Sunday, 15 May 2011

Baking Button Biscuits

I have a confession - I love buttons. I do.

My Grandmother had/has a button jar that I used to play with as a child. They were beautiful and made excellent counters for Ludo or Snakes and Ladders. Nowadays, they make an excellent way to keep my earrings safe!  (Using those spare buttons you get with clothes, you can put one earring through each hole so that you can always find a pair and making it less likely to loose one).
I was given a lovely icing set for my Birthday (thank you Jean!) and I have been wanting an excuse to try it out. I have no experience whatsoever at icing - except with the ready rolled stuff so here is
Project 1: button biscuits.

I used the simplest biscuit recipe I know. Here it is. 

Rub together: 150g butter, 75g sugar and 225g plain flour.
That's it!

Once it has become a dough, wrap it in clingfilm and leave it in the fridge for about 15mins - otherwise you will find it difficult to roll out.

Roll the dough out to about 1/2 cm thick and then cut out circles. I also marked mine with a smaller cutter to help me with the icing later on.
Bake these at about 170 for 15-30 minutes. 
They will be nicest if you only let them get slightly golden, rather than brown. They turn very quickly and go hard if left to go brown, so keep an eye!smaller circular cutter to help with my icing later.

Once they are done leave them to cool fully - otherwise your icing will run.

Ok, the fun part. Now, as I've said I am no icing expert. To do this well I should really have made Royal icing. However, I just didn't have time. So I just made my icing with icing sugar, water and vanilla extract. 

First, you need to ice an outer circle as close to the edge of the biscuit as possible. You can also pipe an inner circle.

Then you need to pipe 4 small circles in the middle for the button holes. Alternatively, you can do 2 figures of eight that link.

You then need to let this icing set. Obviously, you can experiment with the icing colours. I  found that you get a completely different effect if you match the outline colour with the fill colour compared to a contrasting colour with white piping. Your call!

Next, make a new batch of icing that is slightly more runny.
You can use a larger nozzle to fill in and use the tip to move the icing into the gaps.
Finally, make a small amount of thicker icing to make the 'thread'. Pipe a cross in the middle, going from one of the 4 holes that you left to another.

Leave the icing to set fully over night. 
And there you have it. My very own button jar. 
But this time I am allowed to eat them. :-)


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