Vincent resident a finalist in contest

VINCENT – A Vincent resident has been named a semi-finalist in the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off and has hopes of becoming the first Ohio finalist in this year’s competition.

Anne Johnson, a native of Sylania, Ohio, was chosen by the Bake-Off organizers as one of 60 semi-finalists for her PB&J Mini Walnut Muffins.

The muffins are in the competition’s “Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts” category and available for consumer voting on the event’s website, bakeoff.com.

“This is the first time the Bake-Off has allowed the public to vote,” Johnson said. “I am really thrilled to be a part of it again and would love to go to Vegas.”

In 2006, Johnson was a finalist and attended the contest in Orlando, Fla.

“I had a great time in Orlando and have been trying to get back into the Pillsbury Bake-Off ever since,” she said. “I really hope this is my year.”

Johnson said she sent in 15 recipes for this year’s competition and was not surprised when the muffins recipe was chosen.

“I think the recipe has interesting elements with familiar flavors while also being different and creative,” she said.

The recipe calls for Pillsbury peanut butter cooking dough to be combined with other ingredients to make the muffin base while the jelly part of the recipe comes at the end with the muffins being dipped in seedless strawberry jam.

“Why I chose these flavors is because peanut butter and jelly is one of those combinations everyone loves and it’s comfort food,” Johnson said. “These muffins are my twist on the go-to sandwich.”

People can vote for Johnson’s PB&J Mini Walnut Muffins on the contest’s website (bakeoff.com) through 12:59 p.m. on Sept. 26.

If chosen as a finalist, Johnson will join the other finalists at the main event from Nov. 10 through 12 at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. The finalists who make it to the competition will compete for the $1 million grand prize.

The Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest originated in 1949 with the first event having been held at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

In an effort to encourage more simple, original recipes, all submissions were limited to seven or fewer ingredients and must take 30 minutes or less to prepare, not including baking or cooling time.

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PB&J Mini Walnut Muffins

Ingredients

1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough

1/3 cup Pillsbury BEST All Purpose Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

3 cups finely chopped walnuts

1/2 cup Smucker’s Seedless Strawberry Jam

Directions:Heat oven to 350F. Spray 48 mini muffin cups with Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. In small bowl, mix flour, baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt; set aside. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Beat in eggs and buttermilk with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in flour mixture just until moistened. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of the walnuts. Spoon about one tablespoon batter into each muffin cup, filling 2/3 full. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool 5 minutes or until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile, in small microwavable bowl, microwave jam on High 45 to 60 seconds or until melted. Place remaining 1 1/2 cups walnuts in small bowl. Dip tops of muffins in jam; roll tops in remaining 1 1/2 cups walnuts. Serve warm or cool.