‘The Great British Baking Show’ Recap: Season 12, Episode 2 “Biscuit Week”

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We are back with the second episode of The Great British Baking Show. This week the remaining 11 bakers are taking on “Biscuit Week.” So grab yourself a cup of tea, your favorite biscuit and let’s dig in.

Signature Challenge

For their signature challenge, the bakers were asked to make brandy snaps in two hours. Sounds simple? It was not. The bakers were asked to bake 24 brandy snaps. They could be any shape and flavor but had to be perfectly laced biscuits with a good snap and all identical. The bakers all seemed to struggle with this challenge. They were all pushed for time due to the batch baking required. However, most seemed to fair well in this challenge.

Crystelle stood out in this challenge with her apple pie and crumble inspired brandy snaps. Her snaps had a lovely crunch and the judges loved the flavors and textures of the chunks of apple. Lizzie also stood out for her “fast-food apple pie” snaps, based on her favorite apple pies from a fast-food chain that had to remain unnamed. She received good feedback for her delicious brandy snaps despite her biscuits not being very lacy and the judges were a bit sceptical after she described her stewed apple topping as “claggy.”

Flavor king Jürgen triumphed once again. He made spiced brandy snaps with chai, cinnamon and cardamom. His snaps were very thin, had a lovely crunch and judges loved his well-balanced blend of spices.

Giuseppe had a bit of a rollercoaster of a challenge with his chocolate and hazelnut brandy snaps. The other bakers made their brandy snaps before their fillings due to the need to batch bake. However, Giuseppe made the controversial decision to make his crème pat before his snaps so that it had time to chill. The judges were not convinced that he would finish in time. This led to him rushing to make his brandy snaps and there was a heart-stopping moment where he dropped his baking tray with his snaps on as he tried to put them in the oven. Luckily, none of them landed on the floor and were all saved. It all turned out well in the end as the judges praised his brandy snaps for being very pretty, delicious and crisp even though his chocolate flavor wasn’t very strong.

The Great British Baking Show

On the other end of the scale, Jairzeno struggled with this challenge. This didn’t seem too surprising as he struggled with timing in his showstopper challenge last week. His chocolate passion fruit and pineapple brandy snaps were very messy as he rushed towards the end. The judges also thought that his flavors were too strong.

Surprisingly, Maggie (who did very well last week) also struggled with this challenge. Her blackcurrant brandy snaps were very tasty but unfortunately, she hadn’t baked her snaps for long enough. This meant that they were chewy rather than crunchy and her filling had also made the biscuits even more soggy.

Technical Challenge

For the technical challenge, the bakers were asked to produce a sandwiched jammy biscuit. The recipe was set by judge Paul and he wanted perfection. The judges expected a short biscuit sandwiching buttercream and jam. The bakers had one hour and 45 minutes to produce 12 biscuits. The biscuits would then be ranked in a blind judging from worst to best.

Once again, this challenge seemed fairly simple on the surface. However, the judges wanted all of the elements to be perfect. The bakers also needed to ensure that the biscuits were the same size and shape on the top and bottom and the biscuits needed a swirl pattern pressed into them with a neat heart shape cut out of the middle.

The main challenge was that the tent was warm during this challenge. The buttery biscuit dough tended to melt unless the bakers were chilling it in the fridge as much as possible. The bakers also needed to chill the dough in order to get the stamped swirl on it. However, if they spent too long chilling their biscuit, they risked the biscuits being too hot to put the buttercream on after they had been baked.

What really seemed to divide the bakers was whether they chilled their biscuits after stamping them but before baking them. Those who painstakingly decided to wait and chill their dough had their patience pay off as they all placed near the top. Amanda came in fourth, Freya in third and Giuseppe in second. Jürgen narrowly beat him to first due to his exquisite looking biscuits that had good definition and consistency.

Those who didn’t chill them first lost the definition on their swirls and placed low. Jairzeno came in ninth place due to losing the definition on his swirl, his uneven biscuit sizes on the tops and bottoms and his hard biscuits. Crystelle came in tenth place mainly due to her poor jam. She had overboiled it and so it changed the entire texture of the biscuits. She received some rather brutal feedback from Paul that he could use her jam to paste a poster on the wall. Rochica came in eleventh place as she was struggling for time because she burnt her jam and had to redo it. This meant that she didn’t have enough time to chill her biscuits and so it had no swirl and the biscuits were almost raw.

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Showstopper Challenge

The bakers were faced with a real challenge for their showstopper. They had four hours to build a 3D replica of their favorite childhood toy that had to have an interactive element. Once again, the bakers also had to double as engineers. Most bakers decided to use gingerbread due to its sturdy nature as most other biscuits are too soft for 3D building.

Jürgen impressed the judges by creating the tallest toy. He explained that he didn’t have many toys growing up but his grandfather had made him a windmill that they placed in the garden. Jürgen constructed his windmill from gingerbread and tuille biscuits for the sails. It was a very impressive structure and the sails turned around. The judges also loved the flavor which wasn’t overly sweet.

Giuseppe also impressed with his Reversi game. He made the board game from gingerbread and his game counters from chocolate and orange sable biscuits. Impressively, he had even created a rounded recess for the counters to sit in. The judges loved the engineering and his classic flavors.

Chigs showed off his baking prowess with an incredible snooker table made of spiced gingerbread. He made the snooker cues out of biscuit and the balls out of fondant icing. Although Paul pointed out that he had a row of red balls missing. The judges thought it was very clever and Prue particularly liked the slightly cakey texture of the middle of the gingerbread.

So many of the bakers made amazing toys. I wish I had the time to write about them all but I would highly recommend heading over to The Great British Baking Show Twitter to take a look at them all.

On the other hand, Maggie struggled with this challenge. She made a beach playset from gingerbread. Paul thought it was rather basic and that because it was simple, it would have needed more elaborate decoration to stand out. Her gingerbread was also a bit too thick and heavy.

Jairzeno also struggled with his spiced gingerbread sailing ship. The judges liked the taste of his gingerbread but his ship looked very messy. He had a problem with one of his masts breaking and collapsing. This led to him admitting that it looked more like a shipwreck.

Amanda had the most heartbreaking moment of the episode. She decided to be different and not use gingerbread. Instead she used American sugar cookies to build her rocking horse. She had practiced it three times before and it had always worked. Unfortunately her lemon and cardamom cookies cracked and collapsed as she tried to assemble her horse. She tried to glue it back together with sugar but this sadly didn’t work. The judges praised her bravery for using a different biscuit and they thought it was delicious. If it hadn’t have collapsed, the judges said it would have been one of the best biscuit creations they had ever had.

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Jürgen managed to beat Giuseppe to be “Star Baker” again this week. They have both established themselves as very strong competitors and I wouldn’t be surprised to find them both in the finals.

This week Maggie and Jairzeno were both in trouble. It was a surprise to find Maggie in the bottom considering how well she did last week. It surprised Maggie that she was safe this week and Jairzeno ended up being eliminated. Unfortunately, he struggled too much with time management and so his bakes tended to end up rushed and messy.

Baking Show Best Bits

Here are some of my favorite non-baking moments from this week’s episode!

  • Lizzie admitting that during her practice bake in the tent, she put on one of the Harry Potter films and didn’t end up baking at all.
  • Giuseppe calling Jürgen the “baking terminator” because nothing stops him. Giuseppe pointed out that he may not have an Austrian accent but his German accent is fairly close.
  • Freya helping Amanda trying to fix her bake. It was a lovely display of how the bakers help one another when they can. It may not have worked in the end but at least Freya tried. Even if it wasn’t particularly reassuring when she told Amanda that horses are generally shot when they break a leg.

Next week, the bakers will compete in “Bread Week”. Make sure you check it out on Netflix next Friday, then check back here for the latest recap!

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By Lynette
Lynette has been a lifelong nerd and over the last few years finally learned to let her freak flag fly. She likes to dip her toe into almost every fandom but is particularly passionate about Supernatural, Stranger Things, Marvel and Disney. When she isn’t binge watching programs, she loves to swim, sing and (true to her Ravenclaw nature) read. Lynette joined the Nerds and Beyond staff in 2019 and loves sharing her nerdy knowledge with the world.
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