Snooker-loopy are we! These delicately spiced biscuits are decorated with royal icing to look like the balls on a snooker table – a perfect treat for the resident enthusiast. They are also a good introduction to the ‘flooding’ icing technique.
Make the gingerbread. Cream the softened butter and both sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment on high speed for 4 minutes, until light and fluffy.
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and golden syrup and add this to the creamed mixture in the stand mixer. Continue to beat on a high speed until smooth and thoroughly combined.
Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and ground spices into the butter and sugar mixture, then mix on low speed until the dough comes together.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 1 minute, until smooth. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap it in cling film and chill it in the fridge for 1 hour, until firm.
Meanwhile make the icing. Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and add the egg whites, a little at a time, until the icing is a thick, flowing consistency – you shouldn’t need all the egg white at this stage, so reserve the remainder to use later on. The icing should hold its shape when drizzled. Spoon two thirds of the icing into another bowl and tint it red using the food-colouring paste. Spoon 6 tablespoons of the red icing into a piping bag.
Divide the remaining white icing between 7 small bowls. Leave one bowl white and tint the remaining bowls green, brown, blue, yellow, pink and black. Spoon one third of each coloured icing into a piping bag and cover the remaining bowls of icing to prevent the icing from drying out.
Lightly flour the work surface. Roll out the chilled dough to about 3mm thick. Using the cutter, stamp out 22 biscuits, re-rolling the trimmings as necessary. Use a palette knife to carefully transfer the biscuits to the lined baking sheets, spacing them about 3cm apart. Chill the biscuits on the baking sheets in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the oven to 190°C/170°C Fan/375°F/Gas 5.
Bake the biscuits for 12–15 minutes, until firm and golden. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the trays, then transfer to a wire cooling rack and set aside to cool completely.
To decorate, snip a very small hole in the end of each piping bag and carefully pipe a border around the edge of each biscuit. You will need 15 red biscuits and one of each colour – including white. Set aside to dry for 10 minutes.
Thin the remaining icing with a little of the reserved egg white to reach a thin, pouring consistency – it needs to flow without resistance. Spoon this thinned icing into the centre of each biscuit, matching the colours to the border, to ‘flood’ the piped circle. Set the biscuits aside (uncovered) to dry for at least 4 hours, or until the icing is completely dry before serving.