This Stable/Manger was created for Christmas Day and was the center piece for our table. The baby Jesus was a ceramic ornament and was the only item that was not edible.
As Christmas Day has now passed, I do hope you all had a blessed and wonderful day and maybe you could try the Stable/Manger next Christmas, the cookies how ever are delightful all year long.
Wishing You One and ALL A Very Happy and Prosperous 2015.
Ingredients (serves 40)
- LEMON SHORTBREADS
- 200g unsalted butter, chilled, chopped
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup rice flour
- 1 1/2 cups gf plain flour
- 2 teasps finely grated lemon rind
- 2 teasps lemon juice
- GLUTEN-FREE GINGERBREAD
- 80g butter, chopped
- 1/4 cup caster sugar
- 1/2 cup treacle
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cups brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup gluten-free cornflour
- 2 teasps ground ginger
- 1/2 teasp ground nutmeg
- 1 teasp xanthan gum
- 1/2 teasp bicarbonate of soda
- baby Jesus ornament (my baby Jesus is ceramic and NOT edible).
- quality white chocolate melts
- sugar crystals
- sugar and food colouring
- quantity of icing if you would like your shortbreads iced.
- coconut for under the manger
- This recipe for the LEMON SHORTBREAD makes about 40 stars, snowflakes, Christmas trees or any other Christmas designs you wish.
- Process butter, sugar, flours, lemon rind and juice in the bowl of a food processor, stopping and scraping down sides with a spatula, if needed, until dough just comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently to combine.
- Divide dough in half. Shape into discs. Wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until just firm.
- Preheat oven to 170C / 150C fan-forced. Grease 3 large baking trays. Line with baking paper. Roll out 1 portion of dough between 2 sheets of baking paper until 3mm-thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut shapes from dough, re-rolling and cutting dough trimmings. Place shapes, 2cm apart, on prepared trays. Repeat with remaining dough portion.
- Bake, 1 tray at a time, for 10 minutes or until just firm to touch, but not browned. Cool on trays for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- GF GINGERBREAD
- Place butter, sugar and treacle in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until melted and sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Transfer to a large heatproof bowl. Cool for 20 minutes. Whisk in egg.
- Sift flour, cornflour, ginger, nutmeg, xanthan gum and bicarb into a medium bowl. Add flour mixture to treacle mixture. Stir until mixture is combined. Turn out onto a surface lightly dusted with extra flour. Knead for 10 seconds or until smooth. Divide dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour 30 minutes or until firm.
- Preheat oven to 180C / 160C fan-forced. Line large baking trays with baking paper. Roll out 1 dough disc between 2 sheets of baking paper until 5mm thick. Using a shape knife and cookie cutters, cut out shapes from dough to the design of your choice. If making a stable or house 2 rectangles can be cut for the roof. For the back wall/door way your can use a stencil or design free hand. Cut shapes from dough, re-rolling and cutting dough scraps. Place 2 cm apart, on prepared trays. Bake for 10 to 13 minutes or until just firm. Cool completely on trays. Repeat, cutting shapes with remaining dough disc and prepared baking trays.
- When cooled, you can begin to design your Stable or gingerbread house or Christmas cookies.
- If making a Stable or house you need to stick the walls/roof together. For my Christmas Stable I used white chocolate melts, (this represented snow and set very quickly and held extremely well). White chocolate was drizzled down the roof to represent snow and a sprinkling of blue sugar crystals added to the frosty feel.
- Note: Many stores sell gingerbread kits for that added help but the above recipe does make delicious gingerbread and the children love to decorate cookies if the Stable or house is not an option. Also note that the lemon shortbread recipe makes absolutely melt in the mouth cookies and the star on my Stable was a LEMON SHORTBREAD STAR.
- My husband loves these shortbread biscuits left plain but below I will include a Royal icing recipe, if you wish to ice your delights.
- Royal Icing: 2 egg whites 3 cups pure icing sugar, sifted 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Whisk egg white in a bowl until frothy. Gradually add icing sugar, whisking until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Spoon into a snap-lock bag. Snip off 1 corner. Pipe onto shapes to form decorative patterns. Stand for 15 minutes or until icing is set.