A lass, not given to much speech, entered in contest with other ladies of varying ages. Most feared one contestant who was of favorable reputation in the culinary arts. The lass however made no mention of her opponents but worked unassumingly on her confections.
The day of the contest came. The baked entries were sampled and studied and tested. When the results were announced, many were surprised. Taste buds had decided the humble lass to be the winner. As was her nature, no prattling nor pride, she sweetly smiled and happily accepted her award.
The lass in this fable could represent more than one of the young ladies who entered the Brownie Bake-off at school this past week. In the end there were five bakers, two who are students at OHCS, Ana Key (eighth grade) and Anne St. Jean (ninth grade). The others were Claudia Key (PreK teacher), Sheila Thoburn (wife of headmaster, Robert Thoburn), and Carrie Fluegge (teacher assistant and elementary music teacher). So which of these was the winner? Carrie Fluegge who entered her cream cheese brownies which have been described as "two sweets in one" with a fudgy crust and a creamy topping was declared the winner at the end of the day.
What about the feared favorable culinary artist? That would have been Robin Joss who teaches science. This bake-off saw a few setbacks, including sleet, injuries and illness. Unfortunately Mrs. Joss needed to fight off the flu instead of competing with other bakers.
Each participant baked two batches of brownies which were used as samples for eight judges and as bake sale goodies. Judges paid $5 for a plate of brownies (one of each entry) and unlimited coffee and/or milk to drink. Brownies were rated 1-10, 1 being 'Blah" and 10 being 'Yummo'. There were absolutely no blahs given and quite a few yummos. The brownie which received the greatest number of points won. Carrie's Cream Cheese Brownies earned 75 points total winning her $40 which was the amount collected from the judges. It was a close competition.
Dulce de Leche Brownies with Coconut and Walntus; Frosted Fudge Brownies; Cocoa Brownies; Mocha Brownies with Walnuts (from top left clockwise)
One judge expressed her surprise when she discovered her favorite brownies, the Mocha Walnut Brownies, were baked by Ana Key who is in eighth grade. "Really, she's the girl not the mom?" muttered the judge. Upon noticing mocha in the name she realized why she preferred these brownies. At the same time she commented on the walnut in the name. "I didn't notice any nuts; if I had, I would not have liked these as much." Many of the judges thought these were rather tasty and described them as moist.
Claudia Key, well known for her dulce de leche roll which boasts a moist layer of caramel, tried a similar style with her brownies. Unfortunately many judges did not like the addition of coconut which was sprinkled on top of her brownies. One judge noted, "Love the dulce de leche," while another wrote, "This one is great, but I don't like the coconut."
A favorite among buyers at the bake sale was Anne St. Jean's Frosted Fudge Brownies which feature a cinnamon, hazelnut layer beneath a chocolate frosting layer. "I didn't really know what I was doing with my brownies. . . I didn't have expectations about the contest," said Anne. Although not the winner, her brownies were highly favored and complimented. Anne's brownies which were commended for their richness and being evocative of a French cafe earned a total of 72 points, not far from the total of the winning brownies.
While most other contestants added something to their brownies, Sheila Thoburn chose to make a relatively simple chocolate brownie adding only chocolate chips. Her Cocoa Brownies were described as quite chocolaty and d&s (which she thinks must mean dark & sweet).
And what about the winning brownies? Carrie Fluegge says she did not necessarily expect to win. She did trial baking and decided to add more flour to her brownies which she thought might be too moist. "I just did an internet search and used a recipe from Joyofbaking.com. Normally I swirl the cream cheese in but this time I left it on top," she explained.
The remainder of the brownies were sold for $1 each. The funds go to the OHCS drama club which is now preparing for a spring production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Another fun bake sale is being planned for late March-early April featuring fabulous Wonka creations.