Sunday, June 26, 2011

Grand Prize Winner!

Ever since school ended I've really been lacking gusto for my blogging. I've logged in so many times to write something and then decided it was nothing worth hearing and shut my computer off.

About a week ago I auditioned for Aida and thought that would be something fun and new to do. I've been waiting to hear back from them to blog about it, but apparently in Utah County when you don't get cast in a show you just don't hear back from them. I won't go on about how rude I think that is on so many levels, and just say that I started to feel pretty discouraged this week considering that the New Testament Casting STILL hasn't finished casting speaking roles so I haven't heard from them either. Of course, I wrote on my Aida audition form that I was only interested in the Amneris role, and they called back 10 Amneris' which felt like pretty stiff competition. I felt good about the audition I gave though, and it was my first one in almost four years so I'm pretty proud that I at least made the callback.

When I started my blog I loved it so much and I felt like I was constantly getting new ideas to talk about, but lately, inspiration has been lacking.... until YESTERDAY!

About a month ago I entered the Taste of Cedar Hills Festival Baking Competition. I decided to make two dishes to enter:

My Turtle Graham Bars

and My Blueberry Almond Tart

Here are some photos of the other competitor's entries although a few more dishes arrived after I snapped these pictures:

Entries were judged on Appearance, Taste, and Texture and while I thought they would announce a winner in each category (i.e. pies, cakes, cookies, other) they simply judged them all together awarding a People's Choice, Grand Prize, 2nd prize, and 3rd prize.

According to Casey's judgment he said that the Blueberry Almond Tart was a much more impressive dish, but it's subtlety would probably cause it to be over-looked, meanwhile the Turtle Graham Bars have a big WOW factor when you first bite into them. The Tart definitely took a lot more effort to make and I certainly hoped the judges would appreciate the subtle textures, flavors and effort that I put into it!

People's Choice was announced first and it was the Mint Brownies you can see in the second picture on the left side of the red & white box, in between the cake and the dish in the glass pan. Everyone was kind of surprised to see a boy, around 11-years old stepped forward to claim his prize- a girly looking package with paper place-mats and something else I couldn't really see. Then, without any build up or further ado, they jumped right to the Grand Prize winner.

Announcer: OK! And the Grand Prize Winner is..... The Turtle!

::cricket cricket::

I kind of started to step forward because maybe they meant Turtle Graham Bars and I hadn't seen anyone bring a cake in the form of a turtle, but Casey said, "Wait, wait a minute and see if anyone else goes forward."

::cricket cricket::

Audience member: "Is it a valid win if they aren't here to claim the prize?? Maybe someone else can win!"

Um, YEAH. I wasn't going to stand there and let someone else claim my prize!

Me: Do you mean Turtle Graham Bars?

(Announcer looks at her sheet)

Announcer: Yes.

Me: OK. THAT was me. :D


For my efforts I got a gift from Lizzy's- a really expensive kitchy boutique/bakery nearby. $25 gift card, a small recipe book packed with delicious chocolate recipes complete with a specially designed CD of self-described "sensual bossa nova music." Plus, I get 50 paper place-mats which, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with, but I guess I'll always know which side of the dinner plate I'm supposed to place the fork on now.

Oh, and afterwards I asked one of the judges if my blueberry tart made anyone's list and she replied, "Not mine, but the macadamia cookies were good."

..... Thanks. Really, thanks for that.

Turtle Graham Bar Recipe


  • Approximately 14 graham crackers (if each graham cracker is 5" x 2.5")
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 12 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped & a few ounces white chocolate for decorating


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

I use a stoneware pan from Pampered Chef which makes the Graham Crackers nice and crunchy, but if you don't have one, you can line a rimmed baking sheet with a silicone mat, or just spray a pan with some canola. Arrange the graham crackers in a single layer on the lined baking sheet.

Put the butter, brown sugar, pecans, and a pinch of salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the butter mixture evenly over the graham crackers and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate by microwaving it in a bowl for 30 seconds and then stir. Repeat until chocolate is almost melted and stir until completely melted. This process will help temper the chocolate and keep it looking shiny. Also melt your white chocolate using this same method. Pour the chocolate over the toffee-covered graham crackers and spread evenly. Using a spoon, drizzle white chocolate in horizontal stripes across the bars leave 1/2 inch - 1 inch in between stripes. Drag a toothpick vertically through the chocolate, alternating up and down directions to create a beautiful pattern. Chill completely in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Cut or break into bars. Enjoy!