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The Great American Baking Show

UPDATE: What a finale. Congratulations to Amanda for winning The Great American Baking Show! From the first episode, I pegged her to win. She was cool, calm & collected & I’m still dreaming about her bread wreath. Stephanie was amazing as well. I really loved her baking style & her love for baking really shows. On to next season!

UPDATE: My girl, Jennie was eliminated, so that brings us into the Finale with Amanda & Stephanie. Both these ladies are star bakers in my eyes. I cannot wait for the Finale. I wish they could both get it. It will be a pastry cage match, according to Amanda. <3

Currently airing Thursday nights on ABC at 9 /8 C

I am right in the middle of the newest season of the The Great American Baking Show & I’m loving it almost as much as The Great British Baking Show . All I wanted to talk about on Christmas was the 3-D gingerbread cookie scene from episode 2, but I feel like no one is into it (except my mom, of course).

Last year, I binged every season of The Great British Bake Off that I could get my hands on & if you haven’t watched it, please give it a chance. It’s on PBS & Netflix & likely at your local library. Mel & Sue are the presenters/hosts & they are so incredibly quick-witted, pleasant & genuine that I can’t help but love them. Then we’ve got Mary Berry, an expert baker, cookbook author & well loved & respected British cooking personality. She’s like your sweet Aunt, but happens to be a world class baking genius. Finally, we’ve got my boyfriend, Paul Hollywood. He’s a salt & peppered, blue eyed artisan bread baker, which makes him my ideal boy toy. He’s a firm but fair judge with a wonderful accent & he’s a bit cocky with the goods to back it up. He makes me & many others blush.

The current season of The Great American Baking Show features real life spouses,Nia Vardalos & Ian Gomez as the presenters/hosts, with Mary Berry & Johnny Iuzzini as the judges. I remember Johnny from Top Chef: Just Desserts & I like him; he definitely knows baking & pastry.

Both shows are held in a tent that I can only imagine must be humid as hell with all the baking going on. The British version uses ovens with doors that disappear underneath the stove making it easier to get the pan out. I became obsessed with these ovens & I’m happy to see them used in the American version as well.

Each show is produced with a similar format including a signature dish, a technical challenge & a showstopper challenge. The episodes are themed; so there’s breads, holiday desserts, cookies, patisserie, cakes, etc. & the 3 challenges fall within the theme for the episode. The judges decide on the recipe for the technical dish, but there are some key tips missing, so the bakers must utilize his or her baking prowess to execute the dish correctly. Each week, someone is eliminated until we get to the finale with the final 3 bakers.

I just love these shows. I bake, but I’m definitely not on this level. What I love about the show it that it inspires me to try more creative dishes. I hear about new ingredients, I think of what I would make, I squirm when the baker’s creations fall flat & I actually learn something from each episode. When it comes to the science of baking, it’s invaluable to have Paul Hollywood give you some advice on the perfect baguette.

I am still so upset about the dismantling of The Great British Bake Off, so the American version is a good substitute for now. I heard Paul is still on board, but Mel & Sue are gone.

I’m also getting into the newest season of Top Chef on Bravo. What are your favorite cooking shows?

Momma, wife, baker, reader & smart ass. I am Really Into doughnuts, inside jokes, trash TV, pizza, 48 Hours & George Michael.

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