I have been busy today.
First I cooked up and decorated a batch of shortbread to take with us to my Mum’s over Christmas and then I set about making some more biscuits…
My Mum gave me an early present this year – a Nativity biscuit set. Think Gingerbread house but with camels and sheep.
I have never made a gingerbread house in my life. Challenge accepted.
I got everything out, read the instructions and puzzled over why my Nativity cutters included a small pig. There isn’t usually a pig in the stable, is there? I was bemused when I had a sudden revelation a few minutes later and twigged that it wasn’t a pig – it was Jesus in the manger! Is it blasphemy to mistake baby Jesus for a piglet?
It took several hours and wasn’t without its issues but I got there. Firstly there was an issue with my stable and by issue I mean it fell apart completely. A bit of messy patching up with icing later and it was back to being one (giant) biscuit again. Yay.
Next I had to make my mountain of biscuits look like what they were supposed to. I’m not the most artistic person in the world and I suck at getting icing to the right consistency to actually use – this was possibly the most challenging part of the whole activity.
Firstly I attempted Mary. This involved trying to make icing pale blue and, you know, making her look like a person not a blob. She looks a bit sunburned after I got trigger happy with the red icing, but never mind.
Next I tried Joseph and I was quite pleased with his beard when I finished.
Then it was the kings and their camel, and the shepherds and their sheep (which totally looked like llamas until they were iced) and then the donkey and finally, Baby Jesus and the star.
Jesus and the star (and the stable) were my favourite things to decorate because I got to do my new favourite thing – SPRAY PAINT! Apparently edible spray paint is widely available in shops, I don’t know how I have never seen it before, but there you go. I have had so much fun with it today (it smells amazing if nothing else) that I am fairly confident that it will now be a permanent thing in my baking cupboard.
With the details added, the next thing was construction.
Cue a very loud expletive here. (It’s a good job the kids were very much asleep in bed by this point.) The broken bit of the stable broke again and half of it bounced away across the kitchen and fell in the sink. Cue almost bursting into tears.
I rescued it, played with the idea of baking a new one then decided to just dry it off and stick it together again – we won’t eat that bit but there’s more than enough biscuit left aside from that bit to feed us all.
Getting everything to both fit on the tray and stay upright was fiddly and required the assistance of several cocktail sticks and excessive puddles of icing around everything but eventually I got it assembled and, if I may say so myself, it don’t look half bad!
I’m just hoping it will still be standing tomorrow morning as Joseph and the camel are rather propping up the saggy stable middle….
The final product: