Recap: Holiday Baking Championship 2.5 "Ginger and Spice and Everything Nice"

Dec 01, 2015 by Sarah Moffatt

For this week’s pre-heat challenge, the remaining six contestants were asked to integrate the tricky, tricky flavor of candied ginger into mini-desserts. Though it sounds simple enough, candied ginger is a fickle ingredient; it can be too strong or not strong enough very easily, so it’s important and difficult to find the perfect balance.

Every single person struggled to make the ginger stand out in their dessert, except for Steve.

Steve made a rather boring and plain-looking gingersnap ice cream sandwich with an otherwise forgettable ginger-vanilla ice cream filling. But unlike all the other desserts, the judges could taste the ginger in Steve’s, so he won a 10-minute head start going into the main heat challenge.

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For the main heat, the contestants were given 90 minutes (except Steve and his 10-minute head start) to create 3 different cookies that represent their own family traditions.

In addition to having to make 36 cookies total, the bakers were given surprise cooking tools with the mandate to use at least one: a muffin tin, a meat crusher, or a candy thermometer.

Maeve was feeling brave and made the same ginger chew she made in the pre-heat since the judges loved it so much. She created a beautiful plate of the ginger chew, orange cardamom tea cookie, and a hazel raisin cookie, which landed her in the top two.

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Melody managed to keep her head screwed on straight this week without having a total meltdown. She made her son’s favorite cookies: a sugar cookie, a pecan cranberry cinnamon cookie, and a molasses cookie. Her presentation paled in the comparison to Maeve’s, but the judges liked the combination of Melody’s cookies better, giving her the win.

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For the first time, Adalberto was in the bottom two, which wasn’t shocking. He struggled this week with his execution and his display wasn’t the beautiful artwork we’ve come to expect from him. As Nancy would (annoyingly) say: It wasn’t a $50,000 plate.

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But, fortunately for Adalberto, Padua broke his glass mixing bowl, causing him to lose a ton of time and a whole batch of cookie dough. He was forced to adapt the leftover shortbread dough into a new cookie. Though his effort was valiant, the judges saw right through him and weren’t too happy with the idea of him serving 2 similar cookies rather than 3 different ones. For that, he was sent home.

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Watch new episodes of Holiday Baking Championship at 9pm ET Sundays on Food Network.

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