The Pillsbury Bake-Off always holds a strange fascination. Though many of the recipes seem bizarre and rely heavily on processed foods, the contest does inspire entrants to be creative. Most of the recipes are like a train wreck - you can't look away from them. But some truly motivate us in our own kitchens. This year, Pillsbury's added a little twist: you get to vote.
While the overall million dollar prize winner will still be decided by a panel of judges, voters will pick the "America's Choice" winner, and also have a chance at a million dollar prize of their own.
Our picks for the best Pillsbury Bake-Off Recipes
• Baklava Biscuits Using the nutty filling of baklava with a flaky biscuit batter is so smart. We'd want to recreate these at home with fewer processed ingredients and preservatives.
• Spicy Double-Mozerella Pancetta Pizza. Of course we're drawn to the pancetta, but what really intrigues are the sesame seeds and other topping sprinkled on before baking the pizza. More creative pizza toppings.
And our picks for the strangest Pillsbury Bake-Off Recipes
• Fiesta Fruit and Shrimp Salad Stacks There are so many flavors going on in this dish, including (but not limited to) avocado, jicama, banana, pineapple, pepper jack cheese, shrimp, sour cream, marmalade, and chipotle in adobo. Whoa.
• Tropical Crab Rangoon Appetizers Pineapple and shellfish can sometimes work, but pineapple pie filling is far too sweet to come anywhere near a crab.
• Peanut Butter Mole Enchiladas. Mole sauce should have chilies and spices, not peanut butter and sugar, right?
Of course strange doesn't necessarily mean loser! In the last Bake-Off, Anna Ginsburg's million-dollar winning recipe used frozen waffles in a spinach stuffing.
You can see all the finalists and vote here. Be careful, you only get to vote once. Voting ends March 31, 2008.
If big corporate competitions aren't your thing, check out some of our past cooking contests. We're particularly enamored of our latest winner, Candied Kumquat & Bittersweet Chocolate Cherry Mini Galettes.
-- By Nina