Of all the things I love doing, baking is probably at the top of the list. It is a new passion of mine that I practiced actively this season. From boozy gummy bears to boozy jam and edible Christmas tree decoration to double chocolate bark, I have been having a blast experimenting! This festive season was also my first time making my own and working with gingerbread. Remember that wreath? So when I received an invite to attend a Gingerbread House Bake Off, I could only say yes!
The Great British Bake-Off is a show I love so much, Tuesday has become my favorite day. Well, until the show finishes and I need to wait another year. Then Friday gets back to be my favorite day. So imagine my joy when I was to take part in a bake-off myself. Although, since Paul Hollywood was not in sight, it was not as stressful. Helen from The Hels Project – also know as taster in chief of my baking – was there too.
Nothing better than baking with a friend, am I right?!
And so we went… and the event did not disappoint! How did the night start, you may ask? Well, how any evening is supposed to start, really. With bubbles, wine and cheese. My Frenchness is going back in full force, but just so you know, that’s how you do it! The event was at L’Atelier Des Chefs by NEFF and Currys PC World.
We dedicated the first 20 minutes there to catching up, chatting with bloggers, enjoying some bubbles and drinks, before the chef explained how the night would be, what we’d be doing and introduced us to NEFF’s Slide & Hide® doors oven, which you might have spotted in The Great British Bake-Off. This oven is a piece of technology that all amateur bakers would die to have in their kitchen – patented CircoTherm® tech, bottom heat, possibility to cook multiple dishes at once. Basically perfection!
Now, onto the most interesting bit. The gingerbread house making. Have you ever made one? I had not! 26 bloggers attended the event, split into three teams. Our mission for the night? Make the most beautiful gingerbread house and the most attractive canapés and bruschetta! All of that while being timed (of course), and running for the title of best gingerbread house!
If the gingerbread house was a challenge in the bake-off, it would have been the technical, as it sure required some good baking, multitasking and design skills! More on that later!
After we were split into three teams, we were given some pre-made gingerbread dough. We had to cut out and bake a gingerbread house, then build it and decorate it. Alongside, we were given extra ingredients to make bruschettas and canapés. But first thing first, as a team, we allocated tasks. Cutting, baking, gingerbread house, canapés, bruschetta. While Helen and I first started on the cutting, we ended up on the canapé and bruschetta making.
Tomato and basil bruschetta is the quickest recipe. You cut some bread into slices, brown in the oven for a few minutes, brush with olive oil, cover with sliced tomatoes and basil, then spray with balsamic vinegar. DE-LI-CIOUS! As per the canapés, we used the gingerbread leftovers to create shells that would contain crème fraîche and rose shaped salmon. The roses were my idea. Not bragging, I swear!
Also, just so you know, the gingerbread shells were never the ideas at the start. They did not work in the oven, but you know, 8 creative bloggers together give birth to miracle and we came up with the shell ideas. We crushed the remaining failed biscuits and used to make soil around the house. So, you see, nothing is ever lost or really a failure.
You learn as you go.
Building the gingerbread house was much more difficult than I expected. But being the amazing team we were, all chatty, welcoming, having fun and friendly, we worked it all out together. While some put up the walls together, Helen took care of decorating the roof while I was in charge of the Christmas trees and other mural ornaments!
From climbing roses to breaded candy, succulents made from jelly beans, roses made from strawberry pencils and dolly mixture plants, our house was a blogger dream come true! The best of the best? Or oh-so 70s style curtain at the door made of rainbow laces candy! I have to admit though, a few times, we really thought the house would collapse. But it held.
It held! And then came judgment time! Who would have built the best house? They were all so colorful and original. You could see each team had put a lot of effort in building their gingerbread house. However, it is our gingerbread house that won. And you know what?
Best team dynamic my friends!
Teamwork pays off and it was amazing to see that 8 women who were complete strangers to each other, did such a great job altogether! Our house eventually collapsed. Not because it did not hold, but because someone took the roof home. It was bound to happen. I guess I can’t move in anymore.
This gingerbread house bake-off is the first baking event I have ever been to. My focus on baking is quite recent and I have absolutely loved the night! It is one of the best events I have been too and I enjoyed baking in team so much!
The event was the best way to kick off the festive season and next year, I can already tell you, I already know I will attempt to make a gingerbread house on my own!
Have you ever made your very own gingerbread house? If so, how did it turn out? Did it hold? And how did it taste? Have you been to that sort of event before? Did you like it?
Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you liked this post.
See you soon, love, Corinne
*I was invited to this event but all opinions are my own. Not all photos are mine.