The Great British Bake Off 8:02
Week Two and it was time for biscuits. After such a furore over the terrifying changes the show was supposed to introduce a lot of this week felt soothingly predictable. For instance, you could cross ‘taking the biscuit’ off your bingo card within the opening sequence. The format remains the same; this time the signature challenge was 24 Sandwich Biscuits. Equally sized and coloured with just enough filling and flavour without compensating on the bite. Tricky at best and that is before the pressure of oven watching.
Such pressure was evident as several contestants have already turned to drink. Tom’s Coffee and Amaretto Kisses were a triumph while Chris’ Chocolate Chia Seed Biscuits with Whisky and Orange Caramel filling overpowered Prue. Sophie’s Lemon Limoncino Sandwich Biscuits were far more delicate, distinct and delicious. Somehow Flo managed time to sneak in a brew while panic descended having set aside her Raspberry Gin Jam Butties, alas they were too hard with not enough gin.
Some had gone for a bit of help to gain that uniform appearance. Liam used a ruler for his Coffee Malted Pecan Shorties which had interesting flavours but were let down by the texture. Yan weighed each of her ‘Mrs Marion’s P B ‘n’ B Biscuits’ (peanut butter and banana, obviously) yet the filling failed to set. Others simply went with the flow; Julia again opted for daring flavours for her Middle Eastern Delight Sandwich Biscuits with pistachio, cardamom and rose water. They looked a bit scruffy but the comical jelly wobble helped. Steven’s Amarpressi Biscuits were also a bit irregular yet everything else was deemed perfect.
Is James being sponsored by the Rhubarb Association? Again he plumped for our favourite herbaceous perennial for his impressive Rhubarb and Custard Whirls. Stacey went for a bit of sparkle as her Chocolate and Marshmallow Fluff Cookies were dusted with edible glitter and they ticked all the right boxes. Finally there was Kate who created Coconut Seashells for a Titanic Afternoon Tea. She had done her research; coconut sandwich biscuits were served on the fateful voyage of which a family member was on board. Paul was not so sentimental as he commented that his was, “So tough it’s offering me out for a fight”.
Fortune Cookies. Feel free to comment if you know of anyone who has tried to create these. Twelve in total; six almond and six patterned orange ones in two hours for the technical challenge. Only two could go in the oven at any one time and they needed to be folded before they set. While there was potential for disaster, there was so much potential for rude handwritten fortunes and with no idea how long they go in for, so much potential for burnt fingers. Julia certainly did not expect them to get hard as fast as they did (snigger) and not everyone managed the full quota. Chris came last for his raw batter which was spat out, Flo’s looked like wontons and came second last, Yan tellingly came out on top.
A little bit of imagination was needed for the Showstopper, as always. This week each contestant had to make a Functioning Biscuit Board Game. Functioning, until Paul and Prue decided to snap pieces off.
Sophie opted for the classic 'Snakes and Ladders'; 50 chocolate and another 50 Bergamot flavoured biscuits, each had neat, beautiful flavour. Tom went for a slight variation with a cinnamon and nutmeg board for his 'Drain Pipes and Ladders' game. He had used edible spray paint for vivid, sharp colours yet the biscuit was too soft.
The games did not have to exist. James created a 'Coppit Game', which must be for a certain generation, with a spiced orange, chocolate and ginger shortbread board. The colours were balsy but more importantly the flavours were delicious. 'Get To School' certainly does not exist in Toys 'R' Us and it is not even a game for Stacey but a school day morning ritual. Her chocolate board was covered in fondant featuring her sons' favourite flavours. Neat and deliciously decorated; but the biscuits were rubbery with too much icing.
Not even some of the ingredients had to be well known. Kate included Grains of Paradise which brought shrugs of indifference as no-one had seemed to have heard of it. In the end, their flavour vanished for her 'Jungle Game', which was really Jumanji and looked like a piece from GCSE Art class. Flo’s 'Pick My Bones Game' was really Operation and featured a vanilla biscuit operating table which snapped and ended being a bit messy. Simplistic but it did the job.
Liam’s was far from simplistic as he went all out for his ‘Classroom Classics Game' which featured noughts and crosses, draughts as well as snakes and ladders on a chocolate orange shortbread chalkboard with 30 individual playing pieces. Those pieces were left without decoration yet the flavours were great and there was even time for a game.
Inspiration was to come close for Julia and Yan, like, from right in that tent. Julia presented her ‘A British Baking Game’, with a ginger and lime board and Star Baker biscuits which were delicious with good texture. Furthermore, Yan went for ‘Adventures in Bakeland’ and orange and cardamom biscuit squares. Also, zero points for inspiration and this was rather a collection of overworked biscuits rather than a board.
Chris had a horrible week which was encapsulated in his ‘The Great British Sail Off’ game which featured yet more booze with rum and ginger pieces. The compass span but that was the only success as his rough and ready biscuits were actually burnt and he was the second to leave the tent. Then there was Steven who made a coffee and gingerbread chess set for his ‘Check Bake Game'. A hundred individual pieces which required help carrying to the table. The board was bold with exceptional colours and such delicate work got him Star Baker.