These ginger biscuits provide the perfect opportunity for honing your icing skills. Use the templates included at the end of the recipe to guide you.
Hands-on time: 2 hours
Baking time: 12 minutes
Skill level: Needs skill
For the ginger biscuits:
150g unsalted butter
100g light muscovado sugar
2 tsp molasses
3 tbsp beaten egg
225g plain flour
¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1½ 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 food-colouring pastes
You will need:
2 sheets of baking paper
8cm square cutter
10cm (length) oval cutter
2 lightly greased baking sheets
4 small piping bags, each fitted with a number 1 writing nozzle
1 medium piping bag fitted with a number 1 writing nozzle
1 medium piping bag fitted with a number 3 writing nozzle
Step 1 – Beat the butter, sugar and molasses in a bowl until fluffy. Little by little, add the egg, beating well between each addition. (You can do this in a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, if you like.)
Step 2 – Sift together all the remaining ingredients into a bowl. Stir them into the butter mixture.
Step 3 – Place the dough on 1 sheet of baking paper. Place the other sheet on top and press the dough to make a flat layer. Chill for 1 hour, until firm.
Step 4 – Heat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/Gas 5.
Step 5 – On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to 5mm thick. Use the cutters to make 6 square and 6 oval biscuits, re-rolling the trimmings as necessary. Place the biscuits on the baking sheets. Chill until firm.
Step 6 – Bake in the middle of the oven for 8–12 minutes, or until the edges 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 tablespoons of the icing sugar in a large bowl and add the lemon juice.
Step 8 – Gradually, add the remaining icing sugar and mix thoroughly until the icing holds its shape. Do not overbeat or bubbles will form.
Step 9 – Divide the icing into 3 separate bowls. Leave 2 bowls white and divide the third bowl of icing between 4 small bowls for decorating the biscuits. Colour 1 portion blue, 1 yellow, 1 green and 1 red.
Step 10 – Drop by drop add water to the small portions of icing and mix to a piping consistency. Spoon these into the 4 small piping bags fitted with number 1 writing nozzles.
Step 11 – Drop by drop add water to one of the bowls of white icing and mix to a piping consistency. Spoon into the medium piping bag fitted with a number 1 writing nozzle.
Step 12 – Add water drop by drop to the remaining bowl of white icing and mix to a flooding consistency. Spoon into the medium piping bag fitted with a number 3 writing nozzle.
Step 13 – Decorate the biscuits according to the templates below, loosening or thickening the icings with water or icing sugar to the correct consistency.