A Grotto in Honor of Our Lady!
When the King of Heaven took on human form, He chose a humble stable for the place of His birth and shepherds to be the first of His stewards. So too did the Queen of Heaven – like Her Son – chose a humble grotto in Lourdes and young shepherdess to reveal one of the mysteries related to Her own birth – Her Immaculate Conception.
Last spring, our little brother made his First Holy Communion. The creative juices were flowing in the kitchen the week before his special day when my mom had the idea to create an edible Marian grotto to place alongside his First Communion cake. We’d like to share with you instructions on how to make your own mini Lourdes Grotto!
The base of the grotto is made with marshmallow-cereal treats. To give the grotto a stone feel, instead of a rice krispie type cereal, we used a chocolate-peanut butter cereal. After mixing, we divided the batch into three portions. Using the first third of the batch, line the bottom of a greased glass bowl (this will be the roof). The two other sections will be used to make “U” shapes in greased round cake pans. Once set up, those three pieces can be stacked to form the entire grotto. You will need to compress each section as tightly as you can to give it strength. This type of cereal mixture will not compress as tightly as the classic rice krispie treat, but we like the look when finished.
To make Mary, mix together a small batch of regular rice krispie treats. Shape a portion of the batch into a ball for the head and a cone shape for the body. Once both of those pieces set up, you can attach them with frosting.
To decorate the grotto with vines and flowers, we made flowers from red, orange, and purple Airhead candy, but you also use fruit roll-ups or something similar. Save the blue and white pieces for Mary’s clothing and veil. The red, orange, and purple Airheads can be rolled thin with a rolling pin and cut into long strips. Roll each strip to form a rose. When the roses were all rolled, we were ready to make vines. For this, we made a half batch of rice krispie treats, but substituted a corn flake type cereal for the rice cereal. Before adding the corn flake cereal, you can color the melted marshmallow/butter mixture green. When thoroughly mixed, stretch the “corn flake treats” into vines on a piece of lightly greased foil and place the roses throughout the vines. Let the vines set up this way and the roses will be attached well as the vines dry.
Drape the reserved blue and white Airheads over the regular rice krispie treats to make Mary’s cloak, mantle, and veil. We frosted Mary’s face with flesh colored icing and used chocolate frosting to give Her a face and hair. Lastly, use frosting to attach the roses and leaves to the Grotto and place Mary in the Grotto.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!