On Tuesday 4th December, 26 bloggers got together at L’atelier des Chefs to take part in a Christmas event with a decidedly culinary twist.
The order of the day? Gingerbread houses - built from the ground up!
A Home Economist kicked off proceedings with a message about the ovens the teams would be using.
The unique NEFF Slide & Hide® oven is the only oven with a door that slides away under the oven cavity, bringing you closer to the food you’re cooking. The Slide & Hide® gives home cooks and chefs greater visibility over the food they’re making and better control over the way it bakes.
Control comes, in part, from NEFF’s patented fan technology. CircoTherm® is designed to heat up food more quickly and distribute the heat more evenly. This saves time and ensures perfect conditions for baking.
To make the delicious gingerbread houses, the bloggers started with the dough. Created from ground ginger and golden syrup, as well as staples like soft brown sugar, butter, flour and bicarbonate of soda, the mixture was baked at 180°C and cut into shapes to make delicious gingerbread biscuits.
While the dough spent time in the oven, the attendees enjoyed canapes, festive mulled wine and a spot of networking.
When the dough finished baking, the big “Gingerbread House Build-Off” started, and bloggers began assembling their creations. To hold the baked biscuit pieces together, the bloggers made a special icing from four egg whites, the juice of two lemons and icing sugar. They then spooned the mixture into piping bags, before piping along the wall edges. Decorations were added and a winning team was crowned at the end of the evening.
All in all, it was a fun-filled evening, one that the bloggers thoroughly enjoyed.
Want to make a gingerbread house at home?
Whether you attended the event or simply want to make a big impression on guests this Christmas, we’ve got the full recipe outlined below for you – yes, the same recipe the bloggers followed on the day.
Gingerbread house recipe
- Serves: 6 people
- Prep time: 10 minutes
- Cooking time: 15 minutes
- Rest time: 60 minutes
For the biscuit:
- 375 grams unsalted butter
- 150 grams golden syrup
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
- 300 grams soft dark brown sugar
- 900 grams plain flour
- 20 grams bicarbonate of soda
For the icing:
- 4 egg whites
- Juice of 2 whole lemons
- 900 grams icing sugar
Directions to make the biscuit
- Set the oven to 180°C.
- Melt together the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a small pan over a low heat.
- Mix the plain flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda in a large bowl.
- Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, then pour in the butter mixture and stir until everything is incorporated.
- Knead by hand until a smooth, firm dough is achieved.
- Fold 2 sheets of baking paper in half and make a crease; open at the creases, and divide the dough equally between the two sheets.
- Place the dough on one half of the baking paper, fold the paper back along the crease and roll the dough into a flat, even shape. Do this for both sheets of baking paper. This will give you 2 sheets of dough of even thickness.
- Cut the dough in the requisite shapes, using the stencil provided. (See bottom of the page).
- Bake for 15 minutes; the biscuit will still be slightly soft when it comes out of the oven.
- While the biscuit is still hot, recut the shapes, as the mix will have slightly joined together during baking.
- At this stage, you can cut out windows and doors.
- Leave to cool. Once cooled and set, carefully remove the excess trimmings and assemble.
Directions to make the icing
- Whisk the egg whites in a mixer until frothy.
- Add the icing sugar and mix on a low speed until combined.
- Add the lemon juice, increase the speed and mix again until incorporated.
- If desired, split the mix and add food colouring of your choice.
- Pour the mixture into multiple icing bags and place different tips on each one to give you more choices when decorating.
- The icing needs time to set firmly, so make sure it has rested.
- Cement the walls with thick layers of icing using a wide nozzle.
- Decorate as desired and enjoy with the whole family!
Add an extra special touch to your gingerbread house by creating a window pane effect! At step 11, take out your biscuits halfway through the cooking time. Cut out some window shapes, crush some boiled sweets with a rolling pin and sprinkle them in the gaps you made. Put them back in the oven and bake for the rest of the cooking time. You’ll have the fanciest gingerbread house in town.
Share this article
Related in Cookers