This year I participated in my second baking competition. My local comic shop decided to revamp their earlier cookie competition and since I found myself award-less in their first event, I decided that my approach could also use some revamping.
In order to participate, each contestant is asked to participate in three categories: chocolate chip, bar cookie, and wild card. The last go round, I can’t even tell you what I made. All I remember was a few sleepless nights filled with a ton of quality time with a hot oven and a wooden spoon. And yeah, that last sentence sounds much dirtier than I had intended. But the point is, I waited until the last minute and ended up miserable.
This year though, I had a plan. There was even test baking and an odd friendship made with the guy who restocks the baking aisle at the supermarket early Saturday mornings. That’s right people, the secret ingredient was effort. And, for the chocolate chip category, a little special chocolate from a local company called Taza.
Taza makes incredible chocolate. It’s chocolate for people who like their chocolate dark and complex. There is no milk involved and the chocolate is almost gritty due to the fact that it is stone ground. They make several varieties of chocolate (as can be seen on their website), but my absolute favorite is their Salt and Pepper chocolate. Yeah, it sounds kinda odd, but you are going to have to make my word on this one – it is so so good!
I knew that using this chocolate would be risky. It would certainly make me stand out, but that isn’t always a good thing. The judges were either going to like it or not, so I decided to follow all those various cliches: go big or go home, nothing ventured..blah blah blah. And if it was gross, at least it would be something to talk about. So I chopped up my precious chocolate and even added some extra course sea salt and freshly ground pepper to the mix as well.
The result? Third place, bee-yotch! Right behind a professional baker and a friend who I consider to be one of the best non-professional bakers around. Not too shabby if you ask me. Not too shabby at all. In fact, I already have an idea for what I am going to do next year. Look out fellow bakers, I’m coming for ya next time!