Iced biscuits

Back in London when I used to have a job working as part of a team unlike today when teamwork is positively discouraged by my control-freak manager, I sometimes used to make biscuits to take into the office which were very well received. I no longer get to do that as no-one goes into the office but I had this cookie cutter of the queen from a long time ago and thought I should use it on the passing of Her Majesty. For the biscuit base, I used a recipe from Ottolenghi’s ‘Sweet’ and it’s a nicely spiced with orange and chinese 5 spice. The recipe actually contained anise but I didn’t have any so I thought 5 spice would work as anise is one of the components. I iced these with some royal icing, very appropriate.

Makes about 40 biscuits (using a 7 – 8cm cutter)

Ingredients

  • 360g 00 flour
  • 70g rice flour
  • 165g caster sugar
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chinese 5 spice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 250g butter
  • 4 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 460g icing sugar

Method

1.) Zest the orange and scrape out the seeds from the vanilla pod.

2.) Sift the flours into a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar, baking powder, 5 spice, salt, orange zest and vanilla seeds to a bowl. Stir everything.

3.) Chop up the butter into cubes and add to the flour mixture. Rub in with your fingers so it becomes breadcrumbes.

4.) In another bowl, crack in the egg and beat with a fork. Tip the egg into the flour and mix until a dough is formed. Form a disc shape, wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for an hour.

5.) Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Cut the dough into 4. Roll out each piece to about 0.5cm. Use your cutter to cut out as many biscuits as possible. Line a couple of large baking trays with baking paper and place the biscuits on. Bake in batches for 16 – 17 minutes ( I think mine took a little less so keep an eye on them) . Leave to cool on a cooling rack and once they’ve set enough to move you can run the baking tray under cold water to cool down and reuse.

6.) Once the biscuits have fully cooled, make the icing. Whisk up the whites of the other 3 eggs until frothy. I used a stand mixer. Add the vanilla essence and the icing sugar. Carry on mixing until a thick icing is formed. It should be thick enough that it won’t run off when you use it for icing. If it doesn’t seem thick enough, add more icing sugar.

7.) Get a piping bag with a thin nozzle and pipe around the outside of all of the biscuits. Add some water to the icing to loosen it a little. Pipe this into the biscuits and tip the biscuits very gently to move the icing around the inside of the outline. Use a cocktail stick to pop any air bubbles and leave the biscuits to set.