Journal Bake-off

First annual staff baking competition

Johnny Romo

Ayslin Bowman’s Ābol kūkas

While it is a secret family recipe, Bowman was willing to give a description of the dessert that should yield similar results when made at home. It is a layered dessert with a sugar cookie type base. That layer is then coated in a creamy cheesecake like topping. It is topped with sweetened apple slices. Bowman is also accepting orders for your holiday festivities!

Johnny Romo

Lucy Hiller’s Hot Cocoa Snowballs

1 fully cooked 9×13 inch cake (made from a box cake mix)

10 ounces marshmallow fluff

½ cup melted white chocolate

3 crushed candy canes


1. Crumble the fully cooled chocolate cake into small pieces, and mix with the marshmallow fluff.

2. Roll the mixture into 1-2 inch cake balls and chill in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes.

3. Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals in the microwave. Add in coconut oil if the chocolate is too thick.

4. Dip about ½ of the cooled cake balls into the chocolate mixture.

5. Sprinkle on the crushed candy canes.

6. Serve.


Claire Steinbrook’s Holiday Blondies

2 cups of all-purpose flour

Johnny Romo

¾ teaspoons of baking powder

A sprinkle of salt 

¾ cup of salted butter, s


1 cup of granulated sugar

½ cup of packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Green food coloring 

Christmas themed sprinkles

A handful of chopped Hershey sugar cookie kisses

⅓ cup of white chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Contestants Claire Steinbrook (left) and Lucy Hiller (right) congratulate Ayslin Bowman (middle). Bowman won the Journal Bake-off by one point. (Johnny Romo)

2. Grease a 9×9 pan or 8×8 pan.

3. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.

4. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy and light.

5. Add in the brown sugar and vanilla extract.

6. Mix in one egg at a time until fully incorporated.

7. Mix in the bowl of dry ingredients.

8. Add in the green food coloring and mix-ins. 

9. Press batter into the pan and add sprinkles on top.

10. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

11. Let cool and then enjoy!