I sometimes feel that if I lived in a sunny country I’d bake once in a blue moon. It seems most of my recipes are born out of ways to entertain the kids on a long rainy day and we seem to get alot of these in South Wales. Today however has been the longest rainy day ever. I think partly because we are still in lockdown and partly because we were supposed to be on a family holiday in Butlins this week. So instead of chilling with a cold gin whilst the kids watch a pantomime, I’m eating my feelings – in iced gem form.
Iced gems are another one of those treats that you love to eat but would never think to make yourself. Whereas I haven’t gone to the effort of making cute little bags with polar bears on, I have cracked out the piping bag so I would count these as easy to medium on the effort scale!
You will need a baking tray lined with baking paper, piping bag and open star nozzle (we use Wilton 1M)
- 150g plain flour
- 120g butter at room temperature
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 egg
- 200g icing sugar
- Pinch of cream of tartar or few drops lemon juice (optional)
- Food colours of your choice gel or paste
Preheat the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6
In a large bowl or stand mixer, combine the butter and flour until it resembles chunky breadcrumbs. (The kids preffered method is to pinch the butter into the flour, which is great for developing fine motor skills. My preferred method is to throw everything in a stand mixer in a futile attempt to contain the mess).
Mix in the sugar and the yolk of the egg to form a firm dough.
Scatter plenty of flour over the already trashed countertops and roll out the dough to about the thickness of a pound coin.
Using the large end of the piping nozzle, cut small rounds of dough and place on the baking sheet.
When all the dough has been used and the tray full of little circles, pop the whole tray in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (this stops the dough from spreading too much in the oven).
Remove from the fridge and bake for about 8 minutes until the biscuits are starting to lightly brown at the edges.
You’ll have to keep a close eye on them as they are so small they can burn easily. Remove and set aside to cool.
While the biscuits cool make the royal icing.
Whisk the white of the egg with the lemon juice or cream of tartar if using, until thick, white and able to hold it’s own shape.
Gradually add the icing sugar until fully incorporated. It may resemble toothpaste but this is totally fine.
Pop the nozzle into the piping bag (ideally you’ve given it a little wash in the meantime) and snip the end of your using a disposable bag.
Using a wooden skewer or thin clean paintbrush, paint lines of food colouring up the bag.
Spoon in the icing mixture and tie the end of the bag using an elastic band or food bag clip.
Ensure the biscuits are cool before piping the icing splodges.
To pipe, squeeze the bag directly over the biscuit, then release while lifting the bag off. Theres a video on my Instagram of my 5 year old doing this which may be helpful.
Once all the biscuits are iced, leave to air dry for about 4 hours if you like your icing solid. If not then tuck right in!