By: VALERIE SLABBERT
Photo: HEMA PATEL
Although these biscuits look luxurious with a vintage feel they are surprisingly easy to make. The biscuits are decorated with royal icing, followed by motives printed with edible icing on icing sheets. I used craft punches to cut the circles on the biscuits. I piped a little border around the edges with medium consistency royal icing which I painted with edible gold lustre dust mixed with a little vodka.
The possibilities for decorating these biscuits are endless – you can colour the royal icing before flooding the biscuits and add icing flowers from your local baking shop. Or you can use white royal icing and paint directly onto the biscuits with food colour. Another alternative is to use medium consistency royal icing and pipe flowers and motives directly onto the biscuits.
200 g castor sugar
200 g butter (room temperature – salted or unsalted)
400 g cake flour
5 ml vanilla essence
1. Cream the butter and sugar until just mixed.
2. Add the egg and scrape the sides of the mixing bowl.
3. Add the cake flour and vanilla essence and mix just until the dough comes together (it is quite a firm dough).
4. Leave the dough to chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before you start rolling it out and cutting out shapes. This helps the biscuits to keep their shape while baking in the oven.
5. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 180 °C until it just starts to brown on the edges (the baking time will depend on the size of the biscuits).
15 g albumen powder (“Actiwhite” of “meringue powder” – available at most baking shops)
75 ml cooled down boiled water
500 g sifted icing sugar
1. Mix the albumen powder and water and push it through a fine sieve.
2. Add the mixture to the icing sugar in the mixing bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 5 minutes with the flat beater until glossy and shiny.
3. Add a little bit of water at a time to reach the right consistency:
Medium consistency: Add water and beat until icing forms very soft peaks but doesn’t spread on its own. This consistency is used for piping borders.
Flood consistency: Add water and beat until the icing smooths out after about 10 seconds. It should not be too thin though as it will run off the edges of the biscuits.
Finish the biscuits
1. Flood the biscuits with flood consistency royal icing. Some people use medium consistency royal icing to pipe outlines first before flooding the biscuits, but I prefer to flood the icing onto the biscuit directly and neaten the edges with a wooden skewer or toothpick.
2. Leave the biscuits for a couple of hours until the royal icing is dry. If you are short of time you can dry the biscuits in the oven for one hour at 50 °C.
3. Punch shapes from the printed icing sheets using a paper craft punch or cut different shapes with scissors. Stick these onto the biscuits with a little royal icing or edible glue. (You can make your own edible glue by adding a little cooled down boiled water to a teaspoon of CMC powder).
4. Pipe a border around the edges (I used a number 1 piping tip).
5. Mix edible gold lustre dust with a little vodka or water and paint the royal icing border.