a - it's too hard
b - I can't be bothered
c - it's boring
I have convinced myself that all of the above can be overcome by practice, enthusiasm and a bit of creativity. A few weeks ago I stumbled across these beautiful cutters in Thyme Deli in Horwich.
Perfect! They look pretty, but serve a purpose. Nemesis number two... biscuits (number one being pastry). I've never really had a love affair with biscuits. Don't get me wrong, I love eating them, but baking them gives me a touch of the heebie-jeebies. It's all a bit like hard work. The rubbing in, the resting, the rolling... It reminds me of pastry. However, biscuits are also a challenge. Cutters in hand and a good dose of 'get up and go' and I was on it like the proverbial 'car bonnet'.
I decided to use the teapot and cup for my biscuits, although any cutters will do for this recipe, as the size isn't critical. I adapted the one that came with the cutters.
- 275g plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- 80g cold butter
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- About 200g of sugar-paste in your preferred colour
- Your choice of decorations (if any)
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Cut the butter into cubes and rub into the dry mix until it resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the beaten egg and golden syrup.
- Mix together until it forms a dough (this may take a few minutes).
- Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 3/170 c.
- Roll out the dough on a floured work surface to about 5mm thick.
- Cut out the cookies, lifting with a spatula. The handles may need a little gentle coaxing with a round knife.
- Place onto two baking trays lined with baking parchment and cook in the centre of the oven for about 15 minutes. The cookies should look a pale golden colour.
- When the cookies are cooled, cover your work-surface with a little icing sugar.
- Warm the sugar-paste slightly by moulding it in your hands.
- Roll it out to about 3mm thick and cut out the shape using the same cookie cutters (this is much easier to lift off the work surface, but a spatula helps!)
- Your sugar-paste will fit perfectly on top of your biscuit.
- Decorate with what ever you like, but I think these look quite elegant without too much faff. I used Asda's pink and white pearls.