Chocolate and orange is one of those combinations made in heaven. Moreover orange is often associated with Christmas, so it was natural to chose it for a Christmas gift iced biscuits which are going to Fortnum and Mason's department store to take part in the food bloggers gift swap event I wrote in my previous post.
This post of Haniela inspired me for thee icing colours and for the biscuits recipe I adapted the basic sugar biscuit recipe from Peggy Porschen's Favourite cakes and cookies book.
Let me tell you, these cookies are the most delicious cookies I have tried. And the recipe is really really good!
Orange and chocolate biscuits with royal icing
adapted from Peggy Porschen book Peggy's favourite cakes and cookies.
200 gr light brown sugar
2oo gr butter
40 g cocoa powder I used Green and Black's organic cocoa
350 g flour
grated zest of 1/2 medium sized orange
for the decoration:
2 tubs (x325 g) Dr Oetker Royal Icing (white)
blue food colouring
baking paper to make icing bag
Beat the sugar and butter until well combined and fluffy. Then add the egg and work some more.
Sift the cocoa powder and the orange zest and mix. Add half the flour - sifted and knead. When well incorporated, add the remaining half of the flour - sifted and knead until smooth.
Wrap in a plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 2 hours.
Line 3 or 4 baking sheets (depending on the cutter size) with parchment paper.
Remove from the fridge, cut in two halves. Put one of the halves back in the fridge and roll the other one on a floured surface with a thickness of 1 cm. Cut out snowflakes, stars and other shapes. Place on the baking sheet and return to the fridge for 30 minutes. Proceed with the rest of the dough.
Heat the oven at 180 C and place the baking sheets one by one for 6-8 minutes (10 minutes for large shapes) each, then place on a wire rack to cook.
When the cookies are cold transfer to a biscuit tin and store overnight.
Decorating with royal icing is still a mystery. Sometimes it works well, sometimes not. As with everything else, experience is the key. The more you practise the better you are going to become. So don't feel disappointed if the results are not excellent from the first time.
I had tried to decorate biscuits with royal icing before and I swore I'm not doing this again soon. Well, almost 6 months later, it's appropriate time for a second try, me thinks.
This time I had better experience and generally it worked. I am still not ready to experiment with making my own royal icing, so I just used a ready-one, heated over bain marie and occasionally diluted with a few drops of water to make it more fluid.
I tried to work with first making outline with drier icing and then flooding with more liquid icing, but it didn't work well. So I just applied the icing with a coffee spoon over the cookies and it was the right consistency - not too runny not too set to take its form without overflowing and getting out of the cookie outline.
After this first icing was set - 30-40 minutes later, I made drier one and draw the white lines on top.
Leave to dry, wrap in transparent foil and pack.
To make the presents even more special, I made the crepe paper poinsettia present toppers. They are quite easy and I am planning to make a tutorial on them in the next couple of days!
Great blogs and source of know how and inspiration about decorating with royal icing are:
Sweet Kingdom in English and Bulgarian