EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


January 27, 2013

Million-dollar Pillsbury Bake-Off quickens pace

Do you have an original recipe you think is worth a million bucks?

If so, it’s time to do some home testing and enter it in the 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off. Previous contestants will find that other than the $1 million grand prize, there isn’t much the same about the rules this year. The biggest changes are that there are only three categories and recipes will be accepted in stages. Also, for the first time, the public will decide which 100 recipes will compete for the biggest payoff in all of amateur cooking. Votes will be cast online at BakeOff.com and then the ultimate winners will be determined by a panel of judges.

For this year’s competition, which will be Nov. 10-12 in Las Vegas, recipes will be limited to seven ingredients, not including table salt, black pepper or water, and must take less than 30 minutes to prepare, not including baking and cooling time.

The three categories and the entry periods are:

-- Amazing Doable Dinners: This category is open now through Feb. 7.

-- Simple Sweets and Starters: Entry period runs from April 4 to May 9.

-- Quick Rise and Shine Breakfasts: Entry period runs from July 4 to Aug. 8.

What started as a scratch baking competition in 1949 has morphed into a contest of convenience, and this year’s rules thrust it even further into that realm. (The Bake-Off went from an annual event to about every 18 months after 1976, which is why this is just the 46th in 64 years.)

Early on, the single required ingredient was Pillsbury flour, and the first winners were all baked goods: yeast rolls, cakes and pies. In the past 10 years, winners have reflected contemporary cooking trends and tastes: a pie made from granola bars and pumpkin ravioli with salted caramel whipped cream that starts with canned pumpkin and Pillsbury crescent dough sheets.

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