I am basically a professional Food Network viewer. Seriously, it is usually on at least one television in my house or I'm watching it on my phone. But surprisingly, I don't usually watch the baking competitions and holiday specials. Today, I made the exception by watching Holiday Baking Championship: Gingerbread Showdown, Season 2


What is Gingerbread?

The easiest definition is used to describe any type of sweet treat that combines ginger with honey, treacle, or molasses.

Gingerbread Showdown: Christmas Parade Season 2 Episode 4

We start with some general gingerbread rules. The display has to be at least 90% edible and at least 40% gingerbread. The theme is to make a parade scene, and of course, there is a chocolatey twist. Each team of two has ten hours to complete their project.


Representing Evansville, Indiana - Fronshea Hillman & Brandi Neal

It was a snap judgment to add more cobblestone, but the judges actually thought that it looked nice. The real challenge was the hot air balloon. I was holding my breath, just hoping that it would stay put. The first try kind of toppled over. But Shea had some extra pieces and the all-important rice crispy treat glue.

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The time that was lost did not allow for the band characters to hold their instruments. Santa and the hot air balloon were on point, but the judges felt like it was nice, just not very parade-like. I was seriously wondering if they would finish in time. With only 90 minutes, out of 10 hours left, they kicked it into high gear.

Fronshea Hillman is the owner of Cakes by Shea, and she calls herself a Pastry Professor with over 10 years in the gingerbread AKA Edible Pottery field.


Dr. Brandi Neal, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Student Affairs at USI was chosen to accompany Fronshea. Apparently, she is also the Doctor of cocoa. The Baking Twist was to add something baked with cocoa and infuse it into the display. Brandi's creation was a winner winner, a $1000 kitchen suite winner! She called it the Carmel and Brownie 'Crownie'. YUM.


The Winning Team Elisabeth and Jen - Bowling Green, Kentucky

Yes! The winning duo is from Kentucky. How cool is that? Their design was modeled after a small-town parade in Kentucky. The windows in the houses actually light up in the dark.

Holiday OREO Chocolate House

Food network 02
Food network 02

Source: PBS.org
Source: USI
Source: Cakes by Shea

How to Make an Easy 3-Ingredient Mug Cake (Any Flavor You Want!)

I've seen about a zillion mug cake recipes that use 15 ingredients and they never turn out. But this one uses the power of the cake mix and after only 70 seconds in the microwave, you are looking at your own little slice of heaven. 

PICTURES: See Inside 'Yellowstone' Star Cole Hauser's Spectacular California Ranch

Cole Hauser doesn't just play a rancher on Yellowstone, he's lived that life off-screen, too. The actor's 5-bedroom-6-bathroom, 5,402-square-foot rural home on a very private, double-gated three-acre parcel of land includes the lavish 4-bedroom, 4-bathroom main residence, as well as a guest house and a separate studio apartment. The main house runs completely on solar power and comes with a 3-car garage, with easy transitions between indoor and outdoor living spaces, and the exterior of the property includes a pool area and a hot tub, as well as fenced-in horse corrals.

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