Contestant 004: Troy

Everything is finally in the mail and I’m looking forward to a nice quiet evening that doesn’t involve flour, shortening, butter, sugar, nuts, eggs, chocolate, or any other item that could conceivably be used in baking. I’m also worn out, so descriptions at this point are going to be short, sweet, and to the point.

This is a loaf of banana nut bread, before it’s been slice, hot out of the oven. The recipe is one that I picked up years ago from my mother’s best friend’s mother. The loaf pan that I make this in is a good 3 inches deep, and about 14 inches long. The thing is gigantic and I’ve made 3 of them so far this month. I’ll probably make another tomorrow if I can bring myself to enter a kitchen. So this is what it looks like before it’s sliced up.

On the platter below, from left to right, we have Mexican Wedding Cookies, sliced banana nut bread, and pan de polvo (which when translated means “powdered bread”). The Mexican Wedding Cookies are full of butter and pecans and then dusted with confectioner’s sugar. These are somewhat similar to Res’ Viennesse Pecan Crescents. In the middle is banana nut bread (I used walnuts as I generally prefer their taste to that of pecans). On the right is pan de polvo, which is essentially a shortbread type of cookie that’s been dusted with granulated sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and ground up toasted cinnamon. Both of my grandmothers used to make this when I was when I was a kid and it brings back a lot of memories. I remember taking a Spanish class in high school and there being a pot luck where we were supposed to bring Mexican food and when I told my teacher what I was bringing, she gave me a blank look. When I described them, she thought that I was talking about Mexican Wedding Cookies. These are something different (maybe it’s a South Texas thing) and they don’t have nuts or butter.

Here’s a close up of the pan de polvo. They’re cut out using small cookie cutters. The reason that they’re small is that the dusting will stick better to smaller cookies than to larger ones.

Ok…there are 4 different kinds of cookies and other goods on this platter. Starting at the bottom with the plain ones and going clockwise, we have praline bar cookies, a cream cheese based pastry with a fudge filling, chocolate salty goodness, and finally, walnut toffee triangles. The praline cookies are a nice combination of butter, pecans, and brown sugar. I think the cream cheese pastries would have worked better if I had made them larger. The fudge filling is also lacking a little something called flavor. For something made out of cream cheese and chocolate, I was kind of disappointed and I probably should have tossed more vanilla in to give it a richer flavor. I’m also trying to remember if I accidentally used special dark chocolate instead of semi-sweet chocolate. They’re my least favorite of the bunch. The chocolate salty goodness is something that I discovered at work last week. Don’t laugh, but this is saltine crackers, drenched in melted butter and sugar, covered with chocolate, and then topped off with pecans. The walnut toffee bars are the chocolate bars topped with the ground up nuts. I’m hoping that all of this chocolate stuff doesn’t melt as it makes its way to the judges.

The very last picture is of minimalist sugar cookies. Minimalist because I was really tired of messing with cookies and boy, is it a pain to deal with frosting and icing these puppies. I think that they still have a nice flavor to them.

Best of luck to all of my fellow contestants. I’m sure that all of the judges will be more than happy to receive all of the packages and everything has sounded amazing and looked fantastic.

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