If you’re the steady handed, artistic type, you may be able to get away with all sorts of glorious, free hand biscuit and cake decorating. However most mere mortals will find the job of how to ice biscuits dramatically easier with the assistance of an icing set. As standard these include an icing gun with various shaped nozzles for different finishes and effects. Cheaper versions tend to be in plastic, which is suitable for icing biscuits and cakes and cakes on an occasional basis, but if you want something more durable for a more professional finish, you’ll find heavier duty versions easier to work with. Wares of Knutsford offers a deluxe set containing a robust, metal and plastic icing gun with a trigger action nozzle for maximum control. It comes in a convenient storage box with eight stainless steel nozzles and a set of thirteen biscuit cutter templates.
How to ice biscuits: the foundation recipe
- 100g unsalted butter, softened
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 275g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 190ºC and line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper.
Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, then very gradually beat in the egg and the vanilla extract. When these are well combined, stir in the flour to form a soft dough. Flour a work surface and roll out the dough to about 1cm thick. Cut out biscuits in your chosen shape and lay on the baking tray, leaving a gap of a few centimetres between each biscuit.
Bake in the oven for about 8-10 minutes. The biscuits will be golden brown on top. Leave aside for five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
How to ice biscuits: basic icing
- 400g icing sugar, sifted
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- Food colourings of your choice
Making the icing is actually very simple. Mix the sifted icing sugar with the water until the mixture is smooth. If you want a range of colours, divide the icing into separate bowls and carefully mix in a couple of drops of food colouring. You can spread the icing over the biscuits or load into the icing gun and attach different nozzles to decorate.
If you don’t already know how to ice biscuits an cakes you’ll find it tricky to create clean shapes at first, but practice makes perfect! Start with a straight nozzle and form simple shapes such as hearts and stars. Once you’ve built up some confidence and experience you can start getting creative with different finishes. Kids will love icing biscuits so let them join in too!