Almond Blossom Bake Off, 60 Years but Still Sweet!

Almond Blossom Bake Off, 60 Years but Still Sweet!

Jenny Pfeifer, Journalist

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     Baking has always been a sweet treat for those who do it as a hobby, however it’s even sweeter when you do it for competition. The 60th Annual Almond Blossom held a bake off on Feb 24, 2022 for all bakers wanting to share their best recipe; the only catch is that they had to have almonds in it! In the Bake Off, there are different categories that bakers of anyone aged five and older can enter in to win. The judges looked not only for taste, but appearance, texture, color, product quality, and the use of almond products.

I baked a sourdough almond babka because it is my favorite thing to make and it is on the unique side”

— Taryn Escola.

     “There were a lot of categories so I liked how inclusive they were,” stated Junior, Taryn Escola. 

     Those categories included  cakes, breads, cookies & bars, candies & chocolates, pastries, and decorated theme cakes . After registering their baked goods, the judges decided in private who the winners were later that same day and were ready to give the lucky winners their rewards. 

     “I baked a sourdough almond babka because it is my favorite thing to make and it is on the unique side. I won first place in my age group for the bread category,” stated Escola. 

     Below are the winners for each category, with winners from different age groups. 

  • Cakes
    • Junior (ages 11-17)
      • First: Emelyn Sachs, Chocolate Almond Cake with vanilla buttercream and candied almond garnish
      • Second: Alexandria “Lexi” Kerr, Salted Caramel Almond Cupcakes
      • Third: Italia Farias, Zesty Almond “Cardamom” Cake (Vegan)
    • Senior (18 and older)
      • First: Sara Little, Almond Butter Cake
      • Second: Cherie Andriese, Boeterkoek (Dutch butter cookie)
      • Third: Marisa Russo, Burnt Almond Cake with Pastry Cream Filling & Almond Buttercream
  • Breads
    • Junior (ages 11-17)
      • First: Taryn Escola, Chocolate Almond & Dark Rum Sourdough Babka
    • Senior (18 and older)
      • First: Angela Smith, Angela’s Amazing Apple Almond Streusel Bread
  • Cookies/Bars
    • Beginner (ages 5-10)
      • First: Ashton Tazelaar, Almond Tea Cookies
    • Junior (ages 11-17)
      • First: Austin Tezelaar, Almond Bars
      • Second: Brody Petersen, White Almond Bars
      • Third: Harvest High School 11th Grade Class, Raspberry Almond Blondies
    • Senior (18 and older)
      • First: Lisa Roos, Honey Chews
      • Second: Tammy Sachs, Almond Mocha Biscotti
      • Third: Michele Jacobs, Almond Blossom Macarons
  • Candies/Chocolates
    • Beginner (ages 5-10)
      • First: Natalie Smith, Natalie’s Delightful Roasted Almond Bark
      • Second: Ashton Tazelaar, Almond Brittle
    • Junior (ages 11-17)
      • First: Harvest High Seniors, Chocolate Almond Toffee
      • Second: Madison Smith, Madison’s Magnificent Chocolate Almond Crunch
  • Pastries
    • Beginner (ages 5-10)
      • First: Jacob Sachs, Maple Almond Cinnamon Rolls
    • Junior (ages 11-17)
      • First: Austin Tazelaar, Coconut Almond Baked Donuts
      • Second: Violet Wagner, Golden Almond Tart
    • Senior (18 and older)
      • First: Amber Burner, Almond Baklava
      • Second: Shannon Kuhn, Almond-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls
  • Decorated Theme Cakes
    • Beginner (ages 5-10):
      • First: Avery Roe, Toffee Almond Coffee Cake
    • Junior (ages 11-17):
      • First: Sofia Russo, Gluten free almond cake & Nutella buttercream frosting