Halloween Baking Championship S4E1 recap: Melting desserts are tricky


In Halloween Baking Championship S4E1 recap, the eight hopeful bakers had a tricky task on this first episode. Who successfully made melting desserts?

It’s Halloween season on Food Network. This Halloween Baking Championship S4E1 recap has the bakers taking on two very difficult challenges on the first episode. Could these challenges set the tone for what is coming throughout season 4?

As the Halloween Baking Championship Season 4 first episode opens, the bakers are met with a curious challenge. Hanging in front of them are several animals encased in a spider web. Their challenge is to create a dessert showing that animal captured inside a spider web. If anyone thought that this season would be some cute, kid-friendly Halloween scenes, they were mistaken.

Since the episode dove right into the challenge, it wasn’t clear if anyone had a huge advantage in this challenge. As each baker was introduced through their short profile, it looked like the pre-heat challenge was a total toss-up. While some animals were easier to incorporate than others, the bakers’ creativity was truly put to the test.

Looking at the bakers’ creations, a few treats stood out for their creativity. Lyndsy’s dragonfly dessert balanced both a slightly creepy design and a very tasty treat. The combination of textures was extremely smart. While the blood orange was a little overpowered by the dark chocolate, it was overall a successful dessert.

Host John Henson announces the rules for the pre-heat, as seen on Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship Season 4. photo provided by Food Network

Steven’s raven themed cherry hazelnut tart was impressive in both flavor and design. The layers of the tart made for a perfect bite. The tartness of the cherry, the decadence of the chocolate and the crunch was brilliant. Additionally, the design with the raven was smart. Without being over the top, the spider web had entangled the raven.

Unfortunately, many of the bakers struggled with this first challenge. Andrew’s snake was quite disappointing. It looked more like a big, green worm than a menacing snake. Also, his spider web looked more like bird guano (sorry). But, his choice of using paprika in the chocolate buttercream showed a lot of ingenuity. That type of choice could make him a baker to watch.

Also, Brian struggled with this challenge. His dump cake was buried under a web that looked more like a serving of pasta. With a centipede as his critter, no one would know that a 100 legged insect was hiding under that pile of sugar.

The contestant run to grab their main heat challenges, as seen on Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship Season 4. photo provided by Food Network

The baker winning the pre-heat was Steven. As the winner, he received an advantage in the elimination challenge. His advantage was the use of tempered chocolate in this round. An advantage that could serve him very well.

The elimination challenge had the bakers creating a rather difficult dessert, melting desserts. Each dessert had to have their hidden element appear after the outer shell had melted away. The ability to both get an item to melt and to have the hidden element appear correctly was a huge challenge. Unfortunately, one baker saw his dreams of the title melt away.

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  • Looking at this challenge, only a few bakers were successful. Part of the challenge was for the dessert to melt. If the dessert didn’t melt properly, the challenge wasn’t met. Truthfully only two bakers had fully melting desserts.

    Of course any episode of Halloween Baking Championship has a twist. The twist was that the bakers had to use cayenne pepper in the dessert. Based on any of these desserts, the twist wasn’t that difficult. Most bakers had chocolate in the dessert. Cayenne pepper and chocolate is a good combination. The other option was to cayenne pepper to the melting sauce. Either way, the bakers didn’t have too many problems incorporating this twist.

    The most successful melting dessert was Lyndsy’s dessert. She smartly incorporated her “eyes” theme by using pomegranate seeds. It gave an appearance of eyes and the theme was clear. Her chocolate cage successfully melted. Her dessert succeeded on all aspects of the challenge.

    Even more important, her flavor profiles were on point. The combination of textures and flavors easily made this dessert win. Lyndsy could be a front runner in this competition.

    Host John Henson announces the main heat challenge, as seen on Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship Season 4.

    The second most successful dessert was from Michelle. Her flavors were balanced. More importantly, her dessert melted. The use of a blow torch to melt the chocolate shell was smart. While her hidden heart was juvenile versus scary, the dessert was successful. After a shaky pre-heat, Michelle proved herself in the elimination challenge.

    Most of the bakers had middle of the road desserts. They weren’t fabulous, but they weren’t horrible either. As a fan, I was hoping that the bakers pushed the envelope a little more. While melting desserts are hard, there was an opportunity to do something very creative.

    The bottom two bakers were Andrew and Brian. Similar to the pre-heat, both bakers had execution issues. Andrew’s hearts were broken. If there was only one heart mold in the kitchen, he probably should have thought of a different visual. Sending out a sub-par dessert isn’t smart.

    Also, Andrew’s worms were a little sad. But, his sauce saved his dessert. Although the combination of all the components verged on being too sweet, the caramel sauce itself was yummy.

    Brian didn’t complete a major component of this challenge. His skull, the hidden element wasn’t hidden. It was placed on the front of the plate. Also, his witch’s hat did not successfully melt because the hat was filled with mousse. While the chocolate crumble was yummy, the dessert didn’t really fulfill the challenge.

    Comparing the two bottom desserts, Brian was sent home because he didn’t fulfill the challenge. His skull wasn’t hidden. While both desserts had errors, Brian’s mistake was a bigger issue.

    The judges melt contestant Cicely Austin’s dish from the main heat with dark chocolate sauce with cayenne pepper, as seen on Food Network’s Halloween Baking Championship Season 4. photo provided by Food Network

    While the desserts are a big component to this Food Network show, the judges’ costumes are always an entertaining portion of this baking competition. This week had Clara Hall as the Neon Hippie, Lorraine Pascal as the Zombie Priestess and Zac Young as the Garden Gnome. While the judges’ costumes don’t always incorporate the baking challenge, Zac was able to work in a gnome pun during the judging.

    Throughout the season, I think that there should be a prize for the best judge’s costume. Too bad the bakers don’t have to do a final challenge based on one of the costumes during the season. Maybe that could be an at home challenge for Halloween Baking Championship fans.

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    Halloween Baking Championship airs on Food Network Monday nights at 9 p.m. ET. Check back for FoodSided’s weekly recaps.

    Do you think that the right baker went home on this Halloween Baking Championship S4E1 recap? Could you predict which baker could go far in the competition? What costume do you think that Clara Hall will wear next week? Share your comments with #FoodSided.