Trending….. My thoughts on Episode 2

Interested in recipes from the latest episode of Holiday Baking Championship? Click here or read on to learn more about the episode.

So if you have been watching Holiday Baking Championship on Food Network, which I hope you have, you will know that week one was not my best week.  Little brown spheres of death and a dark pie crust were almost my demise.  It didn’t make air, but I was crossing every finger possible behind my back.  Those few moments standing in front of the judges felt like an eternity.  I bawled like a baby as soon as I walked off the set; tears of joy for being able to stay to bake another round.  I think I went back to the hotel and sat in the hot tub for an hour to relax and take a little Taylor Swift advice, shake it off!!!

Taylor Swift 18

Thank you Swifty, thank you!!!

So after a good night’s sleep and a little peppermint tea (how holiday) I report to the kitchen to begin a new day.  We walk into the kitchen and I immediately see this huge display of candy canes behind Bobby.  (I learned from Episode 1, it’s never just decoration on that podium.  When I saw the Nutcrackers I thought, “Wow, that is so festive.”  It didn’t even occur to me that it would be a clue to the challenge.  Well played Food Network, well played.)  So, peppermint…..good thing I had that tea!  Bring it on!!!   Bobby tells us our challenge is about getting crafty.  That resonates with me.  As kids, we made crafts all the time.  My mother had, correction has, boxes upon boxes of all sorts of items to make crafts.  Buttons, ribbons, shells, paints, the list goes on and on.  I want to make sure that my plate is decorated so I get crafty with colored sugar in red and white stripes.  I thought it was pretty clever.  I don’t think the judges really got it.  So, it’s Susan with the win.

Time to get crafty again……this time with a holiday wreath-shaped dessert.  I immediately think of my sister and her family.


My sister is possibly one of the most creative and crafty people I know.  You can check out her blog here.  My sister, like a lot of people in this country, is on a tight budget, especially at the holidays.  I am so inspired by all she does and sacrifices in order to make a magical Christmas for her family.  So, I want to make something that she would be proud to have at her house on Christmas.  I also think about the great American holiday tradition of the cookie swap.  Eureka, Cookie Swap Wreath.

I make 4 different kinds of cookies; Spiced Sugar Cookie, Orange Langue de Chats, Coconut Lime Russian Tea Cakes, and Hippen Tuiles.  My plan is to cut the sugar cookie into a large wreath shape, then attach the Langue de Chats to the sugar cookie wreath to give it texture and look like pine bows.  The Russian Tea Cakes will be holly berries, and the Hippen Tuiles I’ll pipe to look like holly leaves.  It’s a pretty ambitious plan, and only 90 mins to pull it off.  I’ve made each of these cookies a hundred times and I know that each of them takes between 5 to 15 mins to bake, so if I work fast I can have these done in no time.

Time flies in that kitchen.  You think you have plenty of time……but you don’t.  In the blink of an eye, Bobby yells, “Time’s up.”  I look at my wreath and I am so proud of what I have made.  I know that my sister will be proud too.

Cookie Swap WreathI deliberately made it monochromatic because I think it instantly reads sophisticated and it is very trendy.  Maybe you heard me say that during Episode 2, like 10 times.  I just want you to know that it is on trend.  It’s on point right now.  Got it? ….monochromatic is on trend.  Embrace it.  Love it.  Get trendy with it.

And the judges agree……WIN!  Last episode I was about to go home.  This time, I won.  It felt amazing.  I had a clear vision in my head and I was able to execute that precisely.  So let’s start a trend, shall we.  Get the recipe for my Cookie Swap Wreath.

Perhaps you have seen our baking classes on the website.  Perhaps you have seen that we have a cookie class in November.  Guess what, we are going to make Spiced Sugar Cookies, Langue de Chats, Coconut Lime Russian Tea Cakes, and Hippen Tuiles…….and we are going to put them together in a monochromatic wreath.  Haven’t you heard?  It’s on trend right now!






5 thoughts on “Trending….. My thoughts on Episode 2

  1. Kathy Aumack says:

    So proud of you Steven!! We have watched both shows and definitely plan to watch the rest. I talked to your mom the other day at the post office in Rabbit Lake and she was pumped. If you ever have time, check out our website and go to the section about our Haskap berries. We are growing Haskap berries and I make spread and syrup out of it and market it that way. The syrup is awesome on pancakes, waffles and on ice cream and plain yogurt. Every customer I talk to has their own way of using it. Too bad you lived so far away as I’m sure you would create something amazing out of the berries or product.

    • Steve Konopelski says:

      Thank you Kathy. I hope to do Rabbit Lake proud. I have never heard of Haskap berries. I do always love experimenting with new items. I know that mom is coming down to the states for the holidays and will be here in January for Ukrainian Christmas. Perhaps you could send some down with her.

  2. Shalagh says:

    Bravo and congratulations Steve! I know your sister and Mom are so proud of your on trendy self. And I enjoyed your behind the scenes commentary so much. Sharing now.

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