This week I visited my friend Michelle, of Lavender Bakery, at her home for an icing piping lesson.
After you have made the biscuits, recipe below, make royal icing.
The rule is 1 egg white to 250g of icing sugar plus a drop of lemon juice.
More lemon juice can be added when the icing starts to dry up or when you need to fill or flood the biscuits.
It's important to get the consistency of the icing just right, not too chalky, not too liquid, to pipe well.
For the edging and the flooding you need two different consistencies of icing: stiffer for the edging and more liquid for the flooding.
It's advisable to divide your batch of royal icing into several small airtight containers, this prevents the whole lot drying up as you work.
Punch a little hole in the biscuit before baking and widen it again if it has closed up during baking. Thread pretty ribbon through and you have lovely tree decorations.
Recipe from Peggy Porchen's book 'Pretty Party Cakes'
Makes 30 ginger biscuits.
200g unsalted butter, diced
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
450g plain flour
180g molasses sugar
4/5 tbspns honey
2 tbspns orange or lemon juice
2 tbspns ground cinnamon
2 tbspns ground ginger
1 pinch of salt
Place all the hot mix ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil while stirring.
Remove pan from the heat and stir in the butter.
Once combined, add the bicarb and whisk the mixture.
pour into the bowl of an electric mixer and leave to cool until it is warm.
Sieve the flour over the top and combine on low speed using the paddle attachment until it forms a dough.
Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for a couple of hours at least.
Place the dough on a floured surface and knead briefly.
Roll it between two 5mm guide sticks to an even thickness (otherwise the edges burn)
Use christmassy cookie cutters to cut out the shapes.
Using a palette knife, lay these on a baking tray lined with greaseproof or preferably, as Michelle recommends, silicon paper. (I find greaseproof paper doesn't work that well anymore. It's better to use baking parchment.)
Chill again for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C, gas 6.
Bake the biscuits for 10 to 12 minutes.
Lift off the tray and allow to cool on a wire rack.
When they have cooled ice them and leave to dry for at least 24 hours before keeping in an airtight container, eating them straight away or hanging them on your tree.
This is my first movie taken on my Canon Eos 500D. I'm still learning how to use the movie capacity on this camera and also how to edit in imovie. Apologies for amateurishness. I can only get better. At piping and movie making.