So, this is what I was trying to make – a mushhushshu dragon from the Ishtar gate in Babylon:
Before I begin explaining how to make the goofiest looking mushhushshu possible, there’s a very important point to consider, namely: is the title of this post a pun? I mean, the bricks from the Ishtar gate are referred to as ‘glazed’ and ‘glazed’ is synonymous with ‘iced’ in American English, but I feel bringing in American terminology counts as cheating. I think the answer may be that it is a pun, it’s just not a very good one.
So, if you desperately wish to make this, I suggest you start off by buying blue food colouring somewhat darker than mine. Then, make the sugar cookies:
- 140g icing sugar
- 1 egg yolk (save the white for the royal icing)
- 250g very softened butter
- 350g plain flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Beat together the icing sugar, egg yolk, vanilla extract and the butter with a wooden spoon.
- Add the flour and keep beating until it forms a dough. Split the dough into two balls, wrap them in cling film and chill them for about half an hour. While they’re chilling, pre-heat the oven to 190°C, and cover a baking tray in greaseproof paper.
- Roll out the dough on a floured surface, and cut the ‘bricks’ out with a knife. I suggest using a flash card as a guide. They’re a good size, they’ll keep their shape better than something cut from paper, and you can test yourself while you bake. Don’t say I don’t know how to have a good time.
- The ingredients given above should give you 12 cookies. You’ll only need 9, but biscuits break. And get eaten. It’s always good to have spares. Put them on the tray and bake them for about 10-15 minutes, or until the corners are golden brown. You’ll probably need around 2 batches.
- Let the cookies cool on the trays, and then transfer them to a wire rack.
While the biscuits cool, make the royal icing from 400g of icing sugar and 2 egg whites. Divide the royal icing into two bowls and set one aside. Fill a piping bag with around half of the icing in first bowl, and ice the outline of the mushhushshu onto the biscuits, making certain that the shape has continuity over the joins.
Take the remainder of the icing from the first bowl, and add a spoonful of water, until it is smooth and liquid. ‘Flood’ the iced outline, gently easing the liquid icing into the corners. Leave the biscuits to dry.
While they’re drying, take the second bowl of icing, and colour it blue. Fill another piping bag with half of this icing, and outline the biscuits. Take the remaining half of this icing, make it liquid, and flood the remainder of the cookies with it. Leave this to dry, and make up some edible blue paint (what, you don’t just have that lying around the house? What do you do when you need to paint things you want to eat? Honestly). Paint on the the bricks.
Then, realise you should have set aside a small bit of the royal icing while it was still white, and hurriedly make a new, smaller batch. Divide it into three bowls – dye one red, one yellow and one black. Using a toothpick, draw on the eye and the tongue, and colour in yellow the tips of the tail and talons, the horn and the curl.
And you’re done. Next week, Lamashtu amulets made of fudge. Prizes for anyone who can come up with a better pun than ‘Lamashtu Jam-ulets’. Prizes in the form of fudge.