This weekend, with only two weeks until Easter, I thought it was high time to whip up some delicious festive biscuits. This is a fail safe family recipe with a lovely touch of Easter spice that’s perfect for this time of year.
Normally I would leave the biscuits un-iced with a simple sprinkling of caster sugar, however, I’ve seen lots of biscuit icing videos on Instagram recently – mainly from the amazing Biscuiteers – so I thought I’d give their beautiful techniques a whirl.
Now….. it turns out intricate icing is not necessarily my bag and it’s a toosh more difficult than it looks… so don’t look too closely, but, they do look super pretty and vibrant in a lovely pile on a vintage plate, so I think my mission was successfully accomplished!
Here’s the recipe – let me know how you get on…quite frankly I think they’re just too yummy – we don’t have many left!
- 200g butter at room temperature – I always use Anchor salted
- 110g caster sugar
- 400g plain flour
- 2 egg yolks from medium free range eggs
- 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp of ground all spice
- 1 slosh of milk – around 4 tbsp but see how you get on, take it slow
- 250g icing sugar
- 1tsp fresh lemon juice
- 2ish tbsp cold water
- Natural food colouring in fresh spring tones
Preheat the oven at 180 °C/gas mark 4 and lightly grease a couple of lined baking trays.
Put both the butter and the sugar in a bowl and beat together until the mixture is light and fluffy. If your butter is super hard, melt it slightly to soften.
Beat in the egg yolks and sieve in the flour, the cinnamon and the all spice.
Add in the milk and bring the mixture together. Knead it using your hands and use enough milk to make a soft smooth dough – don’t add so much milk that it’s wet, or too little so that it crumbles.
Roll out the dough so that it’s 5mm thick and then put your cookie cutters into action!
A note on cutters – I was given mine years ago and am not sure where they’re from but there are some fabulous little Easter numbers at Sainsbury’s, Party Ark and Waitrose. It’s nice to have a mixture of small bite size shapes and huge eggs so you have room to go all out on the decoration.
Once your baking trays are full of biscuits, place them in the oven for around 15 minutes or until pale golden brown. Keep an eye on them whilst they’re baking to make sure the edges don’t brown too much – otherwise Mary and Paul will not be impressed!
Once you’re happy that they’re cooked to perfection, take them out of the oven and leave them to cool on a wire rack. Choose how many you want to leave un-iced and sprinkle these with caster sugar as soon as you can.
Mix the icing sugar with the lemon juice – once sieved – and then add around 2 tablespoons ish of water. Add further water drop by drop and give it time to mix in thoroughly. On so many occasions I’ve not waited until I’ve given it a good stir, added too much water and ended up with sloppy watery icing. The icing sugar should be runny enough so that it squeezes through the tube, but stiff enough so that it doesn’t run over the sides of the biscuits.
Divide the icing into different bowls and add the food colouring. For Spring pastel tones, go easy on the colours – same as before, add it drop by drop.
Now the fun bit – go Spring crazy with the icing! I have some icing tubes which seem to be a bit more hard to come by now, but there are some on the John Lewis website which should do the trick. Just as good are piping bags but I found the tubes a bit easier to control.
Once they’re all iced, pop them in the fridge to set and then store them in an airtight tupperware box – if you don’t eat them all straight away. I hope you think they’re as yummy as we do! Now I’m going to practice my icing skills…