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Prue’s Iced Ginger Biscuits

Makes 12

For the ginger biscuits:

150g butter, plus extra for greasing

100g light muscovado sugar

2 tsp molasses

3 tbsp beaten egg

225g plain flour

¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp salt

¼ tsp ground cloves

For the royal icing:

3 large egg whites

750g icing sugar

1 tsp lemon juice

Blue, yellow, green and red colour paste

Step 1 – Lightly grease 2 baking sheets with butter. Beat the butter, sugar and molasses in a bowl until fluffy. Gradually add the egg, beating well between each addition.

Step 2 – Sift together all the remaining ingredients into a bowl. Stir into the butter mixture.

Step 3 – Press the dough into a flat layer between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper. Chill for 1 hour until firm.

Step 4 – Heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

Step 5 – On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 5mm thick. Cut out 6, 8cm square biscuits and 6, 10cm long oval biscuits and place on the baking sheets. Chill until firm.

Step 6 – Bake in the middle of the oven for 8-12 minutes or until the edge of the biscuits are lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 7 – For the royal icing, mix the egg white with 3 tbsp of the icing sugar in a large bowl and add the lemon juice.

Step 8 – Add the remaining icing sugar gradually and mix very well until the icing holds its shape. Do not overbeat or bubbles will form. Divide the icing into 2. Leave one bowl white and divide the remaining icing between 5 small bowls. Colour 4 of the bowls, blue, yellow, green and red.

Step 9 – Add water drop by drop to the coloured icing and mix to a piping consistency. Spoon the coloured icings into 5 piping bags fitted with writing nozzles.

Step 10 – Add water drop by drop to the white icing and mix to a piping consistency. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a writing nozzle.

Step 11 – Decorate the biscuits as per the templates below, loosening or thickening the icings with water or icing sugar to the correct consistency.