Enter the Master Chef “Gingerbread” Holiday Baking Challenge

By Debby Teich

When it’s cold outside, baking is a great way to warm up the kitchen and spread some holiday cheer. No confection symbolizes the holidays quite like gingerbread in its many forms, from edible houses to candy-studded gingerbread men to spiced loaves of cake-like bread. If you have a gingerbread recipe that gets rave reviews from family and friends, it may be worth some money. The Master Chef Holiday Baking Challenge will be held on December 7, from 10am-11:30am, at the Carl Shechter Southwest Focal Point Community Center. There is no cost to enter, but all participants must be a member of the SWFP Community Center. The deadline to submit an application is December 5.

“Holiday baking has a way of evoking all the little holiday memories from our childhood that will last a lifetime,” said Helen Daniels, Recreation Division Supervisor. “The sweet magic of the holiday season never ends. Its greatest gifts are family and friends.”

The Master Chef Baking Challenge got its start in 2005, when Daniels created the Chocolate Challenge as one of the evening activities at the Valentine’s Dance. In 2012, the Chocolate Challenge was moved to the daytime, so that more members could participate. Three years ago, the event was expanded it into a Master Chef Baking Challenge, requiring other key ingredients, such as berries, pineapple and chocolate.

The rules for the upcoming baking challenge include:

  • Any type of dessert that includes gingerbread (any type of sweet treat that combines ginger and other spices with honey or molasses), such as gingerbread cookies, gingerbread houses, gingerbread donuts, gingerbread brownies, gingerbread cheesecake or more.
  • Entries must be homemade.
  • A list of all ingredients must accompany each entry.
  • Up to two entries per person allowed.
  • Participants must be present to win.
  • The celebrity judges for the Holiday Baking Challenge are from Vicky Bakery. They will rate the entrees on taste and appearance. Cash prizes include 1st ($50), 2nd ($30), and 3rd ($20). Winners will also receive bragging rights as “Master Chef.” Once the judges have tried all of the entries, audience members will have an opportunity to sample them.

    “Remember to be creative,” said Daniels. “Judges are not only looking for the best tasting dessert, they are also looking for the dessert that is beautiful to look at!”

    Participants must be a member of the SW Focal Point Community Center, which is located at 301 NW 103rd Ave, in Pembroke Pines. Membership is free for people 18 years and older. For information, call 954-450-6888 or visit www.ppines.com, click on Departments and select Community Services.