We have been making these biscuits for so long now that we felt we should include them in this chapter. However, we must give full credit to Nigella Lawson here, as they fi rst came to our attention via her How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook and have been very slightly tweaked by us since then. We find countless occasions to have an excuse to bake these, with so many fantastic cutters to be found – which we both look out for on our travels – and colours to be used.
- For the biscuits:
- 85g unsalted butter
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 1 large egg, free-range or organic
- ½ tsp good-quality vanilla extract
- 200g plain flour, sifted, plus more for rolling
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- For the icing:
- 150g icing sugar
- 2–3 tbsp boiling water, or as needed
- A few drops food colouring
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line 1 or 2 baking trays with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl, and then add the egg and mix well. Gradually add the flour, salt, and baking powder and mix.
On a floured work surface roll the dough out to a thickness of about 5mm, then cut into your desired shapes and place, well spaced out, on the baking tray(s). Bake for about 10–12 minutes, until the biscuits are a light golden brown. They will cook quickly – so keep an eye on the cooking time – and will continue to cook a little once they are out of the oven. Leave to cool on a wire rack.
To make up the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add about 1 tablespoonful of boiling water at a time. Beat well to a thick but still liquid consistency. If you add too much water, simply add more icing sugar. Add 1 drop of food colouring at a time.
When you are ready to ice the biscuits, lay them out on a flat work surface. If you want the icing to have a perfect fi nish, it is best to use a piping bag to pipe an outline around the biscuits and allow to dry, then fill in the remainder with a slightly thinner consistency of icing. For details, wait until the base coat is dry to the touch, then use a piping bag with a different colour icing. If decorating with sprinkles or sweets, this is best done when the icing is still a bit damp.
These will keep for 2–3 days in an airtight tin or wrapped in clingfi lm and stored at room temperature.