I made biscuits – specifically St Patrick’s Day themed biscuits – shamrock/clover shaped affairs for the benefit of the blonde who I hoped would be impressed. She was convincingly enthusiastic so I feel pretty chuffed which is just as well because getting the green off everything is going to be a whole new challenge.
I’ve been eying up ‘The Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits’ for a while. I don’t think I’ll be buying it (but wouldn’t turn my nose up at a copy if anyone wanted to give me a present) it’s such a very pretty book with some stunning ideas, but this kind of decorating takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a steady hand. I hope I’ve picked up enough hints from my covert browsing to have a go at basic stuff but honestly don’t have the patience or steadiness of hand required (the time is a whole other issue).
My biscuit recipe was from Nigella’s ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ (I think they’re called cut out biscuits or butter biscuits or something very like – either way I can eat a lot of them and they hold their shape well) but I imagine any much loved biscuit formula would do the trick – and now for my distilled decorating knowledge – we can all have green sticky kitchens now.
Having made biscuit dough, chilled biscuit dough, rolled it out, squidged it back together, and cut out biscuit dough before finally baking into biscuits and allowing to cool - mix your icing. It should be royal icing which it seems easiest to buy in packets you just add water to (no raw egg to poison myself with thank you very much). Ignore the instructions on the packet – they are only a distraction. For each colour in the design (see how I did a green on green with only green thing – it’s because it was easy that way) there needs to be some thickish icing to pipe an outline in and much thinner flooding icing. That’s icing thick enough to write with and dry fast, and far thinner than I imagined icing that wants to be able to ‘flood’. It helps to have a vast array of icing bags, nozzles and little squeezy tube things to put icing in. The icing goes a lot further than I expected it to – this never happens with cakes.
Edible (or at least non toxic) glitter is the baking equivalent of candlelight. It makes everything pretty and covers up an icing technique I can most kindly describe as naive (I need a lot more practice okay- I admit that). I will be getting more glitter.
The icing will make the biscuits a bit soft – when it’s basically dry re-bake in a low oven (about 100°C) for 10 minutes or so to crisp them back up.
That’s it – that’s what I’ve learned. I want to make Easter biscuits for friends and family – so let me assure you would be recipients that if I do this it’s a lot more effort that buying an egg, so even though I’m blatantly embarking on this project so I can purchase more squeezy bottles and cookie cutters (love them) and will obviously be enjoying myself – it really is all about you!