DON’T DATE ROSA SANTOS x GBBO.
Rubi Ramos long ago abandoned her dreams of becoming a baker to focus on getting into Alma University per her parents’ wishes. But when Bake Off – a county-wide competition – comes to Orange County, she secretly signs up for one last baking hurrah. As she rises to Bake Off’s crème of the crop, old dreams reignite. Rubi must decide which she’s willing to sacrifice: her parents’ dreams, or her own.
If my parents hadn’t been running late that morning, I would’ve broken my mother’s ban on home baking. Leaning into the counter, I chewed through the bolillo’s crusty shell. The soft middle made me sigh. Licking the Nutella coated crumbs from the corners of my lips, my gaze went straight to the oven.
If hazelnut tasted this good slathered inside a bolillo, I wanted to know how it’d taste between flakey croissant layers. How it’d taste in the sugar paste topping a concha.
The moka pot brewing Cuban coffee gave a high-pitched whistle. A warning I was treading into dangerous territory.
“Rubi, el café,” my mother called from the laundry room.
“On it,” I yelled back through the last mouthful of bread. I turned the stove off. The blue flames vanished. The baking ideas didn’t. They never did.
I craned my neck toward the hallway. Still clear.
Darting across the kitchen, I grabbed a binder from the messenger bag slung on the back of the chair and pulled the pencil from the middle of my curls, wrangled high into a top-knot.
Hazelnut croissants, I jotted in the margins of the Law and Debate binder. And hazelnut conchas.
Underneath the word concha, I drew a lopsided circle, stripped its insides like the seashell the Hispanic sweetbread was named after.