Earlier this year, I had a chance to participate in something very, very, very outside of my comfort zone. I auditioned for The Great Holiday Baking Show, which will finally be airing tonight at 10:00 on ABC. I’ve been anxiously awaiting the airing of this show for months, and am excited to recognize one of the contestants from my audition day. I’m even more excited that this individual was the one person who I instantly felt would be an amazing contestant after only a few minutes of conversation with them. I’m choosing to keep the identity of this particular contestant to myself, and crossing my fingers that they will win the competition. They have such a fun outgoing personality, and I just know that the show will be the better for it.
I’m not even sure that there are enough “very’s” in this world to adequately describe how uncomfortable the cooking show contestant audition experience was for me. The show itself is being produced by the same production company that is responsible for The Great British Bake Off, which thankfully I had never seen before my trip to NYC to audition. B.O.B. Bob and I have since viewed the show together several times, while glancing back and forth at one another every few minutes stating how I would have totally sucked at being on a television show like this one. Hell, any television show at all for that matter. Can you imagine the amount of bleeping there would be, due to my foul language? Hot damn, they wouldn’t know what had hit them. And let’s not even talk about the panic attacks I would suffer before, during, and after filming.
For the cooking competition try-outs, I was given the task of creating three recipes. The first was a loaf of bread, using a recipe given to me by the television show producers. Let’s just say that that was by far the worst loaf of bread every created on the face of this Earth, and even after almost a half a dozen attempts, it never got any better. I would love to blame it on the producer’s horrendous beyond-basic recipe, but I’m sure my hate for anything involving yeast played a huge part as well in the creation of the most inedible loaf of bread ever to come out of an oven. The second recipe for the competition needed to be savory, and I came up with these Chipotle Pecorino Romano Shortbread cookies to fit the bill. They were absolutely amazing, and received many great compliments. I have to admit that this savory cookie is one of the best things to ever come out of my oven, and I will be making them again soon, only with bacon this time around. My final recipe was of the sweet variety, so I chose to revisit my previous recipe for Boom Chicka Popcorn Brownies, and improve upon them for the judges.
It was extremely hard to decide on recipes for this challenge, because of the need to take two flights to reach my final destination. It’s hard enough sometimes to get baked goods to a party or a friend’s home safely intact. Imagine the feat I had to get three baked items safely to NYC in carry-on luggage, shoved in the overhead compartment of an airplane. Many of the other contestants I had the pleasure of meeting the day of my audition did not share the same experience. They were either from New York or New Jersey, and were therefore lucky enough to live nearby the audition site. I felt very envious of them, because they had the option to bake some really amazing things, while I was stuck creating recipes that would travel well. In the end though, it was for the best. I was happy with my “bakes,” and enjoyed my entire experience, and still thank the Lord above every night that they didn’t choose me.
Now about these brownies. They are just so darn yummy. The first time I made these brownies, I added popcorn to the batter, and absolutely hated the result. It was not my thing. Soggy popcorn is disgusting, and should be avoided at all costs. The second time around I was absolutely delighted with the outcome. These are moist, chewy, sweet and salty brownies. These little squares of sweetness will satisfy any craving you have, and are the perfect treat to indulge in while watching The Great Holiday Baking Show. I hope you’ll view along with me and share your thoughts on the show. B.O.B. Bob and I will be watching together as we shake our heads and exclaim again and again how much I would have totally sucked at being a contestant on this show. As you watch, I’m sure you’ll even notice that without me involved in the show, there is a distinctly noticeable lack of words being bleeped. That’s a good thing.
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1 1/2 Cups Granulated Sugar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
- 1/3 Cup Water
- 1 (3.5-oz.) Lindt Sweet Popcorn HELLO Bar, Finely Chopped
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Whole Egg
- 1 Egg Yolk
- 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- 1 (3.5-oz.) Lindt Sweet Popcorn HELLO Bar, Finely Chopped
- 2 Tablespoons Whole Milk
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line an 8×8 pan with tin foil, and then coat well with cooking spray; set aside.
- Over high heat, in a medium saucepan, melt the butter, sugar, kosher salt, cocoa, and water together, whisking until completely melted.
- Stir in the chopped candy bar, and whisk until completely melted.
- Remove from heat, add the vanilla, and whisk well.
- Temper the whole egg and egg yolk with a 1/4-cup of the mixture, and then pour the egg into the pan and whisk until combined.
- Fold in the flour, just until incorporated, with a silicone spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and tap on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven; set aside.
- In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the remaining chocolate bar with the milk, stirring constantly.
- Spread the melted chocolate over the brownies, using a silicone spatula to create an even layer over the surface.
- Allow to come to room temperature, before attempting to cut into squares.
- Make sure not to over mix the brownie batter.
- Refrigerate the brownies for several hours before attempting to cut them into squares.
- Add finely chopped peanuts to the brownie batter.
- Serve alongside freshly buttered and salted popcorn.
Come Join Us in the Kitchen!
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