Courtesy of Miranda Gore Browne, these vanilla biscuits speckled like eggs with pretty pastel icing are great fun to make with children and a lovely way to drop a little bit of Easter loveliness into family and friends.
- 200g unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g icing sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla paste
- 1 egg
- 400g plain flour (replace 50g of flour with cocoa for a chocolatey biscuit)
- 500g packet of royal icing sugar, mixed according to the instructions (this needs to be whisked with water until stiff like meringue)
To make the biscuits:
- Cream together the butter, sugar, icing sugar and vanilla. Beat in the egg and then gently mix in the flour. Add the sifted cocoa with the flour if making chocolate biscuit bases.
- Press the dough into two fat discs and wrap tightly in baking paper. Put them in the fridge to rest for at least two hours.
- Take the dough out of the fridge, leave to soften a little at room temperature before rolling out between two pieces of baking paper. Only dust with flour if it gets sticky.
- Cut out with cutters, or make your own egg or chicken shape out of a piece of card, lay on top of the rolled-out dough and cut around with a sharp knife.
- Place on low-sided baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Pop the trays back into the fridge for the cut-out shapes to rest. They can sit in the fridge overnight or just until your oven comes up to temperature.
- Make sure the oven is preheated to 180 degrees before putting the biscuits in to bake. Small biscuits will only take about 8 minutes, bigger ones about 12 minutes. Set a timer and they are baked when they are pale golden and mottled underneath.
- Leave to cool on their trays before decorating.
- Whisk the royal icing sugar with about 8 tablespoons of water (check the exact instructions on the packet) until it forms stiff peaks. Colour with pastel colours.
- You can pipe around the edge of the biscuits with some of the icing, and then make some of the icing a little runnier and spoon inside the lines. Or simply spoon the icing onto the top of the biscuits and smooth to finish.