The Pillsbury Bake-Off is in its 45th year, and the 100 finalists for this year’s competition have been chosen. The grand prize winner receives a whopping $1 million.
All will prepare their original contest recipes in Orlando, Fla., March 26. The $1 million grand prize winner will be announced via live broadcast from Orlando on “The Martha Stewart Show” on March 27.
Pillsbury has spotted four trends among this year’s entries:
• Modern classics, including twists on ethnic favorites
• Family-friendly breakfast and brunch ideas
• Bite-size delights
• Sweet paired with salty, savory and spicy
CRANBERRY-ORANGE BAKLAVA PINWHEELS
Change up classic Greek baklava with an easy, flaky Pillsbury pie crust version drizzled with honey. Makes 20 pinwheels
- 1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 1/4 cups sweetened dried cranberries (6 ounces)
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup honey
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with cooking parchment paper or lightly spray with cooking spray. Unroll pie crusts; press each into 10 1/2-inch square. Brush squares with melted butter.
In food processor, place cranberries, pecans, sugar, cinnamon and orange peel. Cover; process with on-and-off pulses until mixture is finely chopped. Spread half of mixture on each pie crust square.
Roll up each pie crust into a log; pinch edge tightly to seal. In small bowl, beat egg and water until blended. Brush egg mixture over each log. Using serrated knife, cut each log into 10 slices. Place slices, cut sides up, 1 inch apart on cookie sheet; replacing any filling. Reshape slices, if necessary.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately remove pinwheels on parchment from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Spoon about 1 teaspoon honey on each slice. Serve warm or cool.
Nutrition information per serving: 210 calories, 90 calories from fat, 10 grams total fat (3 grams saturated, 0 grams trans fat), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 115 milligrams sodium, 29 grams carbohydrates (1 gram dietary fiber, 18 grams sugars), 1 gram protein.
— Carrie Hudkins, Wichita Falls, Texas
THAI CHICKEN SUBS
- 2 cans Pillsbury refrigerated crusty French loaf
- 1 cup coleslaw mix
- 1 small red onion (halved lengthwise), cut into thin wedges (1 cup)
- 1 medium red bell pepper, cut into 1/8-inch strips (1 cup)
- 1/2 medium English (seedless) cucumber, cut into 2-by-1/4-1/4-inch pieces (1 cup)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3/4 cup soy-teriyaki blend or 3/4 cup stir-fry sauce plus 2 teaspoons sesame seeds, divided
- 3/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons hot chili sauce
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 pounds uncooked chicken breast tenders (not breaded)
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place loaves seam side down on cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart. Using sharp knife, cut 5 diagonal 1/2-inch-deep slashes on top of dough.
Bake 26 to 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Meanwhile, in medium bowl, combine coleslaw mix, onion, bell pepper, cucumber and cilantro. In 2-cup measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup of the soy-teriyaki blend, 1/2 cup of the rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and 1 teaspoon of the chili sauce. Beat well with wire whisk. Pour over vegetable mixture; stir to combine. Set aside, stirring occasionally.
In 1-quart saucepan, combine peanut butter, remaining 1/4 cup soy-teriyaki blend, 1/4 cup rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce. Cook over medium heat 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Set aside.
In 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken tenders; cook 7 to 10 minutes, turning once, until chicken is no longer pink in center. Add peanut sauce; stir to coat. Remove from heat.
Cut each loaf crosswise into thirds. Cut each piece of bread in half lengthwise down center to within 1/2 inch of bottom. To make each sub, spoon 1/6 of chicken mixture into each piece of bread. With slotted spoon, top each with about 1/2 cup vegetable mixture. Serve any remaining sauce as a dipping sauce. Makes 6 sandwiches.
Nutrition information per serving: 520 calories, 110 calories from fat, 12 grams total fat (2 1/2 grams saturated, 0 grams trans fat), 50 milligrams cholesterol, 1,860 milligrams sodium, 67 grams carbohydrates (2 grams dietary fiber, 18 grams sugars), 35 grams protein.
— Nadine Clark, Quakertown, Pa.
DARK CHERRY-CHOCOLATE BREAKFAST PASTRY
- 1 can Pillsbury refrigerated crusty French loaf
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1 cup halved pitted dark sweet cherries (canned, drained or frozen, thawed cherries can be used)
- 1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate baking chips
- 1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 15-by-10-inch pan with sides with cooking spray. Carefully unroll loaf of dough in pan; press dough to cover pan. In small microwavable bowl, microwave 2 tablespoons of the butter on high 15 seconds or until melted. Stir in orange peel. Brush butter mixture over dough.
Press 1/2 cup of cherries into half of dough, covering a 10-by-7 1/2-inch area. Sprinkle mini chips over cherries. Fold plain side of dough over cherries. Pinch edges of dough to seal. Cover top of folded dough with remaining cherries; press into dough.
In small microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and marmalade on High 15 to 30 seconds or until butter is melted; stir to blend well. Carefully brush mixture over cherries and dough.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cooling rack 15 minutes.
Cut into 8 servings. Serve warm.
Nutrition information per serving: 220 calories, 80 calories from fat, 9 grams total fat (5 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat:, 15 milligrams cholesterol, 270 milligrams sodium, 31 grams total carbohydrates (1 gram dietary fiber, 12 grams sugars), 3 grams protein.
— MaryAnne Salaway, Harveys Lake, Pa.
BUTTERNUT SQUASH BRUNCH BRAID
- 2 1/2 cups cubed (1/2 inch) seeded peeled butternut squash
- 1 tablespoon 100 percent extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 can Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg white, beaten
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. In medium bowl, combine squash, olive oil, brown sugar and pepper; toss to coat. Spoon mixture into ungreased 15-by-10-inch pan with sides.
Roast 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until squash is light brown on edges and tender when pierced with fork. Set aside. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, cook bacon until almost crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon pieces to paper towels. Add onion and thyme to bacon drippings in skillet. Cook and stir onion over medium heat until onion is brown and softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in bacon.
Spray large cookie sheet with cooking spray. Unroll dough onto cookie sheet; press to 12-by-8-inch rectangle. Spoon onion mixture in 4-inch-wide strip lengthwise down center of dough. Top onion with butternut squash; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
With scissors or sharp knife, make cuts 1 inch apart on long sides of dough to within 1/2 inch of filling. Alternately cross strips over filling; press ends to seal. Brush with egg white.
Bake at 375 degrees 20 to 25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Cut crosswise into 6 slices.
Nutrition information per serving: 230 calories, 100 calories from fat, 11 grams total fat (4 grams saturated fat , 0 grams trans fat), 5 milligrams cholesterol, 470 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrates (1 gram dietary fiber , 8 grams sugars), 6 grams protein.
— Natalie Edwards, Boxborough, Mass.
BACON-CHEDDAR WHOOPIE BITES
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese, room temperature
- 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 3/4 cup unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces
- 2 cups finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup praline pecans, chopped
- 8 slices packaged precooked thick-sliced bacon, microwaved according to package directions until crisp, crumbled
- 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray large cookie sheets with cooking spray or line with cooking parchment paper. To make filling, in medium bowl, beat ricotta cheese and cream cheese with electric mixer on low speed until blended. Add milk; beat on medium speed 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Stir in lemon peel. Cover; refrigerate.
In food processor, add flour, baking powder and red pepper. Cover; process until well blended. Add butter; cover and process until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add Cheddar cheese, pecans and bacon. Cover; process with on-and-off pulses until mixture is consistency of fine crumbs. With food processor running, gradually add enough water through feed tube and process just until dough pulls away from side of bowl and forms a ball.
Shape dough into 48 (1 1/4-inch) balls; place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Using fingers, press each ball into 2-inch round.
Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 10 minutes.
Spread or pipe about 1 tablespoon filling on bottom of each of 24 rounds. Top with remaining rounds, bottom sides down. Store covered in refrigerator.
Nutrition information per serving: 180 calories , 120 calories from fat, 14 grams total fat (7 grams saturated fat, 0 grams trans fat), 35 milligrams cholesterol, 190 milligrams sodium, 9 grams carbohydrates (0 grams dietary fiber, 0 grams sugars), 5 grams protein.
— Teresa Smith, Santa Rosa, Calif.
MARMALADE-GLAZED ASIAN MEATBALL CUPS
- 1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade
- 2 tablespoons Chinese plum sauce
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chili paste
- 2 cans Pillsbury Butter Flake refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
- 24 frozen meatballs, thawed (1/2 ounce each)
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray 24 regular-size muffin cups with cooking spray.
In small microwavable bowl, microwave marmalade on high 15 to 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in plum sauce and chili paste. Set aside.
Remove crescent dough from cans, but do not unroll. Cut each roll into 12 slices. Place 1 slice in bottom of each muffin cup; press 1/2-inch-wide indentation in center of each slice. Place 1 meatball in each cup; top with scant 1 teaspoon marmalade mixture. Sprinkle with sesame seed.
Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool 5 minutes. Serve warm.
Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories, 50 calories from fat, 6 grams total fat (2 grams saturated, 1 gram trans fat), 15 milligrams cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium,, 12 grams carbohydrates (0 grams dietary fiber, 4 grams sugars), 4 grams protein.
— Cheryl Langlois, Jefferson, Wis.