I just love Easter baking; I think it's my favourite time of the year for baking (Christmas comes a close second). I especially love when I have the time to make biscuits and to decorate them properly. I've done them many times over the years, and I never tire of them.
This year, my son, once again, wanted to join in. I must say his piping skills, and the care he took really paid off. You can see his first bunny with the blue ribbon, and then his second the next day, with the pink ribbon. What a difference! He loved learning the technique of putting spots wet on wet, then dragging the skewer through to create the heart and feathered effects (his top two bunnies).
Anyway the key to making these biscuits and having them keep their shape, it to chill and freeze between stages. It really helps if you have multiple baking trays/cookie sheets, but it's not essential.
Also, ideally you would use proper royal icing to decorate as it sets faster and harder than what I used, but because Thomas is allergic to egg whites, he can't have that. So, I have again used aquafaba (chickpea juice) to make this version. Honestly you cannot tell the difference in taste.
When rolling out the dough I use this roller, from Joseph Joseph as it has the graduated ended so you can roll your dough out to the desired thickness evenly. This is a bit of a luxury, but before I had this, I would sometimes put out two wooden spoons or you can buy and cut dowelling to have the same effect. Consistency of thickness though, is important. (I use the red level)
One final comment, this makes a large batch of biscuits - I made 75 Easter ones. If you want fewer, you can halve the recipe.
Now, off we go!
- 750 g plain (all purpose) flour
- 450 g butter, softened
- 400 g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 Tablespoon (15 mls) vanilla extract
1. In a large bowl, sift the flour. Pre-heat the oven to 160 degrees C
2. Using the paddle attachment on your mixer, cream the softened butter and sugar together for about 5 mins until pale and fluffy. Add the vanilla and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
3. Add flour mixture and mix on low speed until combined.
4. At this stage, I start rolling out about a fifth of the mixture at a time. I cut two pieces of parchment paper to fit my baking trays, and I roll out enough dough for that tray, between the paper. This avoid it sticking to the rolling pin. I then put the tray of rolled out dough into the fridge to chill for 15 mins. I continue with the remaining dough. If you run out of trays, roll it put anyway and put it flat into the fridge. You can put it on top of each other. (Keep it between the two layers of parchment). Many recipes will tell you to split the dough in half and refrigerate, but then it is MUCH harder to roll out. This step saves you a lot of work!
5. Take a chilled tray from the fridge, cut out the shapes you want, place onto the baking tray, slightly apart, and then place into the freezer for 15 mins. I work on a rotation from now one. One tray in the freezer, the next cut out in the fridge, and then as one goes to the oven, the next to the freezer, the next being cut out and chilled. Get it??
6. From the freezer, put the tray into the oven and cook for 10-13 mins, depending on your oven. Mine is fast and hot so cooked them for 11, until they were slightly golden around the edges.
7. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Egg free Icing:
90 ml aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)
600 g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place all the ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix on medium speed until it is combined fully. You may need to add a tiny more aquafaba (or water) to loosen it slightly.
At this stage it is the right consistency for the outlining of the shapes. To then make it runny enough to flood (fill in) you need to add very small amounts of water to get the right consistency. Don't let it get too runny!
Add colour as required. I ended up with two piping bags per colour, one to outline and one to flood.
Any questions, do let me know and I'll help however I can!