The Great Universal Bake-off
Perhaps it was all the baking shows currently streaming. Or it might be that Spring has got us all yearning for something a little sweeter. Either way, when Donna suggested to the team we undertake a UP baking challenge, everyone was on board.
The original idea was for us all to bake something different, however it was decided that everyone baking the same thing made for stronger competition. The humble brownie was chosen as our first challenge.
While it’s relatively easy to make a ‘good’ brownie, it is also quite possible to stuff it up. And, just as it’s stated that “no two snowflakes are ever the same”, so too could the same be said for brownies.
With the sense of competition rising the team needed a judge we could trust. Jodie, who is currently away from Universal on maternity leave, agreed to return to officiate the important event.
She had her work cut out for her. There are many things that can go into a chocolate brownie – and ‘love’ is just one of them. Different nuts and berries make appearances. Then there’s criteria such as texture, appearance, smell and, finally, taste.
All brownies were displayed anonymously, with the baker’s photo on the bottom of the plate. Still, judging wasn’t easy.
“I think baking cookies is equal to Queen Victoria running an empire. There’s no difference in how seriously you take the job, how seriously you approach your whole life.”
It was difficult for the team as well. After all, eating a small slice of nine brownies is still a lot of brownie. Reports were that many of the team decided on a ‘light’ dinner the evening after the challenge.
After some careful deliberation a victor was announced. Like her famous cooking namesake, Nadia was the winner on the day. What was her secret?
It could have been the gold leaf, the perfect consistency, or that she used an entire block of chocolate in her recipe. However, in her words, it was “quite likely the fact that it had way more sugar than flour.”
Coming in a close second was Garth. Jodie stated his raspberry and chocolate chunk brownie “could be sold in a café – it was the perfect texture, and even all over.”
Truly, we were all winners on the day. Every brownie was delicious, and the entire challenge reminded us all of the popular baking proverb. The secret ingredient is always love… the love of chocolate.
Now, after suitably recovering from our sugar comas, planning is underway for the next challenge. Early polling suggests a result could possibly land in favour of meat pies…