Recipe to Riches reviewed, episode 3: Salt-Kissed Dulce de Leche Brownies
RECIPE TO RICHES Season 2, Episode 3
It can be hard to root for any given contestant on Recipe to Riches. They come and go so fast, without the multi-episode arcs of other reality shows, each peddling a recipe that will almost surely get changed anyway. Plus, it’s just not a “character” reality show: there’s no big villain, no everyman hero, no lovable quirky clown. It’s one shot, two if you’re lucky, and then home. But when we first saw Côte Saint-Luc, Quebec’s sweet Chantal Bekhor trying, in vain, to eyeball her recipe for the batch-up challenge, our Recipe-hardened hearts softened up. After all, just how does one multiply a pinch of salt by a thousand?
First off: Etobicoke’s Tracy Rigden, with her Salt-Kissed Dulce de Leche Brownie. She’s apparently the type to bring baked treats to work, but if the footage is any indication, her office isn’t exactly huge, so she was shocked when the batch-up challenge required her to make 1,000 little brownies (we were, too; the last one only required 400). Indeed, the massive scale-up rattled all the contestants, leading to a batch-up that was more like a botch-up. Diana Tynes’ Glazed Lemon Pecan Cookies were the worst of the lot—deemed unattractive and too simple—and she was went home. For the product launch challenge, that left Rigden and our aforementioned favourite, Chantal Bekhor, backed by her Mahbooz Date Biscuits (of Jewish-Iraqi origin, they’re essentially thin, spiced biscuits with date filling, and easily one of the most interesting products to appear on the show.) Taking a leaf from episode 2 winner Stephen Childs’ playbook (it’s one page long and just says “sex sells”), Rigden recruited showgirls to push her brownies (unfortunately rechristened Chocolate Diamonds) with a 1940s glamour theme (forget World War II–era austerity). Bekhor, meanwhile, was coaxed into working belly dancers into her marketing effort, opting for the atmosphere of a North African tea house. The customer response numbers were pretty decent in both cases but, in a gross abrogation of justice, Galen and co. went with the safe bet (a sugar-laden brownie), and our beloved Bekhor was sent home.
Best line: Dana McCauley, on first seeing Rigden’s brownie, “Oh, jeez, not another friggin’ brownie.”
Best product that the judges passed on: Cat’s Ultimate Danger Cookie
Let’s get the usual half-praise out of the way first: “good for school bake-offs”; “you could pass this off as something you made”; “they taste less artificial.” Compared to the the Bees’ Nests and Chili Bombs, these are rave reviews. But then one of our office tasters contemplated his sweet, rich little cube, overcame his anti–frozen stuff bias and haltingly exclaimed: “These. Are. Good.” It was pretty much unanimous: Rigden’s Salt-Kissed Dulce de Leche Brownies really are pretty great (and the name is just so much better than “Chocolate Diamonds”). President’s Choice didn’t skimp on the salt, and the three distinct textures—cakey brownie, gooey dulce de leche and semi-firm ganache—worked in a tasty little harmony. Yes, they are extremely sweet (one taster called it a “sugar bomb”), and they sit a little heavy in the stomach, but let us reiterate: “These. Are. Good.”
Suggested pairing: Milk. As much milk as you can drink. Or ice cream, of course.