This is a really nice recipe, which makes a great crunchy biscuit with a warming kick. The dough works very well for traditional Christmas biscuits – or a gingerbread house if you’re feeling ambitious. Here I wanted to create a bright bunch of tulips, great for Mother’s Day or another special gift. The icing is somewhat time consuming but really adds a pretty impressive finish to a tasty biscuit.
To make the tulip shapes I used a simple tear drop cookie cutter and a bit of ingenuity (and dough-prodding). Once you have your tear drop shapes cut out turn the cutter upside down and use the point to nip out a little V-shape from the tear drop tip (have a look at the photos). Then with a bit of careful shaping you have a nice tulip bulb shape to work with.
This dough quantity makes plenty of biscuits – the actual number will depend on the size of your cutters! My cutters were about 2” across and I ended up with about 40 biscuits… but the great thing is you can freeze this dough for another day’s baking. This was actually the first time I’ve made iced biscuits, and got rather overenthusiastic about the quantity of icing I was going to use and the number of different colours my biscuits could be – in hindsight I’d recommend going for only one or two colours to ice your tulips with!
As for the icing, the quantity here should easily cover the entire dough quantity and give you some leftover – which again, you can freeze (better to have too much than run out early!). If you change the dough quantity then make sure to adjust the icing quantity – the ratio works out to 225g icing sugar per egg.
For the biscuits:
50g soft light brown sugar
50g soft light brown sugar
50g golden syrup
300g plain flour
1.5 tbsp ground ginger
1.5 tbsp mixed spice
For the decorating (Royal Icing):
675g icing sugar
3 medium egg whites
Food colouring of your choice
Melt the sugars, the golden syrup and butter together over a medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Allow the mixture to cool for about 5 minutes in a large bowl before beating in the egg. Sift over the flour and stir in with the spices until it forms a soft, sticky dough. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight so that it firms up nicely.
When you want to roll it out, remove from the fridge about 20mins beforehand to allow it to warm enough to handle easily. Split the dough into manageable portions and roll out – either using a silicon baking mat on the countertop or between two sheets of baking paper to stop it sticking. Roll it out to your desired thickness (I like chunkier biscuits) then cut your shapes out with a cookie cutter. You can squidge the trimmings together and re-roll them to cut more shapes out – but they will get softer the more you handle them.
Pop the biscuits into the fridge on your parchment-lined baking tray to chill for about 15 minutes while the oven preheats to GM4/180C. Bake the biscuits for about 10-12 minutes then pull them out and allow them to cool on a wire rack (carefully lift the baking parchment to transfer the biscuits across in one go).
While they are cooling, prep your icing by mixing the egg whites with the icing sugar until a smooth paste with the consistency of toothpaste is formed. This is your “line icing”. At this point add your food colouring – using a cocktail stick dipped in the colour then swirled and mixed through. Add it carefully – you can’t easily make the colour paler again!
Once you have the desired shade of icing, then split the icing into two portions – one will be retained as the stiffer “line icing”, and the other will be diluted slightly to make “flooding icing”. Keep your bowls of icing covered with cling film when you’re not working with them to prevent crystallisation).
To make your flooding icing simply add a few drops of water at a time, mixing thoroughly until you have a looser icing that is the consistency of shampoo. Pop each of your different icing types into piping bags – if you have nozzles then great, if not simply cut the tip off with a pair of scissors (again, carefully – it’s always easier to make the holes larger!).
To ice your biscuits use the line icing to pipe the outline of your tulip bulbs. This makes a “dam” for your flooding icing which you will use to fill in the biscuit with. Immediately use the flooding icing to fill inside the outline of the tulip (do one biscuit at a time, otherwise the line icing will dry out too much). Using little circular motions stir the tip of the cocktail stick through the flooding icing and the edge of the line icing to blend it to a nice finish and ensure the consistency is even. Allow the icing to dry – you can help it along with a hairdryer or a very low oven for 5-10 minutes.
Once dry then you can add the detail on the top with the stiffer line icing – outline the bulb and draw down in a nice curve to create the petal split. If there is any excess icing left in the bags you can simply label and tape the bags up, and stick them straight in the freezer for another day.
Enjoy with a good strong cup of tea!
Top Tip: If you cut too large a hole in the icing bag by mistake, just pop the whole thing inside another bag and recut a smaller hole.