Chapter 26

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"Coffee is every writer's weakness." - Riley Monroe

"Riley Monroe. Please step up to the stage for your challenge," The counselor, Jacob called backstage.

Taking a deep breath and releasing Aaron's hand, I began walking towards the front. I stopped halfway and looked back at Aaron.

"Good luck," He mouthed and gave me a thumbs up.

I gave him a small smile in return and mouthed, "Thank you."

After walking onto the brightly lit stage, I made my way to the commercial kitchen in the center. In front of me, sitting in front of the stage were three judges. All wore white chef outfits.

The lady with her brown hair tied in a bun leaned forward and spoke in her microphone. "Hello, Riley." There was a kindness in her voice that calmed me down a bit. "The first challenge is to create a dessert." Okay. Sounds easy enough. "But, you may only use the ingredients that are available to you. And you have to use all of them."

My hands were getting a little bit sweaty but I remained calm. The lady continued to talk. "The finished dish will be scored on presentation and taste. You will find the ingredients on the counter to your left and you have exactly forty-five minutes to prepare your dish. Good luck, Riley." She leaned back on her chair as the judge on the far left spoke. "Your time starts now."

The buzzer sounded and I immediately sprung into action. Quickly taking note of the ingredients on the counter, I set to work.

First, after washing my hands, I grabbed the mixed berries to wash and dry them. After, I placed them in a bowl and put them in the fridge to chill for a couple minutes. I rushed over to the oven and turned it on to preheat it. Then I got started on the crust. I grabbed the flour, eggs, oil, butter, and combined them all in a bowl and mixed.

It was kind of nerve wracking having the judges watch your every move in the kitchen, but I tried my best to ignore their gazes. I grabbed the mixed flour in the bowl and began kneading and flattening the dough. Once I was done, I got a jagged round cookie cutter and started cutting the flour.

Thirty-five minutes left.

After I finished cutting, I moved all the spare dough back into the bowl so that now I was left with the cut out pieces. I then began pinching the sides of each piece until the stood up at least three centimeters. Once I was done, I placed them onto an oiled baking tray and put them in the oven for ten minutes.

Twenty-five minutes.

My time was running out, but I told myself to stay calm. All I needed to do now was create the cream.

I grabbed a container of cream, powdered sugar, half and half milk, and combined them all in a bowl. Quickly, I whipped up the concoction until it had a nice and fluffy texture. After that, I placed the cream into the fridge to cool for five minutes.

Twenty minutes.

I quickly washed my hands and got out three white square plates. I looked back on the counter and saw chocolate and mint. I furrowed my eyebrows and thought of what to do with them. I could always drizzle the chocolate, but what am I supposed to do with the mint? Knowing that I was running out of time, I started to improvise.

First, I set a sauce pan filled with half an inch of cream on boil. Then, with another saucepan, I began to melt the chocolate.

After the cream in the first saucepan was boiling, I tossed a handful of mint leaves into the cream and stirred. While the leaves were boiling, I continued stirring the chocolate and lowering the heat so that it wouldn't burn.

A Handful of Sugar (COMPLETED & REVISED)Where stories live. Discover now