Savoring a Sweet Takedown — Chopped After Hours

Show: Chopped
Chopped After Hours

After Hours: Short-Order Cooks 09:46

Geoffrey, Alex and Chris transform a sweet basket into balanced desserts.

Chefs: Alex Guarnaschelli, Chris Santos and Geoffrey Zakarian work with the ingredients from the "short order" episode: banana pudding, vanilla ice cream, icing, brownie mix, as seen on Food Network's Chopped After Hours, Season 21.

Photo by: David Lang ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

David Lang, 2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.

When it comes to creating a successful dessert, it's often about striking the right balance. Cloyingly sweet is not necessarily how you want to finish a meal, especially on Chopped. When presented with a dessert basket consisting of some of the most-sugary processed items, the two finalists (a 10-year-old and an 11-year-old) on Short Order Cooks stayed mainly within the sweet confines of the basket, whereas the judges take it one step further, bringing in savory notes, but with one holdout: Geoffrey, who says, "I'm going right at the sweetness."

"All the best restaurants in the country are sort of tilting away from excessive sweetness," Ted infers from what Alex and Chris are saying about taking the baskets, containing banana pudding, vanilla ice cream, icing and brownie mix, in a slightly savory direction. "You could kind of just put all this together and be done," says Alex, baking a warm brownie and topping it with a scoop of ice cream, but "the challenge is to figure out something to make that reinvents what's here." Chris adds, "I think that's the only route you can go," taking it down a savory road.

"I'm going for the Americana," says Alex, using orange juice and zest to blend with the ice cream to create a Creamsicle sherbet. "It's something I really liked as a kid." Geoffrey decides to turn the brownie mix into waffles, and he grabs rum and bourbon to make an adult-friendly toasted marshmallow banana milkshake. "I'm doing a dessert quesadilla," says Chris, partially baking the brownie mix in the microwave to use as the filling. "I would never know that was from a box, a tube and a jar," Geoffrey tells Alex about her layered brownie sundae, which used dried cherries, bruleed banana and cocoa nibs for a savory effect. Alex is impressed by the "whimsical" nature of Geoffrey's milkshake and waffles. Chris lives up to his word, going the savory route with his banana, peanut butter and chocolate quesadilla with toasted marshmallow and roasted peanuts.

Click on the play button on the video above to watch the entire After Hours episode and see the dishes Alex, Geoffrey and Chris created. Then browse behind-the-scenes images for an insider's look at the cooking.

Start a conversation with fellow fans and tell FN Dish in the comments below how you would have approached this basket: What would you make out of banana pudding, vanilla ice cream, icing and brownie mix?

Catch up on past Chopped After Hours episodes by watching all the Web-exclusive battles online.

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