Right, the iced biscuits. Last night (or rather, in the early hours of this morning) I was rather disappointed with my efforts. But actually, they taste good (and the icing is lovely and crisp), and I learnt a lot that will be very useful for next time.
In the end I followed the instructions in the “Biscuiteers Book of Iced Biscuits”. (I’m saving “Sweet Bitesize Bakes” for later, and particularly have my eye on the macarons.) The Biscuiteers’ guidance is very clear, detailed and helpful, and includes:
- rolling out your biscuit dough between two layers of baking parchment means that you don’t have to flour the work surface and so you avoid the risk of extra flour changing the texture of the dough;
- the icing for outlining the shape on your biscuit should be the same consistency as toothpaste;
- use a plastic clippie at the top of your piping bag, to stop the icing squeezing itself out of the top, or you getting cramp holding the bag shut.
I found out for myself that:
- there’s no point, when you’re just beginning, in having too many different colours – if you outline and “flood” with, say, four colours, you’ll need 8 dishes and 8 piping bags;
- lighter spots on a darker background look better (I think);
- putting two holes at the top of the biscuit flags (so that you see the ribbon running along the top of the biscuit) doesn’t work – it looks very pretty at first, but as soon as there’s tension on the ribbon the biscuits that I’d hung that way snapped;
- however, hanging each biscuit from its own little ribbon (as in the photo) works well. It means that you can cut down an individual biscuit, for example at the end of a party, without having to take down the whole lot, and you can make changes to the order of the flags very easily;
- given the number of icing bags needed, I have to learn how to make them out of baking parchment and then how to use them without the icing going everywhere. If I don’t, I’ll end up selling all my worldly goods to pay for the disposable plastic ones.