How Baking Works
These biscuits are my favourite and a good opportunity to show off a basic hybrid biscuit dough. This is definitely not a shortbread, but it isn’t a cookie either. If you’re not a fan of the crumbly texture of shortbread, you can use this same mix to make jammy dodgers, custard creams or empire biscuits. (That’s why you won’t find recipes for these in here – I believe it would use up valuable pages that should be saved for other things.)
I like my iced rings pure and simple, so there’s shameless use of flavourless food colouring here. But you can introduce new flavours by incorporating them into your icing: try rosewater, lemon juice or orange blossom water (along with the appropriate pink, yellow or orange food colouring).
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Preheat your oven to 180°C/160°C/Gas 4. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper
Into a large bowl, weigh the caster sugar, butter, egg yolk and vanilla. Use a wooden spoon to combine them together into a soft paste, then add the flour and cornflour and bring it all together gently, using your hands if the mix is too stiff. Once made, you can cover and chill your dough for up to several days if you wish.
Place your dough on a floured surface, dust with more flour and roll out to the thickness of a £1 coin. Using a large round biscuit cutter, cut out circles, then make them into rings by cutting out the centre using a smaller round cutter. Any leftovers can be smooshed together and rolled out again.
Place your rings on the baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or so, until slightly firm to the touch but with little sign of browning. You want them pale. Once done, leave them to cool on the tray.
I like to make two icings of different colours and feather them. Place some icing sugar and your food colouring into a bowl. Boil a kettle and pour the water into a jug, before adding a few teaspoons to your icing sugar. Mix everything together. If it doesn’t turn into a paste, add another teaspoon of water, then stir again. Keep doing this until it just forms a spreadable goo. You can add more icing sugar to thicken it up if you go too far.
To feather, start by dipping the top of a cooled biscuit in your first colour of icing, holding it upside down to let the excess drip off. Then lightly drizzle (or pipe using a 1–2mm hole) some straight lines across your biscuit in your second colour of icing. Draw a toothpick across your biscuits perpendicular to the line of icing, then leave to set before enjoying at tea time.