Halloween Baking Championship recap: Trick or Treat illusion?

Guest Judges Stephanie Boswell, Zac Young and Carla Hall, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 6. as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 6. Photo provided by Food Network
Guest Judges Stephanie Boswell, Zac Young and Carla Hall, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 6. as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 6. Photo provided by Food Network /

Would you be willing to open the door to these Halloween Baking Championship desserts?

Mom and dad always said to check you Halloween candy before eating and this Halloween Baking Championship recap had the bakers questioning if they should have kept the porch light off. While some amazing desserts are a feast for the eyes, a few of these Halloween desserts should not see the light of day. Which baker didn’t make it off the Food Network haunted porch?

After last week’s haunted house theme, the remaining bakers take a step forward in the Food Network baking competition. Before they can journey through all the rooms of these season’s competition, they must step up onto the porch.

For this week’s theme, the bakers face the haunted front porch. While there might be ghosts of unhappy candy-less children floating around, a more frightening item awaits them.

The bakers must make a croquembouche. More importantly, that croquembouche must have a Halloween candy spilling illusion. Given this challenge, the bakers might have wished that they skipped the Halloween Baking Championship house this year.

Periodically, Food Network has used the croquembouche on its baking competition shows. The challenge is a good way for the judges to measure a baker’s talent and creativity. While the term croquembouche might mean crunch in the mouth, these desserts better have the right texture and flavor.

Even with three hours to accomplish this task, the bakers will need to be smart with their choices. Although there is no dagger find this week, there isn’t time to bake and re-bake pate a choux.

Unfortunately, several bakers had issues with their choux dough. From burning the cream puffs to cream puffs not being puffy, it seemed that the kitchen ghosts were playing games with the bakers.

Luckily, some of the bakers planned well. Extra choux dough can help to solve those baking errors. Like almost any Food Network challenge, the bakers who plan often rise to the occasion.

Of course, Halloween Baking Championship always has a twist or two. First, the bakers needed to incorporate canned pumpkin puree into their croquembouche. Second, they must have an edible fence surrounding the croquembouche.

Looking at the ingredient twist, that flavor shouldn’t have been too hard for the bakers. Since these desserts should always have fall flavors, pumpkin is an obvious choice.

Additionally, all the Halloween candy flavors would work with pumpkin. While the flavor combinations might not be apparent at first blush, the combinations are there. Yes, even lime and pumpkin can work together.

The most unexpected aspect to this challenge was the bakers’ difficulties in constructing the croquembouche and the candy illusion. While this Halloween Baking Championship challenge is complicated, there were both errors in structure and flavor execution.

Halloween Baking championship
Guest Judge Stephanie Boswell speaks with Contestant Aaron Clouse, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 6. Photo provided by Food Network /

Overall, the croquembouche were ok but could have been more impressive. Truthfully, Aaron’s zombie themed dessert scored with both creativity and flavors. While not a traditional soaring tower, it brought Halloween to the theme and was quite impressive.

More importantly, he found a way to balance two of the harder flavors, lime and pumpkin. The key lime cream with a pumpkin marshmallow was really smart. Maybe, this flavor combination could be a new Halloween dessert.

The other top baker was Michael. His raven inspired croquembouche was glowing from the inside. Using the green apple candies as both flavor and color inspiration, this Halloween dessert was enticing yet creepy at the same time.

More importantly, Michael excelled in the flavors. The granny smith apple filling with a white chocolate pumpkin mousse hit all the right notes. It screamed fall yet wasn’t too sweet.

In the end, only one baker could win. Aaron and his zombie inspired croquembouche earned him another week in the Halloween Baking Championship haunted house.

Unfortunately, two bakers fell to the bottom. Both bakers struggled with executing their Halloween dessert.

Halloween Baking Championship
Contestant Nerwan Khalife and Judge Zac Young, as seen on Halloween Baking Championship, Season 6. Photo provided by Food Network /

First, Nerwan burnt her cream puffs several times. The use of sprinkles was a poor choice. While her pumpkin tiramisu filling flavor was delightful, it was a touch grainy.

More importantly, looking at her croquembouche, it was a hot mess. As Carla said, “You needed to be blind as a bat” to appreciate that Halloween dessert. Maybe the bats in the belfries should have worked a little harder on destroying that fence.

Sinai had execution issues, too. While lemon and pumpkin might not be an obvious choice, it can be done. Unfortunately, she let the caramel burn. Again, execution is key to success.

The baker leaving Halloween Baking Championship was Nerwan. Too many mistakes and a poor visual does not earn any treats from these Food Network judges.

While the competition is still early, it is hard to determine a front runner. Although Aaron, Michael and Holly have been quite impressive in the first two episodes. Then again, the Food Network Haunted house has all types of tricks waiting for these bakers.

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Which Halloween dessert would you have picked as the winner this week?