Bake Off 2022, Biscuit Week: Occam’s Freeze-dried Strawberries

Are you there God? It’s me, Rebs.

The revolution will be dipped in chocolate.

Shoot For The Macaroon

For this year’s Biscuit Signature Challenge the bakers were tasked with making 18 macaroons that had to be decorated to look like something else – which in any series predating the inception of 3D Biscuit Sculptures (WHICH ARE NOT A THING) would have been the Showstopper Challenge – truly a sign we have strayed too far from the light and Mary Berry has forsaken us.

As is tradition on any Bake Off iteration, every time they do a challenge featuring macarons there has to be no less than two Burger Macarons – with this particular battle being fought between Carole and Sandro. Despite the latter talking big game about his Triple Cheese Burger order, he was going for more of the traditional slightly sad looking Big Mac with his macaroon burger (and being paid absolute dust for making an entire fryer basket of fondant chips that he had served in true James Martin style)

I was a little surprised that Paul didn’t pull him up on the paleness of his buns because Paul was very concerned about the brownness of various other bakes – although I think anything paler than a Dulux’s Summer Pecan 1 probably pales into insignificance when in the general vicinity of Paul Hollywood’s Strictly Week 7 glow. Carole’s were apparently too pale for Paul though and too flat for Prue

I however am slightly more concerned about Compost Carole’s square tomatoes.

Abdul and Kevin also got majorly dinged by Paul Hollywood’s colour chart as he gatekept ice cream cones with the ferocity of a Dude Bro with a YouTube account making 15 “Star Wars is WOKE now!” videos a week. Abdul bearing the brunt of it because he had dared to make white ice cream cones

and I’m sorry Abdul, I tried my best to find a white ice cream cone – I trawled the back catalogue of Dairy Queen’s novelty menu, I plundered the Instagram pages of every gourmet ice cream parlour in New York City and all I got was a craving for some really good pistachio gelato. But I did find out that Disneyland does a blue ice cream cone

it might have helped Abdul if his flavorus had in some way leaned into the pink colours and yet he had gone for Coffee and Chocolate – I do not blame him for making them pink instead of brown though because I can imagine he didn’t want to be the person who accidentally made macarons that looked a little bit like the poo emoji.

Kevin’s flavour and presentation were better aligned with his Mint Choc Chip Macaroons

the hard task with these was trying his best to make them minty enough that they were discernibly mint flavoured but not minty enough to make them feel like they’re brushing your teeth – which he mostly pulled off but Paul and Prue both thought his mint was a little too strong.

You might expect that an ice cream would be the perfect thing to enjoy on the beach, however if you’re going sunbathing with Janusz I have some bad news for you

ok, but only if we go mini golfing with your boyfriend twin (complimentary) first

in order to get an authentic green looking colour on his macaron shells, Janusz was using spinach powder, which would also give them a slightly plant-y flavour to compliment his Watermelon curd filling

I’m honestly just shocked you can make watermelon curd at all, I didn’t think watermelon could do anything other than go from solid to completely liquid with slightest touch. And while the judges liked his flavours, the shells were just a little bit too dry.

Despite macarons being notoriously tricky to get right and apparently on the verge of being weaponised in the soon to be declared Great Garibaldi War of 2022

only one of the bakers had a major hiccup, not counting Carole misplacing her nipples of course

It was Rebs finding herself in the wrathful sight of the Baking Gods, having lovingly piped out her macarons only to have to scrape it all back into the bowl because she hadn’t mixed it enough. It was at least worth it because the actual macarons were perfectly baked and looked really cute, but she did have to rush at the end and as such her raspberry filling was a little slapdashly applied, making it look a bit like a few of her cats were suffering from severe head trauma

although I think it perfectly captures Branston’s opinions of Rebs’s tin whistle playing

I think Rebs is just suffering from initial nerves, I hope she manages to find her feet though because she’s clearly a very good baker and I’m not sure I can take much more of being incredibly nervous every time she presses her face against the oven like Charlie Bucket staring at chocolate

at least she won the Oven Watching portion of the competition.

I had thought we would get a lot more animal themed macarons and yet the only person joining Rebs on that route was James who was making raccoon shaped macarons as a nod to his baking raccoon tattoo, which is the closest we’ll ever get to the Raccacoonie Cinematic Universe

he was being very ambitious with his design too, as instead of painting the distinct markings of the raccoons on after baking, he was piping them out in different coloured batters

which really did have the potential to result in some Cronenbergian body horror but thankfully they came out pretty bloody perfectly, save for a few travelling noses

they’re adorable! And Paul and Prue were very complimentary of the balance between his raspberry and mango fillings, having thankfully not gone for the full raccoon themed flavour experience

What’s wrong honey? You’ve hardly touched your compost bin macarons? (That’s not a dare, Carole.)

For her Macarons, Maxy was going with daisies, which might seem a little predictable for the challenge, but it was a very sweet tribute to her two daughters

so well executed that she got a handshake from Paul who really loved her raspberry and salted caramel combination

and joining her in the crashing handshake economy was Dawn for her strawberry flavoured yoyo macarons

which did surprise me a little bit considering Dawn’s approach to flavouring her macarons was to just dump an entire bag of freeze-dried strawberries into her bowl and pray for the best

all hail Occam’s Freeze-dried Strawberries.

Maisam was making carrot-shaped macaroons which I thought would be because they were going to be flavoured like carrot cake, but apparently the reason even escaped her and this was some sort of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon shenanigans. She did unfortunately not quite get around to adding the finishing touches to them

and while they liked certain aspects of the flavours, the orange blossom component got a little lost in the mix.

Having flavour concerns of her own was Syabira who inexplicably had decided to make this a savoury macaron challenge, Paul looking thoroughly miserable about the prospect knowing that the producers are cueing that up as a challenge next year and he’s going to have to eat so many gravy-filled macarons – look what you’ve done Syabira, LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE DONE

but don’t worry Paul, she and her boyfriend had dedicated themselves to finding the best peanut butter for her Chicken Satay Macarons

I am BEGGING them to turn this into a very niche YouTube series – I would absolutely religiously tune in to every episode of The Peanut Butter Chronicles with Syabira and Bradley.

Thankfully she had chosen not to go the chicken route, so that was one thing off my mind at least. She was replacing it with tofu, Paul’s second worst enemy (after anaemic ice cream cones, obviously) which is why he was eating it like Syabira had him at gunpoint

his issue was mostly that the lingering flavour was too sweet, which was jarring after it being quite savoury – but in terms of the actual bake, they were perfect

perfectly baked, perfectly shaped, perfectly Hollywood brown.

An Unofficial Macaron Ranking

  1. Occam’s Macarons
  2. James’s Little Trash Pandas
  3. Maxy’ April Flowers
  4. Syabira, Satay, You Stay
  5. Sandro’s McDonald’s Lawsuit
  6. Janusz’s Snacks on the Beach
  7. Rebs’s Black Cat Awareness Week Macarons
  8. Kevin’s Not Quite Toothpaste Macarons
  9. Carole’s Square Tomato Burgers
  10. Abdul’s Cone of Shame
  11. What Were Essentially Some Orange Squiggles

Are GaribalDi

For their Biscuit Week Technical Challenge, Prue had asked the bakers to bake 12 Garibaldi biscuits, a prospect that had Kevin eyeing up every available exit

and this was before he knew that Prue, possessed by the Harpies of Hell’s seventh circle, had decided to have them dip the garibaldi biscuits in chocolate only in the name of them having to feather the chocolate

There are a million and one other biscuits you could have had them make to achieve that, just ask Sandro, the newly graduated Biscuit Scholar

and his late night deepdive down Wikipedia’s List of Biscuits (we’ve all done it) paid off with a very respectable third place batch of Garibaldis

only being beaten by James in second place and Rebs winning the entire challenge which surprised nobody more than Rebs herself

she was mostly worried about how much fruit she had put in her biscuits, just staring at it like a film student bluffing their way through a seminar during Japanese Film History Week because they were too hungover to watch the required viewings

this joke definitely not brought to you by personal experience.

Having a less successful time of it was Abdul who as well as misunderstanding almost every aspect of the biscuits themselves, had also misunderstood the term “feather the chocolate” and created an actual white chocolate feather which James just left him to hang himself with

I’m almost tempted to believe it was a protest against the chocolate being there in the first place considering Abdul’s face during the judging

to his credit, the feathers were quite impressive considering the absolutely diabolical state of his biscuits and he wasn’t the only one to do it, as Syabira did the exact same thing although with significantly better rendered feathers

she had had more success with the biscuits than Abdul did, but she did have the advantage of Mind Palacing the vision of them out from the depths of her memory

The Adventures of Syabira Holmes: A Scandal in Garibaldi.

Dawn had a bit of a fall from grace with some overcooked biscuits and her partner in Early Handshakes, Maxy, almost immediately went wrong by just chucking the fruit into her dough from the jump

but she did manage to course correct and power through the challenge, pulling extra ingredients out from somewhere like she was Jesus at the Feast of The Many. Janusz meanwhile being the Anti-Jesus and having made 24 Garibaldi biscuits was trying to miracle them back together because only the apostles get Garibaldi biscuits

which didn’t turn out too bad in the end as he landed firmly in the middle of the pack, mostly by virtue of some literal feathers and very undercooked biscuits.

An Official Garibaldi Biscuit Ranking

  1. Rebs’s Graveyard of The Squashed Flies
  2. James’s Closely Guarded Secrets
  3. Sandro’s Masters Degree in Biscuits
  4. Carole
  5. Maxy’s Course Corrected Garibaldis
  6. The Garibaldi Biscuits Are For The Apostles Only
  7. Maisam Mostly Winging Her Way through This
  8. Kevin’s Thicc Garibaldis
  9. Dawn’s Buttery Biscuits Crisps
  10. I’m Going To War To Defend The Honour of Syabira’s Feathers
  11. Abdul’s Feather Fall

Mask 4 Mask

For the annual Ridiculous 3D Biscuit Sculpture Challenge, the bakers were having to make a biscuit mask that was capable of standing entirely upright on a stand but at least it could be made out of any biscuit they wanted – the obvious choices being gingerbread or a sugar biscuit with Paul explaining the risk of butter content just as they cut to Carole and her year’s supply of Chekhov’s Lard

Compost Carole, you could have saved her. I gave you all the clues.

As most of them were making very humanoid masks, and therefore using moulds to achieve the face shape, it did mean the tent was filled with a lot of very frightening looking gingerbread death masks, none more so than Kevin’s

and as is want to happen when you bake anything that’s had food colouring put into it, it did pale out a little bit but he still managed to achieve the underwater effect of his Siren Mask

it’s not the most aesthetic looking of all the bakes – the brown smear across the front is a touch distressing and while the macarons were overbaked, his Peppermint Gingerbread and Brandysnaps had worked very well.

Most of the bakers upon hearing “make a mask” had immediately gravitated towards the glamour of a Masquerade-style mask, nobody quicker than Rebs who is a Pretty Little Liars girl through and through

However, amongst all the feathers and lace, James brought this possessed Olmec into existence

it’s honestly a smart move to go with a bake that’s intentionally horrific on this show because even if something went disastrously wrong (as was quite likely considering it was built entirely out of brandysnaps) you could just try and pass off the fact it’s missing half its face as ~vibes~.
As it was an homage to the horror movies that James loves, he had filled the fortune cookies that he had made with horror movie cliches, the only one readable before 9pm being “Let’s ask for directions.”

once more proving that the Technical Challenge is a horror show.

Abdul had a little bit of catching up to do in the competition having angered Paul Hollywood over an ice cream cone and tarred and feathered his Garibaldi biscuits, he was needing quite the redemption arc. His tactic for this? MORE FEATHERS! His mask being inspired by his old pet parrot, so at least we understand why he had feathers on his mind now

the fact he got 90 biscuits baked and applied to the mask is really quite an incredible feat and Prue and Paul were very taken by his Tahini and Sumac biscuits. I was just delighted by the fact it was the closest we got to anyone recreating a mask from Channel 4’s documentary about dogging

it was Peak Channel 4 television and if anything should be immortalised in biscuit, it should be those very weird interviews.

While Abdul rose to the occasion, Rebs continues her scattershot approach to baking with her first attempt at the gingerbread mask not so much being The A-Team (PLL, not the 80s classic) as it was The Fantastic 4

which did mean that she was forced to start all over again, thankfully her second attempt ending up looking significantly less like the result of cosmic radiation

it was a touch small and you can see the panic in the piped details and the flavours didn’t win her back too many points with Paul think the gingerbread was just a little bit too spicy but Prue liked her millinery.

Carole was also going for a masquerade mask, inspired by her favourite song from Phantom of the Opera: Masquerade which did mean I sadly wasn’t getting a full body horror reveal mask. That didn’t mean Carole wasn’t giving us any horror though, as the moment she placed her mask on the stand and turned her back to ask if anyone needed any help, disaster struck

and while I have witnessed many a Phantom fan crying this week

the sight of Carole losing it while she desperately tried to get her mask to stand up again and Noel instantly ditching the goofy act to go Full Mother Mode was the most upsetting Bake Off moment since Kimberly mourned the loss of her pie in a field of buttercups

and Carole never did get her mask fully standing again

Paul promptly slapped her wrists over the lard content in the gingerbread, but at least they liked the taste and her almond macarons were good, so it wasn’t a complete loss.

Also throwing her mask into the masquerade ball was Dawn who was going for a baroque steampunk kind of vibe (and yes, you do have to down your drink for a steampunk reference if you’re playing the official Love Productions drinking game)

Paul and Prue were mostly taken with the mask, the only issue for Prue being that Dawn hadn’t cut the eyeholes out of it but not to worry because Paul offered his help with that

eye sockets, or lack thereof, aside – they enjoyed the definition she had managed to achieve in her lemon shortbread cogs as well as the drama of her rice paper fascinator, but they weren’t quite getting the lemony flavour that was promised to them.

With Masquerade Mayhem season over, we now turn our attention to Maxy and Sandro who were clashing over the Notting Hill Carnival – the judges being particularly concerned over how much detail Sandro was going to try and get into his mask

but they needn’t have worried because Sandro pulled it off with aplomb and shattered the gender stereotypes in the process (apparently)

it’s the sentiment that counts.
Thankfully it wasn’t a case of style over substance either as the judges both very much enjoyed his strawberry and elderflower biscuit.

Maxy’s mask was also a huge success with the judges and she certainly managed to get the carnival vibe with her crown of cardamom tuiles

and they couldn’t find any fault with her lime and coconut base either.

Maisam was coming into this challenge in a bit of a precarious challenge and was going to need to pull of something fairly spectacular to get out of danger, which was rather predictably not going to happen given she finished 30 minutes early and didn’t decide to make anything extra, dedicating most of her time to comforting Carole

which was very cute and I will protect Maisam with my entire life, but it did make the simplicity of her mask that little bit more glaring

in a tent full of people making tiny macarons and James rendering The Grumble from Aaahh!!! Real Monsters in nothing but brandysnaps and buttercream, hers just seemed like an idea that needed a little more development.

Syabira and Janusz, as well as competing for the title of our newest National Treasure, were both vying to take the art world by storm, Janusz going for a Cubist self portrait with ulterior motives of wrangling himself a free Noel Fielding original

although, I do think Noel Fielding would quite willingly trade a painting for a cubist face of Old Greg made entirely from gingerbread

it’s a lot of fun and once again, just very different from the other bakers – what can I say, I’m a big fan of the way Janusz’s brain works.

Syabira’s artistic offering was much more ~metaphorical~ as she aimed to depict the duality of man in a half chocolate, half orange and rose biscuit mask. And if anyone can depict the two wolves within them, it’s Syabira, who has VERY MUCH shown us her two wolves

I cannot explain my attachment to that picture of Syabira with the controller but I love it and it will be crowbarred into every recap. Twice if I have to.

It was a lot of work to get done and by some miracle she managed all of it, the end result being surprisingly ethereal for something made out of biscuits

it does however also activate my trypophobia because it looks quite a bit like a rabbit suffering from Shope Papilloma Virus, which I thoroughly don’t recommend googling, trust me on that one – it’s supposedly the origin of the Jackalope myth, if you want a visual hint.
Not only was it visually impressive though, the flavours were great too, with Paul praising the depth of her chocolate and Prue raving about her handling of the rose flavour in the good side.

An Unofficial Biscuit Mask Ranking

  1. James’s Grumble Death Mask
  2. Abdul’s Feathered Redemption
  3. There Are Two Gingerbread Wolves Inside Of You…
  4. Janusz’s Black Market Art Deals
  5. Maxy’s Maximalist Carnival Mask
  6. Sandro’s Futch Carnival Mask
  7. Rebs’s Ode To the Pretty Little Liars Halloween Episodes
  8. Dawn, I Can’t See Shit!
  9. Kevin’s Siren Call
  10. Maisam’s 30 Minute Cool Down
  11. Chekhov’s Lard

Star Baker was a little up in the air this episode, but because The Technical Challenge seems to count for nothing (sorry Rebs) it was Maxy who took the crown this week

as for the danger seats, the decision came down to being between Maisam, Carole and Rebs – I personally thought Kevin had had a slightly worse week than Rebs overall and should have probably been in the conversation too – I don’t think either of them should have gone home, Carole and Maisam being the obvious bottom 2. However Maisam hadn’t loudly screamed “NIPPLES” in the middle of the tent, which does count for something, and sadly it was she who got the chop

I really liked her, she had a very vintage Bake Off feel about her – nothing was overly fussy, she was a true homebaker and the things she made felt very achievable, which I personally really appreciated in the ever demanding Bake Off landscape.

And so we’re down to 10 bakers for Bread Week

If you’ve enjoyed this recap of Bake Off 2022’s Biscuit Week and would like to support the blog, you can leave a small donation via my Ko-fi account HERE.

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