NEW YORK -- The recipe for success belongs to Beth Royals of Henrico County, Virginia, who won this year's 47th Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest and a $1 million payday with her Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters on Wednesday.
Four finalists competed for the grand prize, which was announced during ABC's cooking-themed daytime series "The Chew."
Each year, amateur home bakers and cooks flock to the contest for the prize money and to show off their skills in the kitchen.
"It's inspiring to see the creativity and originality from home cooks across the country," said Lynn Blanchard, the contest's head judge and Better Homes and Gardens test kitchen director. "We were truly impressed by the caliber of each dish submitted. Each category finalist showed how creative, simple and delicious home cooking can be."
In November, 100 competitors won a trip to Nashville to participate in the Bake-Off in four recipe categories: Simply Sweet Treats, Savory Snacks and Sides, Amazing Doable Dinners and Weekend Breakfast Wows. The dishes were judged equally on taste, appearance, creativity and consumer appeal by a panel of food professionals, including "The Chew" co-host Carla Hall.
The winners in each category were:
- Courtney Sawyer of Bellingham, Washington, with Cuban-Style Sandwich Pockets for Doable Dinners
- Jody Walker of Madison, Mississippi, with Creamy Corn-Filled Sweet Peppers for Snacks and Sides
- Royals' Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters for Simply Sweet Treats
- Megan Beimer of Alexandria, Virginia, with Chocolate Doughnut Poppers for Breakfast Wows.
The three runners-up were each awarded $10,000 and $3,000 in GE kitchen appliances.
To qualify for the Doughboy's top honor, a recipe must have no more than seven ingredients (minus salt, black pepper, water, cooking spray or a dusting of flour to minimize sticking to a pan), take less than 30 minutes to prepare and contain at least two products from Pillsbury and/or its partner brands.
The judges' score accounted for 55 percent of the total, with 45 percent left to an online public vote -- which ended Tuesday.
The Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest started in 1949 and began awarding its signature $1 million dollar prize in 1996.
Here's the winning recipe in case you want to try your hand at making it:
Peanutty Pie Crust Clusters
- 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.