Arts & Entertainment

12-Year-Old Livingston Resident Secures Spot in Top Nine on "Kids Baking Championship"

Credits: Food Network

NEW YORK, NY — Coming off a week where she was nearly sent home for presenting a runny ganache to the judges, Livingston’s own “Kids Baking Championship” contestant, Soleil Thomas, landed in the middle of the pack on Monday and earned a spot in the top nine on the Food Network competition.

This week, the 10 remaining bakers had two hours to marry lemon with a flavor they chose at random to create a lemon bar in a specific shape that the contestants also chose at random. Since lemon is host and mentor Valerie Bertinelli’s all-time favorite flavor, the pressure was on for week three.

“One of my favorite things about lemon is that it goes with so many other flavors,” said Bertinelli. “I like to call them BFFs: Best Flavor Friends.”

Sign Up for E-News

A lemon bar, as explained by Abby Martin, one of Thomas’ best friends on the show, is a shortbread crust (a butter cookie made with butter, sugar and flour) with a lemon-curd filling.

Flavor-and-shape combinations for this challenge included ginger/triangle; blackberry/circle; strawberry/rectangle; almond/parallelogram (diamond); raspberry/rectangle; blueberry/circle; cherry/square; coconut/diamond; walnut/square; and pecan/triangle.

“Lemon bars look like they’re pretty easy to make, but actually they are not,” said Alex Czajka, Kids Baking Championship’s first Canadian contestant. “So many things can go wrong.”

Thomas received coconut and diamond as her flavor-shape combination and was excited because her mother is from the Caribbean and she is familiar with the flavor. However, she said she was a little worried because she knows coconut is not a very strong flavor.

In order to make the coconut shine, Thomas made her lemon curd with coconut cream and added shredded coconut to her shortbread crust. She also combined powdered sugar with some coconut cream and coconut milk to make a coconut drizzle for the top of her lemon bar.

To satisfy the mid-challenge twist of creating an edible lemon decoration, Thomas whipped up a quick butter cream, molded it into a lemon shape and froze it. She was excited to see that she was the only baker that had this idea.

Ultimately, however, the judges said the lemon flavor was spot on and that they could feel the coconut texture, but that they could not taste any coconut. They also felt that the butter cream was an odd choice.

Overall, they said her cookie was perfectly chewy and not under-baked, and that her lemon curd was delicious. Thomas landed once again in the middle of the pack.

Kids Baking Championship said goodbye to Grady Holloway, 11, Chesterfield, MO, for using too much butter in his lemon bar. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Livingston Lacrosse Senior Jason Scher Named Athlete of the Week

April 20, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston High School senior Jason Scher has been named as TAPinto Livingston’s Athlete of the Week after scoring 14 goals and contributing 15 assists in his last five games—bringing him to a total of 35 points so far this season.

With Scher leading the pack, the Lancers are 5-2 after winning their last five consecutive games. Scher scored three ...

One Free Class at Cycle Bar Livingston

April 23, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Get a free ride at Cycle Bar Livingston. Livingston’s premium indoor cycling facility invites the public to sign up for their first ride free.

Click HERE to see the full class schedule.

During this week only, Cycle Bar is also participating in the Livingston Fitness Crawl, offering five days of free classes through Friday.  

Cycle Bar ...

Livingston Fitness Crawl: Five Days of Free Classes at 12 Livingston Businesses

LIVINGSTON, NJ — The public is invited to enjoy one free class at as many of Livingston’s fitness businesses as they would like during this week’s Livingston Fitness Crawl, a Livingston Business Improvement District event, beginning on April 23 and continuing through April 27.

For five days, no purchase is necessary at the following locations:

BARRE3 ...

Full Pet Grooming Service 25% OFF

LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Cloud Canine Grooming Salon & Spa in Little Falls is open for business and owner and pet stylist Melissa DiRoma is offering 25% off a FULL GROOMING SERVICE for all new customers. Call (973) 837-8884 or visit to schedule your appointment. Mention promo code TAP DOG for discount. 

About Cloud ...

Free Wellness Event at The Joint Chiropractic

WEST CALDWELL, NJ — The public is invited to a "Wellness Event to Remember" at The Joint Chiropractic in West Caldwell on Thursday, April 19 from 7 p.m. to  9 p.m.

Guests will include:

Michael Piercy, owner of The Lab
Justyna Debski, owner of Revive Mind Body
Karen Caplan, owner of Nutrition Transitions

Join the ...

Luxury Facial Services 50% OFF

MILLBURN, NJ - DeAmour Salon & Spa is proud to announce its newest team member, Renee Rudikh, formerly of the famous Georgette Klinger Spa at the Short Hills Mall.

Rudikh has extensive experience and specializes in a plethora of facial styles including: deep pore cleansing/European, microdermabrasion with collagen, teenage, men's, back, LED and customized European ...

YMCA $0 Enrollment in April

LIVINGSTON, NJ - For the month of April, the West Essex YMCA is offer $0 enrollment. 

Take advantage of all that your local Y has to offer for the whole family!

Personal Training
Group Classes
Low monthly membership
And much much more!...

Check out all that the Y has to offer HERE

About the West Essex YMCA:
The West Essex YMCA has ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, April 25, 10:00 AM

Estelle Finkel Center for Learning, Livingston

Upcoming 2018 Spring SAT and ACT Courses


Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Temple Sharey Tefilo-Israel, South Orange

Taking a Stand for Menstrual Equity



Thu, April 26, 7:00 PM

Livingston High School Fitness & Wellness Center/Auxiliary Gym, Livingston

Livingston Public Schools Presents: Livingston ...


Essex County Executive Announces Improvements to County Parks System

April 22, 2018

ORANGE, NJ - Using the tennis courts in Essex County Irvington Park as the backdrop, Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced last week that the tennis courts in Irvington Park and Weequahic Park, and the basketball courts in Ivy Hill Park and Monte Irvin Orange Park will receive facelifts with new asphalt playing surfaces, equipment and fencing. The project is part of ...

Abilities Expo 2018 Offers Resources for People With Special Needs

April 22, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Livingston’s Abilities Expo 2018 will be held on Sunday, April 29, from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Livingston High School. This family-friendly event showcases a variety of resources, products, services and technologies for people with special needs – all under one roof. The Expo is co-sponsored by Livingston Public Schools and the Livingston Advisory ...

Letter to the Editor: Don't Complain. Vote!

April 12, 2018

Don’t Complain; Vote!

It’s no secret that people have strong feelings about what’s happening in our country. It’s also true that much of politics is local. In November, 11th District residents will have the opportunity to choose a new congressional representative who will not only serve as a critical check on the federal level, but also determine how our distract fares ...

Cluelessly Clueless

I teenaged my way through high school under the assumption that my parents had no idea what I was doing.  I like to think I was pretty good at withholding information and presenting situations in ways that were other than they really were.


Still, sometimes they found things out.  Like the time my friends plopped me on our front door step at one o'clock in the morning ...