Locate your stiffest, tightest, most uncomfortable pants and chuck them into the gaping void of your closet until the doldrums of January descend upon us. We will not be constrained by a relentless button and zipper fly this holiday season. Nope, not THIS year! Sweet indulgence is on the menu thanks to the Food Network’s winter menu of confectionary delights. Janine Schaults and Peyton Lombardo dip into the lineup like an espresso-flavored marshmallow meeting a fountain of flowing dark chocolate:
JS: It’s a bit of a dirty trick to rank the 12 bakers on the new season of Holiday Baking Championship (Mondays at 9 pm ET) as either naughty or nice. Yes, the top competitor takes the first spot on the leaderboard right under the word denoting a personal characteristic—not skill—while the person who flubbed an individual challenge sits above the other derogatory term. The devotion to Santa Claus’ famous judgement call is a bit much for a group so polite and jovial. Host Jesse Palmer and judges Nancy Fuller, Duff Goldman and Carla Hall wield the power to lift the spirits of these professional and at-home bakers or dash their candy cane hearts into a thousand peppermint shards. In the end, the $25,000 prize means little compared to their career-making approval.
PL: I love Holiday Baking Championship, but there’s something about the bite-sized fun of Christmas Cookie Challenge (Mondays at 10 pm ET) that speaks to me. In one episode, bakers are tasked with making a 3D free-standing nutcracker cookie, and this challenge puts my stress level to another dimension! I won’t spoil if any nutcrackers come tumbling down, but it’s sure fun to watch these bakers go all out on festive icing and sprinkles!