Amy’s Free Ideas

Seasons > Christmas > Activities for the home : Edible Nativity Scene

Make an edible gingerbread Scene-- from scratch, or better yet, buy a pre-baked gingerbread nativity set, so all you have to do is decorate! This one was purchased at Walmart. If you can’t find a kit in a store nearby, you can still make will just take a little more work. You can buy cookie cutters and pre-baked sets on-line through Amazon. Or download my paper pattern that you can cut out, then use as a guide to cut out the gingerbread shapes that you make from scratch.

This set comes with the gingerbread pieces all cut out and baked for you! It comes with 4 colors of icing, and sprinkles and small candy for decorating.

Put the pieces together with royal icing, which dries quickly and hard. To keep the pieces together until the icing dries, you can prop them up with heavy objects such as mugs or cans next to each side.

This barn consists of two house shapes, 2 side walls, and 2 roof shapes. This set has the outline of a donkey that you can draw over with icing. To color the roof, you can use yellow icing or sprinkles. Another option is putting a layer of icing, and before it dries, sprinkle on cereal such as cornflakes or crushed shredded wheat.

Decorate the Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the manger. Make the head scarves a different color from the clothing, or it will be hard to figure out what they are. Hair on Mary and a beard on Joseph make them easy to distinguish. Draw a circle for the baby’s face, and white for the swaddling clothes, and yellow “straw” around the baby.

Decorate the camels with colored icing. Decorate each one in a different way to make it more interesting. Draw a half circle for the saddle, and a line around the neck and nose for the bridle. Then make lines coming down to look like tassels.

Decorate the wisemen with colored icing. Beards help them look like men. Multiple colors make them look more interesting. Here a crown over the head scarf distinguishes them from Joseph (and shepherds if they have them.) Use candy to decorate their gifts.

Make the pieces stand up with some graham crackers or purchased or homemade cookies. Use a serrated knife to cut them into triangles. Fasten the triangles onto the backs of the nativity pieces with icing. You may need to prop them up until the icing hardens.

If you are going to feed a crowd, you may want to put the nativity scene on a cake. A sheet cake is a little bit bigger, so the scene would not be quite as crowded as the one shown here. If you do put the scene on top of a cake, put the figures on shortly before serving it because the moisture of the cake softens the cookies, so they may fall apart if you put them on too soon.

Hint: If you put the scene on a bundt cake as shown above, put a graham cracker over the hole to make a flat “floor” for the figures.

Hints for making an edible nativity scene from scratch

  1. 1.Make a base out of gingerbread to mount all the pieces. Use a sheet of paper as a pattern, or if you prefer a round base, you can use a large plate as a pattern to cut out the gingerbread base.

  2. 2.Cut a piece of cardboard to fit under the gingerbread base so it doesn’t break when you move it.

  3. 3.Roll out the gingerbread on baking paper that is on a cookie sheet, and cut out the pieces on the cookie sheet. Then pull away any extra dough from around each piece. If you roll the dough out on the counter, and try to move the pieces to the cookie sheet, the pieces can stretch out of shape. The baking paper keeps the cookies from sticking to the cookie sheet and breaking when you remove them.

  4. 4.Make as many of each figure as you want--lots of sheep, shepherds, angels. Make figures face the opposite direction by flipping the paper pattern over to the back.

  5. 5.The more details you add the more interesting it will look--so decorate the clothing with lots of icing lines and dots. It is probably better to not draw faces, other than beards and hair...they are small and really hard to make look good with the icing.

  6. 6.If you are worried about using raw eggs to make royal icing, you can buy meringue powder at baking supply stores or baking section at Walmart, or order on line from Wilton. Follow package instructions.

  7. 7.Make a piping bag for decorating with icing--put the icing in a zip-lock bag and snip off a tiny corner. Put the icing in this, twist the bag right above the icing, and squeeze the icing out of the hole.

  8. 8.The gingerbread is not going to look exactly like the drawn pattern because the dough puffs up when baking. Also, it is hard to get small details with icing, especially when a big blob squeezes out of the piping bag at just the wrong moment! But don’t worry--your kids will love it, even if it doesn’t look perfect! It will look worse if you let them decorate it, but that doesn’t matter, either, because it is for the fun of making it. So just have fun, and don’t worry if it’s not perfect!

Recipe for gingerbread at Genius Kitchen website

Royal Icing recipe at Taste website



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