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Wednesday, April 09, 2008 

Food Section Wednesday

The Deseret Morning News is a newspaper published in Salt Lake City, Utah, and is Utah's oldest continually published daily newspaper. Today in their food section, Valerie Phillips writes of her experience covering a Pillsbury Bake-off and the recipe that almost could...
..Outside, a devastating tornado roared through Florida, and there was drama in the judges' chambers, too. I sat next to one of the judges during the press conference the next day and was told in hushed tones that the group had been deadlocked between Mathews' Salsa Couscous Chicken and Edwina Gadsby's Brownie Souffle Cake. They debated the merits of each. Which best fit Pillsbury's "quick and easy" format? Which would home cooks be likely to make? Was couscous too weird?

...When Gadsby accepted a $10,000 runner-up prize and a Whirlpool appliance, she donated the appliance to someone left homeless from the tornado. I got a bit teary-eyed, as she had no idea how close she had come to the big money. She found out later, because several reporters wrote about it. - Deseret Morning News


Mint Cream:
2/3 cup whipping cream
3 ounces white chocolate baking bar, finely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract

1 package fudge brownie mix
1/4 cup flour (for Utah altitude; if at sea level, omit flour)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1/2 to 1 teaspoon mint extract
4 eggs, separated
Powdered sugar
Mint sprigs for garnish

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. In a bowl, microwave whipping cream on high 45-60 seconds, or until warm. Add white chocolate and mint extract; stir until chocolate is melted. Refrigerate 1 hour or until well-chilled.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine brownie mix, flour, water, oil, mint extract and egg yolks. Beat 50 strokes with spoon. In small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks foam. Gradually fold into brownie mixture. Pour batter into sprayed pan. Bake at 375 degrees 32-38 minutes, or until center is almost set. Cool 30 minutes. Center will sink slightly. Carefully remove sides of pan. Sprinkle top of cake with powdered sugar. Beat chilled mint cream until soft peaks form. Cut cake into wedges; top each with mint cream. Garnish with mint sprigs. Serves 12.

You can find more Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest favorites over at Yahoo! Food.

Speaking of Pillsbury Bake-Off Champions, one is a fellow blogger! Anna Ginsberg of Austin, TX, who cooks up literary deliciousness on cookiemadness.

In amateur recipe-contest circles, there's an expectation that once you've won the "Big One," the Pillsbury Bake-Off, you can sit back and rest on your culinary laurels.

But not so for Anna Ginsberg of Austin, Texas, who won the 2006 Bake-Off for her Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing.

Since then, she's won $7,500 from Family Circle magazine for a chicken and pasta dish, and $5,000 in a Betty Crocker cookie contest. She was also a 2006 finalist in Cooking Light's Ultimate Reader Recipe Contest.

"So I'm still in the game," she said in a telephone interview from her home. "But winning the Bake-Off has taken some of the pressure off. I only enter contests I'm really interested in, and I share more recipes than keeping them secret. I'm becoming more of a cheerleader for competitive cooking as a hobby."

...That morning when Ginsberg answered her phone, she was experimenting with a small-scale batch of carrot cookies. She had made various versions, including some with prune baby food, and planned to report on them in her blog, Cookiemadness.net.

"It's been fun doing a blog. Through the Internet I've met people who are really obsessive about (baking), and we share ideas and recipes. I do a lot of baking. I eat a little and send the rest to my husband's office." - Deseret Morning News

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I find the whole bake-off thing so intriguing! It makes me think that I need to do a heck of a lot more experimenting.
This was so interesting to read. Thanks for sharing it!

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