Excuse the biscuit overkill on the blog at the moment. I’m busy with various projects most of which involve lots of biscuit dough and royal icing. I’m using the spare ingredients to play around with.
Weddings are like busses here. Nothing since we married 6 years ago then a big engagement party and two weddings in the space of 12 months. We both have small families on either side and a small circle of close friends, most of which (if married) got married around the time when we did 6 years ago. When my good childhood friend Rachel announced she was getting married to say I was excited was an understatement. 1) a wedding, woohoo!, 2) I could wear my Sheena Holland headband to the wedding, 3) Time to get my own back. Rach was my bridesmaid.
The Hen Weekend was back in our homeland of Liverpool. Yes you could argue I’m an adopted Scouser, but the accent only comes out when I’m home. The day started with a boyband themed dance class complete with baggy t-shirts and back to front baseball caps. Oh I’m so glad the evidence of this has never surfaced on Facebook. We then changed into pretty tea dresses for Afternoon Tea at Hard Day’s Night Hotel. I then had to leave the girls to drive back to Warwickshire for a family party but left the bride with a parting gift to help fuel their night on the town.
No hen party is complete without L plates. Now there were more x-rated biscuits (use your imagination) in keeping with a hen party but given I know the age of some little people who read this blog I won’t be posting the pics.
When working with royal icing consistency is the key. The best way I can describe it is that the edging icing should be the consistency of toothpaste and the flooding icing of shampoo. I use royal icing sugar rather than making my own with egg whites to make things easier, especially when working in small batches.
I’m not going to give a recipe as such for the icing as the best thing is to follow the instructions on the packet and use intuition. The temperature and humidity of where you’re working can have significant impact on the fluidity of the icing.
I went for pink rather than red with the icing as pure red can be tricky to use next to white as it uses lots of dye to achieve the strong colour plus I’ve found it is more likely to bleed.
Just be aware when using food dye gels like red and green, colours intensify as they sits there and continue to change as they dry. Last week I made a small batch of pastel green for a demo that was lurid green 5 hours later.
Hen Night Biscuits
- A batch of Ruth’s no chill biscuit dough
- 250g royal icing sugar
- Food dye gels
- Make the biscuit dough following Ruth’s instructions.
- Roll the dough out until 5mm thick and cut out squares around 5cm across.
- Place on a lined baking tray and bake at 180°c for 8-10 minutes. They are ready when they are only just beginning to colour. Allow to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Biscuits must be completely cool before decorating.
- Mix and colour your outline icing then take some of this icing and thin out with a small amount of water to make your flood icing. You want it thin enough to flood the spaces, but not too thin that it dribbles off the biscuit. Put your outline icing into piping bags fitted with a size 1 tip. Keep your flooding icing in a covered bowl to stop it drying out.
- First pipe the outline of the base shape. Allow to dry for 10-30 min.
- Take a teaspoon of your flooding icing and put in the centre of the biscuit. This icing almost acts like self-levelling concrete. If need be use a cocktail stick to help guide the icing into corners. Allow to dry until hard. I usually give them a minimum of 12 hours to dry.
- Now start with the next layer of decoration. On these hen night biscuits I piped the L and dots.
- Cut the ‘Hen Night’ letter from very thin sugarpaste and stick to the biscuits with a small amount of gin or vodka. I use edible white spirits to stick icing together because it is stickier than water and dries faster. It is also less likely to leave a water mark. There is also the benefit that if your baking project goes very wrong you have the gin to fall back on.
As for the wedding? superb day. Stunning bride, wonderful food and a Backstreet Boys – Everybody dance off on the disco floor. What more could an excited wedding guest ask for?