Creative local cooks gamble on win as finalists Monday at 46th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off in Las Vegas

2013-11-12T00:00:00Z 2013-11-12T22:00:03Z Creative local cooks gamble on win as finalists Monday at 46th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off in Las VegasBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

LAS VEGAS - - After two previous finalist attempts to win $1 million at America's most iconic recipe and cooking competition, Kellie White of Valley Park, Missouri and other kitchen champions joined the wave of big changes at Monday's 46th Pillsbury Bake-Off held in Las Vegas.

"I completed my recipe so much quicker this time around," marveled White on Monday after adding the finishing touches to her Honey Sesame Bagels with Blackberry Butter.

"I actually have time to walk around the ballroom and sample some of the other contest recipes being shared with the other contestants."

While White also competed as a finalist at the two previous Pillsbury Bake-Off contests in 2010 and 2012, both years held in Orlando, just a few stoves away, Kathy Ferder of Lake St. Louis, Missouri, is a first-time finalist and equally proud of her speedy flavorful entry called Kickin' Spinach Cheese Bites.

"I've been trying and hoping to be picked as a finalist for the past 25 years," said Ferder, who started with submitting eight recipes resulting in one earning a coveted finalist honor.

Following the $1 million winning recipe announcement at 9:30 p.m. (PST) at an awards dinner ceremony Monday in the ballroom at the Aria Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, the winner whips up the grand champion creation Tuesday for Queen Latifah for a taping of her "The Queen Latifa Show" scheduled to air Thursday.

Launched in 1949, for the first quarter of a century the Pillsbury Bake-Off was held annually. But beginning in 1976, it was changed to an "every other year" schedule. The event, produced by General Mills, is now going to return as an every year competition with the 2014 contest location being Nashville and entries being accepted in January.

New this year, among changed rules, online voting from the general public, with an emphasis and push for using social media tools, determined who would compete among the semi-finalists for the chance at this year's $1 million. To encourage simpler, original recipes, submissions this year were also limited to seven or fewer ingredients and require 30 minutes or less to prepare, not including baking or cooling time. There's also now only three contest categories to compete in this year: "Simple Sweets and Starters," "Amazing Doable Dinners" and "Rise and Shine Breakfasts." As a requirement for the competition, contestants are required to use a number of brand name sponsor ingredients in their submitted recipes.

Ferder attended the Pillsbury Bake-Off with her husband Mark and their children Mark Jr., 26 and Sarah, 29. White also traveled with her family to cheer her own, including her husband Dennis Fitzpatrick and their children Julia, 18 and Beck, 10, along with White's mother Majorie Conklin, who lives in Kansas.

Monday's contest and awards ceremony were hosted by TV personality Padma Lakshmi, host of Bravo's "Top Chef" series.

Both winning finalist recipes for White and Ferder follow. For more information, visit

Honey Sesame Bagels with Blackberry Butter

1/4 cup Smucker's Simply Fruit Seedless Blackberry Spreadable Fruit

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup honey

1 can Pillsbury refrigerated classic pizza crust

1/4 cup sesame seed 1 egg white

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper; spray with Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. To make Blackberry Butter, in small bowl, gently swirl spreadable fruit into butter. Set aside. In 4-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, bring honey and 10 cups water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Meanwhile, remove dough from package; but do not unroll. Cut dough crosswise into 6 pieces; shape each piece into a ball. Using your finger, form a 1-inch diameter hole in center of each ball to resemble a bagel. Gently add 3 bagels at a time to water for 1 minute. Using tongs or slotted spoon, turn bagels over; simmer an additional 1 minute. Place on cooling rack. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sesame seed on small plate. Dip bottom of each bagel in seed; place 3 inches apart on cookie sheet. In small bowl, beat egg white and 1 tablespoon water; brush on top of bagels. Sprinkle with remaining sesame seed. Bake 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Serve with blackberry butter. Makes 6 servings.

SOURCE: 46th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off and General Mills

Kickin' Spinach Cheese Bites

1 (9 ounce) box Green Giant frozen chopped spinach

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup ricotta cheese

6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) provolone cheese, shredded

1/4 cup (from 11.5-ounce jar) finely chopped pickled jalapeño slices, drained 

2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations refrigerated seamless dough sheet

DIRECTIONS: Heat oven to 375 degress. Lightly spray 48 nonstick mini muffin cups with Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray. Microwave frozen spinach as directed on box. Squeeze dry with paper towels. In medium bowl, beat cream cheese and ricotta cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Stir in spinach, shredded cheese and jalapeños until well blended. Unroll 1 dough sheet; press into 12-inch by 8-inch rectangle. Cut dough sheet into 24 squares. Press 1 square in bottom and up side of each mini muffin cup. Spoon 1 rounded teaspoon spinach mixture into each cup. Repeat with remaining dough sheet and filling. Bake 8 to 12 minutes or until edges of dough are golden brown. Immediately remove from pan to serving platter. Cool 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 48 cups.

SOURCE: 46th Annual Pillsbury Bake-Off and General Mills

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