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Pillsbury Bake-Off Winner Awarded One Million Dollar Prize

This year marked a change in the Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest. For the first time in its 47-year history, the winner was determined in part by a vote via the Internet. Announced yesterday, the winner was Beth Royals of Richmond, Virginia. Royals was awarded the grand prize of one million dollars. 

In November, 100 competitors were selected to submit recipes in four possible categories: Simply Sweet Treats, Savory Snacks and Sides, Amazing Doable Dinners and Weekend Breakfast Wows. One winner was chosen in every category, and those were the four finalists. Royals' prizewinning recipe, a photo of which is shown above, was from the category Simply Sweet Treats. Her recipe is called "Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters" and is listed below. 

1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust, softened as directed on box

1 bag (12 oz) white vanilla baking chips (2 cups)

1 tablespoon Crisco Baking Sticks Butter Flavor All-Vegetable Shortening

1 tablespoon Jif Creamy Peanut Butter

1 cup salted cocktail peanuts

⅔ cup toffee bits

Heat oven to 450°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with wax paper.

Unroll pie crust on work surface. With pizza cutter or knife, cut into 16 rows by 16 rows to make small squares. Arrange squares in single layer on large ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove squares from pan to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 5 minutes.

In large microwavable bowl, microwave baking chips, shortening and peanut butter uncovered on High 1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth. Add pie crust squares, peanuts and toffee bits; stir gently until evenly coated. Immediately drop by heaping tablespoonfuls onto lined cookie sheets. (If mixture gets too thick, microwave on High 15 seconds; stir.) Refrigerate about 15 minutes or until set. Store covered.

The three recipe runners up were Cuban-style sandwich pockets, chocolate doughnut poppers (pictured below) and creamy corn-filled sweet peppers. Get those recipes here. 

Chocolate doughnut poppers


We dish up more neat food posts at the Neatolicious blog

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This is how it worked in detail: A panel of judges selected the four finalists and ranked them. The top-ranked finalist received 44 points, the second place received 33 points, third place received 22 points, and fourth place received 11 points. At that time, the public votes were added in to decide the winner. Points from the judges counted as 55% of the total possible points. So judges had a hand in choosing the winner. This was the first time public votes were accepted as points counted the final decision.

Also, the finalists made public appearances prior to winning; the winner was announced as the four were guests on ABC’s program “The Chew.”
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