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American Baking Competition Review: COOKIES!

Last week on CBS’ American Baking Competition, we met the contestants and they had varying success with pies and tarts, resulting in tears for a few.

This week? Cookies!

We start off with the Signature Bake: make present a dozen cookies of your favorite recipe. Judge Paul Hollywood claims that making a dozen cookies in 90 minutes is really hard, and I hope I misheard him, because… what?!?

Cookies from ABC

I like the Signature Bake challenges of the episodes, because the bakers all have nice stories about the cookies they are making. Effie makes rosemary cherry Meyer lemon shortbread cookies, and I really, really want those. Elaine is taking a risk because it turns out ginger cookies are judge Paul’s favorite, so my fingers are crossed for her.

Francine has to go and name her cookies “Slap Yo Mama" and in about one more episode I’m betting her Southern charm goes by the wayside and she ups the snark.

Brian decides to do another batch of his chocolate chip cookies because his first batch isn’t up to his Type-A standards. He covers the finished tray with a kitchen towel, and you can tell by the whispers this isn’t going to end well.

Darlene’s rose crumble cookies don’t stack up, but my son says he would eat a LOT of them. Jeremy is commended for actually finishing the recipe. Whitney doesn’t do well yet again, and I have to wonder why they cast someone so seemingly inexperienced.

Predictably Brian gets called out for the other cookies, although to be fair, I don’t recall any rule being stated that everything must be presented, just one dozen. It seems like a weird rule and doesn’t make sense for a cooking competition. Contestants often have to re-make a recipe, and if they have time to finish, more power to them, I say.

Challenge two is s’mores! But not the s’mores we typically know; these are more like Mallomars. They get Judge Marcella’s s’more recipe, but it’s purposely missing some instructions to see how they do. Somehow Elaine has made it through many years of life without eating a s’more. Girl, have you never been to a campfire?

None of the contestants do really well, either failing in the flavor or the chocolate coating. Effie ends up on top, and we’re treated with a little cursing from Francine, who gets second. Seems Francine took last week’s success a little to close to heart.

The showstopper challenge is, deservedly, the macaron. Half the group groans. I’ve made macarons and after making beautiful ones my first two times, I failed again and again and decided I’d rather buy them than deal with that trouble. I feel your pain, contestants!

Whitney and Kolette do the worst, both presenting messy hamburger-looking macarons, with Kolette tearing up when she presents. Marcella gives her the advice to stay away from glitter on her food, and beglittered Kolette admits this is hard. Thank you Marcella! Eaters should never have to suspect if what is on the food fell off the baker’s face.

The Star Baker is Elaine! I guess you don’t need to eat s’mores to be a success. The vibrant color and flavor of her macarons put her over the edge, as well as Paul’s nostalgia for ginger cookies. Young Whitney is sent home. I feel bad for about a minute, but then my husband and I have an argument about why she was cast when she did so poorly on every challenge, and I decide the casting team is to blame. Sorry Whitney. I hope you got a pass on some of the college exams missed during filming.

Next week, cake recipes or death! I mean, cake.