Best Bake-Off Bar Is Truly a Fantasy

Photo: Coffee House managers all smiles beind the Swirlz bakery case.
Ed Andrade, center, flanked by his fellow CoHo managers, from left, Lauren Woods, Elisa Hagopian, Kelli O’Day and Ray Arellano, celebrating Ed’s Fantasy Bar — named after Andrade — their winning entry in the Staff Assembly Holiday Bake-Off. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)
 Bake-Off trophy
Award plaque: A whisk for the winning team!

We hope you haven’t had your fill of holiday treats, because we’ve got some yummy news to share: the results of the second annual Staff Assembly Holiday Bake-Off. This year’s contest, an all-bars edition, drew 22 entries.

The bakers prepared their bars off-site, then, on Dec. 12, presented them for judging in the Student Community Center’s multipurpose room. The contest began with the People’s Judging, during which a panel of 66 volunteers tasted bite-sized pieces of every entry.

The tasting panel winnowed the competition to five bars for judging by Pauline Lestringant, a teaching assistant, Department of Food Science and Technology; Annegret Cantu, assistant specialist, Department of Viticulture and Enology; and Martina Sokolowsky, postdoc, viticulture and enology.

Each judge had five full-size bars to sample, and afterward the panel decided the results as follows:

1st place — Ed’s Fantasy Bar, a three-layered treat of shortbread on the bottom, salted caramel in the middle and chocolate on top. Entered by the Coffee House management team: Ed Andrade, facilities manager; Ray Arellano, assistant facilities manager; Kevin Elmore, BioBrew manager; Elisa Hagopian, kitchen manager; Levi Menovske, CoHo South Café manager; Kelli O’Day, production manager; Darin Schluep, director; Emily Weidemann, student employee manager; and Lauren Woods, front-of-house manager).

 Ed's Fantasy Bars, under cellophane.
 Ed’s Fantasy Bar, ready for the judges.

Hagopian, O’Day and Woods did the baking, using the Millionaire Shortbread recipe from Cooks Illustrated. To Andrade’s surprise, his fellow managers changed the name to Ed’s Fantasy Bar, in his honor as the “Coffee House baked-good taster extraordinaire.”

“That bar was sweet and tasty,” Andrade told Dateline UC Davis. “It went well with a cup of coffee.”

Unfortunately, his “fantasy” has come to an end — and everyone else is out of luck, too. “It’s just a dream now, because we don’t offer it,” he said. “Maybe some day. I’ll have to work on that with the management crew!” (The management team says the cost is too high and the bar takes too long to make).

Prize: $50 Amazon gift card donated by California Casualty and $20 Starbucks gift card donated by the Center for Musculoskeletal Health.

 Layiktez and Creveling
Layiktez                            Creveling

2nd place — Oatmeal Chocolate and Caramel Bar, by Lina Layiktez, director, Conference and Event Services. Prize: $50 Amazon gift card donated by the Thank Goodness for Staff Vendor Showcase.

3rd place — Raspberry Crumble Bar, by Kate Creveling, student affairs officer, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Prize: $25 gift card donated by European Wax Center of Davis.

Rounding out the top five: Nanaimo Bar (with Nutella as an ingredient), by Tasha Miller, executive assistant, Community Resource Centers; and Orange Balsamic Molasses Bar, by Colin Joseph Goulding, analyst, Office of the Registrar.

The bake-off committee is gathering the recipes (from the bakers who are willing to share!) and will present the directions in PDF format, to be available via a link in the next Staff Voice (Friday, Jan. 13).

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