Ann Brubaker has been keeping a secret. When friends asked for news about the Martha White Muffin Mix Challenge for which she was a finalist, she hedged at bit and said, “they plan to announce the winner on March 31.”
The Sawyer woman knew who the winner was on March 4 — although she had a little trouble believing it when she received the call.
“Really?” she asked. “My recipe?”
Indeed. Brubaker’s Double Berry Cheesecake Bars were the national winner in a contest that required entrants to create an original recipe using at least one of Martha White’s 17 muffin mixes. She submitted the recipe just ahead of the deadline, after one trial that wasn’t entirely satisfactory. She tweaked the recipe, but didn’t have time to make the bars again before sending in her entry.
Entries from 44 states were narrowed down to five finalists, who competed in an online vote. The online votes were combined with the preliminary judging scores to determine the winner. Brubaker was told that 12,000 votes were cast for all finalists in a three-week period. That sounds like a lot of votes, but she noted that rules allowed a person to vote once every day.
In addition to a $5,000 cash award, Ann and husband Kent were flown to Nashville, Tenn., where the company is located, for publicity pictures and a video of her making the dessert. Nashville was beautiful, with flowers and trees blooming, she said, but spring farming chores kept them from staying as long as they would have liked.
The contest has been a fun experience, she said, and she appreciates all the people who took the time to vote for her recipe. She’s not sure if she will enter another contest.
“All this publicity makes me think maybe not,” she said.
Recipes for the top five winners can be found at www.marthawhite.com, and the Tribune printed Brubaker’s recipe for Double Berry Cheesecake Bars with a story on Feb. 16.