Happy Easter! Browsing through the pictures on Flickr this week, I was inspired by the many beautifully decorated biscuits for Easter. I hadn’t made any iced biscuits since Christmas and so decided to have a go at making some for work. Delving through my vast and ever-growing collection of cookie cutters, I found a chick, a rabbit and also my handbag cutter, which I could adapt to make Easter hampers.
“The Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits” is my go-to book when making iced biscuits – they hold their shape and taste great! The book describes the icing process in detail and has lots of great ideas and pictures to inspire your decorating! Once you have mastered the basic recipe, it is easy to adapt to incorporate your own flavours. For my Easter spiced biscuits, I added lemon and orange zest, cinnamon and mixed spice to capture the Easter flavours of hot cross buns and traditional Easter biscuits.
These biscuits do taste great still warm out of the oven but also store really well – I find they are fine for at least a week, if stored in a biscuit tin.
Easter spiced biscuits
- 350g plain flour
- 100g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Zest of an orange
- Zest of a lemon
- 125g granulated sugar
- 125g salted butter, diced (at room temp)
- 125g golden syrup
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
Makes approx. 24 biscuits
- Sift the flour, baking powder and all the spices into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and stir well.
- Rub in the butter, using just the tips of your fingers, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- Make a well in the centre of your mix and add the golden syrup, egg and zests.
- Use a knife to stir the mixture until it begins to come together as a dough.
- Use your hands to bring the dough together.
- Divide the dough into two and shape into two flat disks.
- Place the first piece of dough between two sheets of baking parchments. (This means that you do not have to add extra flour when rolling.)
- Roll the dough out evenly until it is approximately 5-6mm thick all over (you can buy rolling guides, but I have this rolling pin, which is brilliant!). If the top or bottom sheets of parchment crinkle at any time, peel it off and smooth out.
- When rolled to the correct thickness, move the dough (still sandwiched between parchment) onto a baking tray and then into the fridge to chill for at least 20-30 minutes.
- After chilling, use your selected cutters to cut out the biscuits, cutting each one as close to the last as possible, in order to use the dough efficiently. Re-roll the dough as necessary, but try to work the dough as little as possible.
- Place each biscuit onto a lined baking tray, allowing space between as the biscuits will spread a little.
- Bake the biscuits for 14 – 18 minutes. When cooked, the biscuits will be very lightly golden, firm around the edges but still slightly soft on top.
- Remove the baking trays from the oven and carefully remove each biscuit from the tray, placing them gently onto a wire cooling rack. The biscuits will still be very delicate at this stage.
- Allow biscuits to cool totally before storing or icing.
These biscuits were decorated using royal icing, which dries to a very hard surface – making it easy to wrap these biscuits as presents or transport them. The easiest way to work with royal icing is to start with a ready-made royal icing mix.
- 500g royal icing sugar
- 75ml water
- Paste food colours
- Add the water to the royal icing sugar in a large bowl.
- Use an electric mixer to beat the mix (starting on low and increasing to high speed) for about 5 minutes. You are looking for the mix to be bright white and a toothpaste-like consistency (this is “line icing”).
- Divide the line icing between smaller bowls.
- Use a skewer to add small amounts of the paste colours to the bowls of icing, adding a little at a time until you reach the desired colour.
- Spoon some of the icing into a piping bag with a very small round tip.
- Pipe the outlines of the shapes. Set aside the rest of the line icing to add details to the iced biscuits.
- Add water to the icing left in the bowls until you reach a pouring consistency (this is called “flooding icing”).
- Spoon into a piping bag or piping bottle.
- Pipe the flooding icing onto the biscuits to fill the areas outlined on the biscuits.
- Allow iced biscuits to set.
- Use remaining line icing and other decorative items to complete the decoration of the biscuits (I used jelly beans and flowers stamped out from fondant icing).
- Leave to dry for at least 24 hours.