Easter Biscuits

Colourful lemon-flavoured biscuits with a crunchy coating – why not experiment with cutter shapes and colours.

Makes about 16

Ingredients

125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g caster sugar
1 medium unwaxed lemon
1 egg, white and yolk separated into 2 bowls
200g plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
¼ tsp teaspoon baking powder
50g dried sour cherries, sultanas or raisins
coloured caster sugar, for sprinkling
You will also need:
Large bowl for mixing
wooden spoon or hand-held electric mixer
lemon zester or grater
small bowl
rolling pin
6.5cm round fluted or other shaped cookie cutter
table knife
2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper
fork
pastry brush

Instructions

keep it natural: Look for coloured sugars made using natural dyes and always check the labels of edible food colourings before using.

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6. Put the soft butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat well for a minute with the wooden spoon or electric mixer.

2. Grate the zest from the lemon into the bowl. Beat well for another minute until the mixture looks very creamy, smooth and fluffy (this is creaming).

3. Add the egg yolk, then beat the mixture for another minute. Save the egg white – you’ll need it later.

4. Add the flour, baking powder and dried fruit to the bowl and mix in with the wooden spoon. As soon as the mixture becomes too stiff to mix with the spoon, put your hands into the bowl and squash the mixture into a ball. Make sure the fruit has been evenly mixed in and is not all in one spot.

5. Sprinkle a little flour on the worktop, then tip out the dough onto it. Rub a little flour onto the rolling pin and roll out the dough until it is thickness of two stacked up pound coins. Dip the cutter in flour and cut out rounds or other shapes – press down hard so you cut through the fruit (dip the cutter in flour again if it starts to stick).

6. Lift the shapes with your fingers onto the lined baking sheets, keeping the shapes about 5cm apart (they may spread during baking). If bits of fruit fall off as you transfer the shapes, just push them back together. Gather up all the dough scraps left on the worktop and press into a ball, then roll out as you did before and cut out more shapes. Set them on the sheets too.

7. Place in the heated oven and bake for about 10 minutes until pale gold. Wearing oven gloves, remove the sheets from the oven and set on a heatproof surface.

8. Beat the saved egg white with the fork for a few seconds until frothy, then lightly brush each biscuit with it, using the pastry brush. Sprinkle over a little coloured sugar. Wearing oven gloves, return the sheets to the oven and bake for 3 more minutes.

9. Remove from the oven, set the baking sheets on the heatproof surface and leave to cool completely. When the biscuits are cold, lift them off and store in an airtight tin for up to 4 days.

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