VINCENT - A local woman said although the recipe she created did not win or place, she had fun with the other finalists in the 46th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest in Las Vegas.
"Things went great," said Vincent resident Anne Johnson. "I didn't place, but it was a great time."
Between Nov. 10 and 12, Johnson was one of 100 finalists to participate in the contest at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
Anne Johnson of Vincent on Nov. 10 prepares her PB&J Mini Walnut Muffins during the 46th annual Pillsbury Bake-Off in the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. This was Johnson’s second time as a finalist in the national cooking contest.
"It was a very supportive atmosphere between all of the finalists," Johnson said. "I felt no negative comments or anything but positive from the other bakers, which was wonderful."
Johnson became a finalist in October following a public plea for votes on the contest website for her recipe for PB&J Mini Walnut Muffins. The muffins recipe was placed in the competition's "Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts."
This was the first time the Pillsbury Bake-Off has allowed the public to vote on which recipes will be included in the competition. Johnson said receiving enough votes from the public at large helped alleviate some pressure.
PB&J Mini Walnut Muffins
1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated peanut butter cookie dough
1/3 cup Pillsbury BEST All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 cups finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup Smucker's Seedless Strawberry Jam
Heat oven to 350. 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.
"Knowing the public liked the recipe and was behind it made me feel a little better," she said. "It was still pretty nerve-wracking, though."
This was Johnson's second time participating in the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. She was a finalist in 2006 when she attended the competition in Orlando, Fla.
"Because I had been part of the Bake-Off before, I had an idea of what to expect, so I was able to have more fun this time than last," Johnson added.
Although her recipe failed to win her the $1 million prize, or garner a ribbon, Johnson is already looking forward to next year's competition.
"The next contest will begin after the holidays where I will find out the rules and start to think of recipes I can send in that fit the criteria," she said. "I never stop and can't wait to come up with something new and delicious."
The Pillsbury 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.