrom said her husband has even designed a shelf unit that fits into their van so transporting the several pies, various kinds of breads, cookies and rolls up north goes without flaw.

She has entered up to 16 fruit pies at the Clay County Fair and used to throw a gathering after judging was complete to help finish up the pies.

“They take one piece out for judging and send it back, so every Sunday for about three years we would have over 70 people out for pie and ice cream and the left over bread was used for sandwiches and we had my daughter’s cookies as well,” said Nostrom. “It was an all day event.”

Rolls, pies and bread are all favorites for Jan Nostrom to bake. Here she has her award-winning sour dough caramel cinnamon rolls, raisin cream pie and honey wheat bread.

Food competitions for Nostrom started several years ago at the Humboldt County level. It was there she worked her way up from competitor, to judge and then superintendent until they dropped the contest and she began competing at the Clay County Fair, which she has been for about 12 or 13 years now.

Although the Clay County Fair is primarily the fair she and her daughter compete in, she has entered at the Iowa State Fair a few times with much success last summer.

Nostrom entered her sweet dough caramel cinnamon rolls and won first place in the caramel division and was overall winner out of 132 entries in the Iowa State Fair Tone’s Cinnamon Roll Contest. In addition to a large blue ribbon, she was also presented a check for $3,500.

The recipe, she said is nothing special or one that has even been passed down from generation to generation.

“I think my daughter got the recipe from someone at work. It’s not a special recipe or anything,” she said.

She said it could be she toasts the pecans and adds vanilla into her dough that gives her rolls the extra little bit it took to win.

This was the biggest prize she has ever won, but has won quite big before. In 2007 she won $1,000 for her frosted cinnamon rolls and her daughter has also brought home big prizes, as well; not to mention the other years of many successes that have led to numerous ribbons awarded.

Nostrom is also very active at Faith United Methodist Church in Humboldt as a circle leader, evangelism committee and other local church activities.

She is also a member of the Silver Sisters singing group and she still enjoys 4-H activities, such as presenting a roll demonstration for a local 4-H club. She will assist fair judges at the Humboldt County Fair and her and her husband are members of the 4-H Hall of Fame.

Sweet dough caramel

cinnamon rolls

1 1/2 cups warm water (105 to 115 degrees)

1 package dry yeast

1/3 cup nonfat dry milk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Tones clear vanilla

1 beaten egg

5 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the dry milk, butter, sugar, salt, vanilla and the beaten egg. Mix together well.

Slowly mix in the flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl turning over to grease all sides. Cover and let rise until double in bulk, about one hour.

Punch dough down.

Roll out onto a lightly floured board and with a rolling pin form a 12-by-16-inch size.


1/4 cup melted butter

1/3 cup white sugar

1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Spread onto the dough the melted butter. Sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar, which has been mixed together, sprinkle evenly over the batter.

Roll up in a jellyroll manner. Cut eight rolls, two-inches wide and place them into two 8-by-8-inch pans which have the caramel syrup mixture in the bottom.

“I use a thread to cut the rolls,”?Nostrum said. “It works beautifully and keeps them from squishing together.”

Caramel syrup mixture

1/4 cup white syrup

1 cup brown sugar

3 Tablespoons whipping cream

1 to 11/2 cups toasted pecans

Mix together butter, brown sugar, syrup and whipping cream in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, and boil for three minutes or, if using a candy thermometer, 230 degrees.

Pour into two, 8-by-8-inch pans and evenly distribute pecans on top of syrup. (This syrup needs to be made while bread is rising the first time).

Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and let rolls rise until doubled in size. Remove plastic and towel and bake in a 350 degree oven for 18 to 22 minutes.

After removing pans from the oven let them set about four minutes before inverting them onto a nonstick paper. “I use freezer paper and it works great,”?Norstrom said.

Honey wheat bread

1 1/4 cups water (70 to 80 degrees)

2 1/4 teaspoon dry active yeast

3 tablespoons honey

4 1/2 teaspoon margarine

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

2 1/3 cups white bread flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Add margarine. Add honey, sugar, dry milk and salt.

Gradually add the flour until a soft dough forms. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Place dough in a large greased bowl, turning over once to grease the top. Cover and let rise until double in bulk.

Punch dough down and form into loaves. This will make one large and one smaller loaf. Put into greased loaf pans and let rise. Bake at 365 degrees and for 25 minutes.

Five-hour beef stew

1 1/2 to 2 pounds cubed beef

2 cups cubed carrots

2 cups cubed potatoes

1 cup celery, chunked

3/4 cup of onions, chopped

2 1/2 cups tomato juice

3 tablespoons minute tapioca

1 tablespoon sugar

Mix together in a covered Corning dish or Dutch oven. Bake for five hours at 250 degrees. Don’t peek.

Raisin cream pie

1 1/2 cups raisins

1 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups Half and Half

4 egg yolks

4 egg whites to be used for meringue

In a medium pan, combine raisins and water. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for five minutes.

Stir together sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir in the Half and Half until well combined. Stir into the raisin mixture.

Stir one cup of hot mixture into the four egg yolks that you have blended with a fork. Return egg yolk mixture to the hot filling in the pan.

Bring to a gentle boil. Cook and stir mixture for two minutes more. Keep warm. Pour into a 9-inch pastry-lined pie shell which has been pre-baked.


4 egg whites – room temperature

1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter

1 tablespoon dry cornstarch

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Combine cornstarch, powdered sugar and salt. Add to the egg whites, beat with a mixer on high speed until stiff.

Spoon meringue onto pie filling, sealing to edge of the crust. Make swirls. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Dee-Lishus cookies

1 cup white sugar

1 cup butter

1 egg

1 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon coconut flavoring (optional)

1 teaspoon cream of tarter

1 teaspoon soda

1 cup Rice Krispies

1 cup coconut

1 cup quick oatmeal

3/4 cup chopped pecans

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Mix ingredients in order given. Drop by spoonfuls on lightly greased cookie sheet.

Press with fork and bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes.

Recipe will make 5 to 6 dozen, depending on the size.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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