Anna Ginsberg, author of Cookie Madness and winner of the last Pillsbury Bakeoff, has the amazing ability to do some really creative things with food. I’m not talking about tracking down truffles or whatever the latest high-end ingredient du jour is, but using fairly ordinary, mainstream products in new ways. This talent serves her well in cooking contests, where you are usually required to take an assigned product (or products) and put a completely original spin on them. Anna’s Bakeoff recipe, for instance, for Baked Chicken and Spinach Stuffing used frozen french toast as an element in the filling.
To test your own skill at doing this and to get a chance to win $5,000, you might want to think about entering the next Mix It Up With Betty! contest. It asks participants to use Betty Crocker cookie mixes with other ingredients of your choosing to come up with new and inventive cookie-type desserts. Anna’s recipe, which was the grand prize winner last year, was for Chocolate-Topped Peanut-Toffee Bars (pictured), if you need some inspiration. The new round, unfortunately, doesn’t start until this fall, but that does give you plenty of time to come up with a winning entry and test lots of (hopefully) homemade goodies in search of inspiration and techniques that will transfer to the cookie mixes.