Michelle Darmody: Iced biscuits

Baking and icing cookies is a nice way to spend a few hours at the weekend. The smell of the sweet biscuits baking fills the kitchen, and then the tantilizing wait for them to cool begins.

If you can wait long enough the biscuits will need to be cold before you can start icing.

Certainly cookies can but cut into whichever shape takes your fancy, but I opted for some circular discs — that I then decorated with a selection of sprinkles — and hearts. There are hundreds of different shape cutters available.

It is good to try and keep your various cookie shapes an even size so they bake at the same speed.

There is raw egg used in the icing recipe. If you would prefer to use a pasteurised powdered egg white, such as meri-white, add 10g of powder for each egg and whisk it with 50mls of warm water until foamy.

Fresh eggs are generally safe to use but if someone is infirmed, pregnant or very young and will be eating the biscuits the powder is a good alternative.

When using colouring for icing, a little goes a long way, there are natural colours available as well as the synthetic versions. I make piping bags with the small plastic sandwich bags you get in most supermarkets.

I use one of the bottom corners of the plastic bag to form a cone like piping bag. There are quite a lot of videos online that will give you simple tutorials on how to ice a cookie well.

I start by drawing a line, with my chosen colour, around the edge of the biscuit then filling it in with the icing.

Adding topping such as sprinkles or edible glitter is the easiest way to decorate. You can also pipe on decorations and draw a line with an opposing colour.

If you would like to serve iced biscuits straight away you can dry them in the warm oven to harden the icing. Otherwise they will harden in a hour or so on a wire rack at room temperature.

Cookies or biscuits should not be stored in the same container as cakes or they will absorb the moisture from the cakes and begin to soften.

If they get too hard in their own tin and you would like to soften them a little add a piece of apple to the container.

 

Iced gingernut discs

Ingredients

<ul>

<li>450g of plain flour</li>

<li>10g of baking soda</li>

<li>15g of ground ginger</li>

<li>15g of cake spice</li>

<li>2 egg yolks</li>

<li>50g of treacle</li>

<li>150g of golden syrup</li>

<li>180g of buttermilk</li>

<li>80g of brown sugar</li>

</ul>

 

Method

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees and line two baking trays with parchment.

Mix the the flour, baking soda, ginger, cake spice and  egg yolks.

Gently melt the treacle, golden syrup, butter and brown sugar together. Pour egg mixture into the treacle mixture.

Beat until it forms a ball.

The dough needs to be used quickly or else it becomes very crumbly and hard to roll.

So roll it straight away into a sheet of 5mm thickness.

Cut out your discs and bring together any left over dough, re-roll and then cut our more discs.

Cut holes in the centre of each disc. Lay them with a little distance between each biscuit on the baking tray.

Bake for 8 to 9 minutes in oven until turning golden. Set to cool on a wire rack before icing.

 

Piping bags of icing

Ingredients

 

<ul>

<li>3 fresh egg whites, lightly beaten</li>

<li>450g of icing sugar</li>

<li>A few drops of lemon juice to thin the icing to piping consistency</li>

<li>Some coplouring of your choice, you can get natural as well as synthetic colours</li>

<li>Sturdy plastic sandwich bags</li>

<li>Elastic bands</li>

</ul>

 

Method

Add the icing sugar to the egg whites and beat at a low setting.

Turn up the setting when it is all combined and whisk until fairly stiff.

Dilute the icing with lemon juice as needed, it should be the consistency of thick paint, it should hold its shape when piped or brushed onto a cookie but come through a small hole in the piping bag with ease.

Place your plastic bag into a cup with one corner of the bag pointing down. Spoon the icing into the bag.

Remove from the cup and push the icing into the corner then tie the top with an elastic band.

Snip a tiny hole in the tip of the corner to allow you to pipe the icing onto your cookies.


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