Just Desserts: What’s Cooking with American Baking Competition’s Paul Hollywood

103041_D01551b.jpgAs we gear up for the finale of the CBS reality series, “The American Baking Competition,” all eyes are on Francine, Darlene and Brian – the three finalists who are about to hit the baking stratosphere as long as they impress judges Marcela Valladolid and Paul Hollywood.
We recently got the chance to chat with celebrity judge Paul Hollywood who shares the ins and outs of the competition and even discloses his favorite desserts. And we’ve even got one of Paul’s spectacular recipes that was featured on the show last week.
Take a look…
Question: How do the American bakers differ from the ones he encountered on the UK show?
Paul: I can’t help remembering how he looked when Francine presented him with the chocolate and bacon pie… and his surprise that it tasted great. The flavour combinations that they used were very different. The standard was the same and overall I was very impressed but the flavours were often those I hadn’t come across together before.
Question: Have the Americans have inspired him to try different flavors in his own baking?
Paul: Yes. I was going to use bacon in a tart the other day which is something I’ve never done before
Question: Out of all the desserts that we’ve seen so far on the show, which ones have been some of his favorites?
Paul: The technical challenge of the large chocolate soufflé was incredible. As was Effie’s millefeuille – really delicious
Question: What is the difference between baking powder and baking soda?
Paul: Baking powder contains baking soda combined with a packing agent
Question: Can you substitute oil for butter or margarine when baking?
Paul: Absolutely. You can use flavoured oils too to give your pastry and bread different and interest flavours. It’s fun to experiment
Question: What cake do you wish for on your birthday?
Paul: A sacatorte
Question: What trends do you see emerging in the dessert world? Is it similar in the US and the UK?
Paul: I think the macaron has been and will continue to be a strong market. You can change the flavours so much that you can keep them interesting. It’s the same in the US and the UK
Question: What do you feel was the most challenging aspect of the competition for the contestants?
Paul: I think that the technical challenges will always be the hardest as we are asking the bakers to make something that they potentially have never made before, which is a touch ask. We deliberately chose obscure bakes to make sure there was a genuine challenge
Question: What ingredients should a baker always have in their pantry?
Paul: Flour!
Question: What is your favorite flavor?
Paul: Lime
Question: In which contestants, do you see a bit of yourself? Why?
Paul: James. He was very inventive and creative most of the time and had some great flavour combinations. Where we differ is in the execution as he messed up a few times. Practice, practice, practice is the key.
Question: What is your advice to future contestants applying to the show?
Paul: Again, it would be to practice. And to listen to advice. Don’t think that you’re the best when you enter and be prepared for constructive criticism.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to tackle a celebrity recipe, then try out the dessert the contestants attempted to master during the semi final round:
Paul Hollywood’s Napoleons Courtesy The American Baking Competition
napoleon (3) (1).jpgYield: 4 completed Napoleons
Rough Puff Pastry
250 g all purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
250 g butter, room temperature
150 ml cold water
Sift the flour and salt into a large metal bowl. Roughly break the butter in small chunks, add them to the bowl and rub them in loosely to coat the butter.
Drizzle two thirds of the cold water, mixing until you have a firm rough dough adding extra water if needed. Cover dough and refrigerate for 20 mins.
Turn out onto a lightly floured board, knead gently and form into a smooth rectangle. Roll the dough in one direction only, until 3 times the width, about 20 x 50cm. Keep edges straight and even. Be careful not to overwork the dough.
Fold the top third down to the center, then the bottom third up and over that. Give the dough a quarter turn (to the left or right) and roll out again to three times the length. Fold as before, cover with cling film and chill for another 20 minutes.
Using a ruler, roll out and cut into 2.5″ x 3×5″ rectangles. You should have 12 pieces. You may control the rise of the puff by making small slits on top of each piece.
Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.


8 OZ Dark Chocolate, coarsely chopped
8 OZ Heavy Cream
4 OZ Frangelico
Heat the cream until it just starts to boil.
Pour hot cream over chopped chocolate.
Let the mixture stand for at least 10 minutes then add flavoring.
Whisk until smooth
Refrigerate until mixture firms.
Whip ganache in the stand mixer until it reaches a soft, whipped consistency and is lighter in colour.
Pipe dots onto cooled layers of pastry followed by a piped layer of whipped cream.
1 cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
1 1/2 tablespoons Water
2 oz dark chocolate
Whisk powdered sugar and water until combined.
Spread over assembled Napoleons
Melt chocolate over a double boiler
Pipe lines of chocolate on top of the water icing.
Using a toothpick pull the chocolate through the white icing.
Make sure you tune into the finale of The American Baking Competition at 9pm ET on CBS. And if you’d like to tweet along with us, just follow @BakeOnCBS #GetYourBakeOn @ChefMarcela @FoxOutdoors @HollywoodBaker and use these hashtags for the baker you want to see win it all: #TeamDarlene #TeamBrian and #TeamFrancine.

Bake Like Celebrity Chef Marcela Valladolid with this Sophisticated S’mores Recipe!

Picture 49.pngI don’t know about you, but when the summer hits, I become a s’mores-aholic. There is nothing quite like the perfect combination of chocolate, marshmallow and graham crackers and thanks to this summer’s hit CBS reality baking show The American Baking Competition, there’s plenty of s’mores for everyone. In fact, superstar celebrity judge Marcela Valladolid shared her very own sophisticated s’mores recipe in a recent episode and we’ve got it right here for you to try at home.
So dig in and get ready to for a fantabulous dessert. And don’t forget to watch the American Baking Competition which moves to a new time this Wednesday at 9pm ET/PT. Join us on Twitter by following @BakeonCBS @rolemommy and #GetYourBakeOn. Hope to sweet tweet you there!
8 3/8 ounces whole wheat flour
1 7/8 ounces all-purpose flour
3 ounces dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
2 1/4 ounces molasses
1 1/2 ounces whole milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
2 tablespoon cold water
2 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Chocolate Glaze:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 ounces oil
• Preheat oven to 350 F
• Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a bowl . Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
• To the dry mixture, add the molasses, milk and vanilla extract.
• Stir until the dough comes together enough to form a ball. Press the ball into a 1/2-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
• Unwrap the chilled dough and place it onto a large piece of parchment paper and top with a second sheet of parchment paper. Roll the dough out until it is 1/4-inch thick. Cut into circles.
• Bake for 25 minutes or until slightly brown on edges
• Do not start the marshmallow until the base cookies are out of the oven!
• Combine water, corn syrup, and sugar in a saucepan, bring to a boil until soft-ball stage (235 degrees F).
• Meanwhile sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water and let dissolve.
• Remove syrup from the heat, add gelatin, and mix.
• Whip the egg whites until soft peaks form and pour the syrup into the whites.
• Add the vanilla and continue whipping until stiff.
• Transfer to a pastry bag and pie onto each cookie IMMEDIATELY!
• Melt the chocolate and oil together over a double boiler.
• Cool slightly
• Carefully dip each cookie into the mixture and set on wax paper.
• Place cookies in refrigerator set the chocolate.

Chatting with Whitney from CBS’ American Baking Competition

whitney.pngIf you’ve been watching the American Baking Competition on CBS, then you know that college grad Whitney Beery was the latest contestant whose desserts just didn’t make the cut with judges Paul Hollywood and Marcela Valladolid. Despite the fact that she missed out on the chance to win $250,000 and a book deal, Whitney gained so much more from her experience…she fell in love.
We recently joined Robin from Simply Southern Baking to find out what she’s been up to since leaving the show.
Simply Southern Baking: What would you say was your most special moment in the competition?
Whitney: Meeting my boyfriend, James. We realized we like the same music and all the same books and stuff while we were on the show so it kind of started then. Once the show was all said and done we started to hang out, without the competition involved. Meeting everyone on the show was also amazing and being able to get the insight from the judges helped with learning how to handle the pressure. Also, since we’re amateur bakers, we normally only hear feedback from our family and friends so they don’t critique like the judges, so it was interesting and helpful to hear how professionals see your bakes.
Simply Southern Baking: You studied restaurant management in college. What are your plans now that you’ve graduated? Are you going to go to graduate school, start a blog?
Whitney: I actually already have a blog. It’s called Appletondesserts.com because Appleton is my middle name. It has all my favorite desserts on it. I’m actually now living in Sonoma, California, and I’m working at a winery. I am using my degree, but I’m doing wine because someday I want to do a dessert wine themed bar. So I’m getting my wine education.
james.jpegRole Mommy: Does James live in Sonoma with you or is it still a long-distance relationship?
Whitney: He is here with me. He’s actually in the room with me (laughs). It’s official.
Role Mommy: You’ve obviously impressed all your friends and family with all your different desserts and you made the show, but you had some difficulty in those first few weeks. What was the biggest challenge for you?
Whitney: I think the biggest challenge was having everything so limited. The limited time, the limited resources. At home, you’re so used to baking and if it doesn’t turn out alright then you do it all over again because you have all these resources and all this time. On the show, it’s a lot more pressure than you would think being under that time limit when you’re not used to that stuff, using that equipment. A lot of things in baking are temperamental like when my cookies spread too much. When I was making the batter, it looked like every other batter I have made. So at that point, I didn’t know that I should add anything, because to me it looked the same, but with all new equipment and all these temperamental factors and then not having time to go back kind of messed me up.
Role Mommy: I tweeted you during the show and I remember that the combination of chai and mocha you were using for the macaroons seemed like it was destined to be at Starbucks. Can you tell us about that particular bake?
Whitney: I did that because it was inspired by my endless studying days in college. There is actually a Starbucks a block away from where I was living. When I first started drinking coffee, mocha was the only thing I had. Of course, I loved the combination of chocolate and coffee together: two of my favorite things. Chai is also one of my absolute favorite drinks because I usually wake up every morning and have coffee or chai, and I usually eat chocolate at some point throughout the day. So it was kind of inspired by my studying days in college and at Starbucks. I never went to the library to study, I was always at Starbucks. So yes, you read my recipe mind!
Role Mommy: I saw your sorority was tweeting during the show. Tell me about that.
Whitney: I’m a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha. I joined when I was a freshman and recruitment was a week before school even started. I went to Texas Tech and I didn’t know anyone so I wanted to meet people, and it was a really great place to make friends. Throughout the whole show, the sorority has been super supportive and great, retweeting and promoting the show. I’ve gotten a lot of tweets from Zetas from across the country. The entire organization has been amazing and extremely supportive throughout it all which doesn’t surprise me because I know Zetas are wonderful women. It’s cool to get connections through the whole country because of the show.
Role Mommy: When you were in college, did you study anything in terms of culinary and pastries, or was baking just more of something you loved as a passion?
Whitney: I just loved it as my passion. For hotel restaurant management, we did have some food courses, but we didn’t really dive into practicing any of it, it was kind of more book studying so that as a restaurant manager you would understand something such as what the different types of sauces are but you didn’t really dive into making anything. But one of those classes got me interested in it because I was reading so much about pastries and I watched Food Network and followed everything on Pinterest, so that all furthered my interest and made me really want to do this on my own. An oreo cheesecake was the first thing I made from scratch and it was really good, and I was like “I’m not that bad so I’m going to keep doing this.”
Role Mommy: When we interviewed Marcela, we asked her if she saw herself in any of the bakers and she said you reminded her of herself when she was first starting out, where she had this natural talent for it and needed to cultivate it and get more training , and she said she appreciated your spunk and the creativity in what you were doing. How do you feel about that? Do you think the experience on the show is going to propel you to do what you should be doing in life?
Whitney: I think it will definitely help. It definitely gave me real insight on to how professional pastry chefs see your actual products, which is very different from how your friends see it. The experience definitely helped me and will continue to help me in the future and propel me to do what I want. Obviously I will not stop baking. I made cupcakes last night.
Role Mommy: In terms of recipes, are you making them up or adapting them from the Food Network or things that you see?
Whitney: I do a lot of research online and I kind of find recipes and I change them. For example, I looked up a biscuit recipe and I used sour cream and added herbs and spices so that they tasted how I like them to taste. So I do get ideas from recipes from cookbooks or online so that I have the basic science, and then I change whatever it needs to manipulate the flavors or textures.
Role Mommy: In terms of the characters on the show, we’re starting to see people’s personalities develop. Brian seems to be a sinister bad guy, and Francine has the best one liners and is hilarious, and Effie seems awesome. Is there anyone besides James that you became really friendly with and continue to talk to after the show?
Whitney: Pretty much everyone is always in touch but I’ve gotten super close to Effie. She was like my mama for the month and I love her. Carlo and I also got really close while we were there. James, Effie, and Carlo are the three people that I keep in constant contact with. James was texting Effie this morning and I called Carlo a couple of days ago and we talked for a little bit so that was nice.
Role Mommy: What did you think about being critiqued by Marcela and Paul?
Whitney: It was hard being critiqued by them because they were looking for something other than what you like. They’re looking for what they like. It was really difficult, because for my chai macaroons, they didn’t come out like macaroons but they were also critiquing the flavor. It was like “well that’s how I like my chai to taste” and they told me it didn’t work but that’s how I wanted it to be like. So it’s kind of difficult because at the same point you want to bake something that you and your family likes but that might not necessarily be what the judges are looking for. So it’s really difficult to kind of gauge where you fall, and you kind of have to learn what they’re looking for and tweak what you like to fit what they want. It’s super difficult because you practice this recipe over and over and you don’t like the taste of it but you know what the judges are going to say, so it’s kind of a weird situation to make something for the judges palette. Normally your friends and your family see it as a different way.
Role Mommy: What did you think of Jeff Foxworthy?
Whitney: Jeff was great. He was really funny and he was really nice. Some of my favorite times was when he would come over personally to talk to each of us because once he came over there was no pressure. He doesn’t care how bad you are, if you’re having a bad time he’s going to try and give you some encouraging words. If you’re doing well he would give you a smile back. He was really encouraging, super super nice, and throughout the whole process he was great.
Role Mommy: Are you still going to be watching throughout the show and tweeting?
Whitney: Yes, I’m still going to be watching! I have to root for my man! I also do want to watch because we all have heard tidbits of how everyone has done, so now I want to watch how it all unfolds because I never got to see that stuff. I heard them talking about it so I really want to see all of it and see how everyone does because there are some surprises for me too!
Make sure you tune into the American Baking Competition on CBS this Wednesday at 8pm ET/PT. As always, we’ll be live tweeting during the show. To join in the fun, follow the handles and hashtags below! Hope to tweet you there!

‘Sweets Talking’ With CBS’ American Baking Competition Judge Marcela Valladolid & Contestant Carlo Fuda

7m24eFDvvmaZzL9yE2WdCY9GTZGZJKUyrf5YjxtIDVc.jpegRole Mommy recently got the chance to chat with Marcela Valladolid and eliminated contestant Carlo Fuda from CBS’s new show, The American Baking Competition. Marcela and Carlo talked with several food and parenting bloggers about their experiences with the show, shared their favorite recipes, cooking tips and more. Be sure to watch the second episode of The American Baking Competition tonight on CBS at 8 PM!
Genesis Moments: Out of all the contestants, are there any of them that you see a little bit of yourself in from when you were first getting started?
Marcela: Absolutely! I see myself a little bit in all of them. Carlo, for example, wears the Italian flag on his chest and I’m kind of the same way with my Mexican cooking. Sometimes people want to streamline me and make me more approachable and more acceptable and my response is always, “why would you want me to change what’s in my core?” I carry both the American and the Mexican flag with equal amounts of pride but my traditions and my cuisine are deeply rooted in Mexican cooking and I see a lot of that in Carlo. In terms of Effie, she could not talk about her family without getting emotional and so much of her cooking is tied in with those family stories. For me, everything is so tied into my experience of being a daughter of a strong mexican cooking woman and also being the mother of a half mexican half american son and I think Effie is very much like that. Also, Whitney reminded me of how innocent I was at the beginning of my career. I would jump into stuff I wasn’t nearly ready for but I was so passionate about what I was doing that I didn’t care. I just jumped in with my heart on my sleeve. She stands behind what she believes in but at the same time she’s so young and she has such a bright beautiful future ahead of her.
Adventure Yum: Knowing that you like to cook fresh and with a more healthful approach, what did you really think of Francine’s chocolate bacon peanut butter pie?
Marcela: It was awesome! I appreciated that just by looking at it, you knew it was going to be a huge explosion of richness and flavor. There was no misleading in that sense. You looked at that thing and it was garnished in like a quarter pound of bacon so you knew what was coming in your mouth. I would have maybe found a way to make it a little more subtle in terms of the presentation; she didn’t need as much bacon on the top because there was so much wonderful bacon flavor in there. I love the combination of smoky bacon with rich sweet chocolate, and it’s a great combination that’s very much in and happening in the culinary world right now. Francine absolutely knows what she’s doing.
Rural Mom: What ultimately defines a “showstopper” bake for you? If all the dishes were all fairly on par with each other, would there be one key factor that put it over the top for you?
Marcela: For me, what made the show stopper a showstopper was something that I would want to pay really good money for. Is this something you could see in a pastry shop? Unfortunately for these guys, I studied in Paris so I know what a pastry window is supposed to look like, so for me that was it. Literally looking at something and saying, “I am willing to pay good money because of how it is presented and how it looks absolutely scrumptious and executed to perfection,” so from the start it has a lot to do with presentation. And it’s the same for the first bite. It just has to be something comparable with the level of pastries at the professional level, things that you’d want to pay for.
Role Mommy: What is the most surprising thing that you have come away with from the show?
Marcela: I’m very professional in terms of my work and I’ve been a judge on shows before, and I’ve always been very good at separating myself from the personal stories and the contestants. I never thought at the end of it I’d be so emotionally invested in what these guys were doing. I genuinely hope all of them either publish books or open bakeries. I wish I could award the prize to all of them. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with each and every one of the contestants because each of their personalities are so spectacular.
51a639f75267b.preview-300.jpgQuestion Carlo, you were the first contestant eliminated from the show. What’s next for you?
Carlo: I’m working a lot on my food blog which I started when I was in my corporate setting. I’ve been to Italy 30 times, I worked in the professional social media capacity, and now after The American Baking Competition, I feel really prepared to take the next steps in this new path with my blog. I have long term aspirations of opening up a cafe where I live in Pennsylvania. I’m also a singer so I want to pursue that dream as well. I’ve learned that dreams are not impossible, dreams should be followed, and that’s exactly what I’m doing now. I’m so excited and happy and the support from my friends and family gives me the confidence and the momentum and the energy to do everything that I want to do.
Simply Southern Baking: You mentioned lavender was your secret ingredient in your Baker back story. What is your favorite recipe to use that in?
Carlo: My personal favorite recipe is one that I actually have on my blog, lemon ricotta cookies. I just adore ricotta, it’s just so good. I just love making ricotta cookies because they’re light, airy and sweet and I love to make things that are like that. Lemon and lavender is one of those flavor combinations that just go so well together so for the I make lavender icing for the cookies. You have to be careful with it because it can get too “perfume-y”, but just the right amount gives you this weird sensation in your mouth where you’re like, “Am I eating flowers?” I love that in Northern Italy, where many of my relatives live, you’ll find things like rose, violet, and lavender ice cream and that’s kind of an inspiration for me and it takes me back. I also love mixing it in cheesecakes.
Watch this sneak peek from tonight’s episode!

Don’t forget to tune in tonight at 8 PM to catch the latest edition of The American Baking Competition and join us as we tweet live during the show with @ChefMarcela, @Carlofuda, and more. Make sure you follow @BakeonCBS #GetYourBakeOn. Hope to Sweet Tweet you there!