Holiday Baking Champioship season 10 episode 7: Triple the stress

Contestants Greg Ballenger, Jennifer Carey, Joshua Juarez, Sharrod Mangum and Thoa Nguyen, baking process, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 10.
Contestants Greg Ballenger, Jennifer Carey, Joshua Juarez, Sharrod Mangum and Thoa Nguyen, baking process, as seen on Holiday Baking Championship, Season 10. /

Holiday Baking Championship season 10 was back with episode 7. It was the semifinals, and the producers decided to torture the remaining bakers (and me) by making them do three challenges in one episode.

The first challenge had the bakers making desserts with plantains for Kwanzaa. But they didn’t get to pick what they made. Whatever card they picked told them what they would make. The options were plantain brownie sundae (Sharrod got this one), plantain tart tatin (Ashley chose this one), plantain upside-down cake (Justine got this), plantain cobbler (Javier picked this), plantain napoleon  (Kevin received this one), and plantain whoopie pies (Thoa picked this one).

Beyond making the plantain dessert, they also had to decorate it with Kwanzaa colors.

These all turned out pretty good. Justine’s upside-down cake looked ridiculously delicious. The main issues were with Sharrod and Ashley’s desserts. Ashley’s tarte tatin didn’t turn out when she flipped over the pan and Sharrod didn’t have enough time to remake his caramel sauce after he burned him. The judges also thought Thoa’s whoopie pies were way too big,

Holiday Baking Championship was as stressful as ever

And to no one’s surprise, Justine won this round and received an advantage in the next challenge.

The next challenge had the bakers breaking up into two teams of three to make an edible ornament. Justine’s advantage turned out to be that she could pick her teammates. She chose Javier and Kevin which put Ashley, Thoa, and Sharrod on a team. Justine’s team made a 3D bulb ornament while Sharrod’s team made a flatter ornament with a wreath around the top.

Both were infinitely gorgeous, but the flavor of the cake and the attention to detail led Sherrod’s team to take the win! Their ornament also had glitter and that always wins in my book!

Onto the final challenge! Duff was finally back to judge this challenge, and the bakers had to make Christmas tree puff pastry pull-aparts. The flavor of the pull-apart was completely random. The flavors they had to choose from included chocolate truffle, raspberry, maple bacon, apple cider, cinnamon roll, and chai. The bakers also had to make a sauce to go with their dessert.

There weren’t too many issues here, but the judges did not like that some of the bakers covered their pull-aparts in icing. They wanted to see the brown, flaky dough which…would have been great for the bakers to know beforehand. To me, they all looked delicious, but Kevin’s had a bacon tree trunk, and you really can’t outdo that.

The biggest issues were that Javier’s dough was raw and that Sharrod made a rugelach dough and the judges did not like that. I think the judges were WAY too picky, and their critiques (especially when it came to Sharrod’s pull-apart) were completely ridiculous.

So who won the challenge? That was Thoa! But who went home? I was not thrilled with this decision, but they sent Javier home.

Next week is the finale, and the bakers will have to make macaron wreaths, stocking stuffer eclairs, and holiday train cakes. It will be another episode where I will be having several panic attacks.

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