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I is for ...

Have you ever found something you used to love as a child only to find they are rubbish as an adult.

Remember Vice Versas?

They were the best thing ever when you used to "get a penny to spend" at the shop. The white shell contained the milk chocolate and the brown shell contained the white chocolate. They are awesome ... and when they re released them recently i was excited to find a bag.

What a waste of £2.50 :( 

They tasted horrible! I don't know if the recipe was changed or if my adult taste buds just cant stand them but either way ... Yuck!

The same thing happened when i bought a pack of Iced Gems recently. They used to be a treat when i was little and now as an adult they have become a health hazard to eat. The icing is like crunching glass and the biscuit is stale. Nasty!

Well no more!

I have been experimenting and have found a perfect substitute ...

That's why I is for Iced Gems

Taken at their basic form, the Iced Gem biscuits are simply butter biscuits with coloured royal icing. They are so easy to make!

Lets start with the Butter Biscuit.

You'll need
375g Plain Flour (plus a little extra for dusting)
250g Butter, at room temp
140g Icing Sugar, Sifted
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 large Egg Yolk

How to make
Mix the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until its very pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and yolk, mixing well. Sift in the flour a little at a time and combine till the mixture forms a firm dough.

Using your hands, work the dough into a smooth ball. *The heat from your hands will help here* 

Wrap the dough in cling film and pop it in the fridge for an hour or so.

Pre-heat the oven to 190c/Gas 5 and grease 2 baking trays. I dusted mine with flour which i find works well with biscuits.

Flour the counter and roll out the dough till its about 5mm thick.

Now here's where you can change it up. Its time to cut the dough into the shape you want. The Iced Gem's i made were slightly larger than the ones you can buy in a packet as the smallest cutter (of sorts) i had was the holder to the piping bag. Improvisation is big in my kitchen :)

Place the cut dough onto the trays slightly spread apart and bake for about 10 minutes till they are a pale golden colour.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool ... Don't worry, they will harden up when they cool down.

While they are cooling you can get started on the Royal Icing.

You'll need
250g Icing Sugar, Sifted
1 large Egg White
1 tsp lemon juice
Food Colouring

How to make
Pop everything in a large bowl and whisk for about 3-4 minutes. *I used my new food mixer for this but I'd recommend an electric one to stop your arms falling off.*

You're looking to have the mixture resembling nice peaks without being solid. If the mix is like concrete you will need to add a few drops of boiling water likewise if its too runny you'll need to add a little more sifted icing sugar.

Its not completely unsalvageable unless is starts to turn from white to a dull grey colour. If this happens, you've mixed to hard and its just gonna crumble. Trust me!

Divide out the mixture into the number of bowls for the number of colours you wish to use. *You could use just the one colour if your making them for a party to fit a theme i.e blue for a boys baby shower etc but i like to get colourful*

Add a little of the colouring and mix gently. *I cant sing the praises high enough of the SugarFlair gel colours when baking. They do cost a little extra but they last AGES and the colour is amazing. You get so many shades from gradually adding colour dots at a time. Since using them i refuse to go back to the watery stuff in a bottle!*

Prepare your piping bag with a star nozzle. You can use the same bag over and over, washing between colours or you can use multiple bags, the choice is yours.

Fill the bag with your first colour and 'splodge' a dollop of the icing onto the middle on the cold biscuit. It doesn't need to be an exquisite design ... which adds to the ease of these biscuits.

Leave them to air dry for a couple of hours while intercepting sneaky boys trying to pinch one or five!

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