Even though I consider myself to be quite a creative person, I have to confess that my drawing skills are definitely lacking. I'm certainly no artist. And of course that inability to draw anything halfway decent with a pen or pencil extends to being poor at piping!
Happily, these Iced Almond Biscuits, which were inspired by this year's final episode of GBBO certainly don't call for you to be a Monet or Turner! After a few 'blobs' (technical word there!) and swirls of icing you'll soon have a few pretty 'abstract' biscuits to share with family and friends.
These biscuits are great fun to make, both on your own or as an activity with children. They can be decorated as simple or intricate as your imagination allows.
How to make additive free icing!
Many bakes with a colour element include colour pastes in the ingredient list, which come complete with unpronounceable elements which many parents are rightly wary of.
Our pretty Iced Almond Biscuits decorated with additive free icing is a family friendly recipe. Having been decorated with an icing tinted with a little shop bought jam, not only can you feel more confident that your family won't react to the artificial ingredients and become hyperactive (though do check the jam ingredient list to be sure), but the taste of the icing is delicately flavoured with fruits which works so beautifully with the simple almond biscuit.
The three naturally coloured icings which I used in this recipe were white (no colour tint used), a soft pink coloured with a little seedless raspberry jam and a dark pink which could also be described as a soft purple which was tinted with some blackcurrant jam. We used the same idea of using jam to tint the icing when we made our Loveheart Styled Shortbread Biscuits.
One issue to be aware of when using jam to naturally tint your icing is the pieces of fruit. This isn't a problem if you're planning on spreading the icing onto your bake with a knife, but it can of course be a problem when piping! To prevent your piping nozzle from becoming blocked either purchase a 'smooth' and seedless jam, or pass it through a sieve to remove the fruit pieces.
Of course, using jam to colour your icing does restrict your colour palette, but you could experiment with fresh ingredients to extend the range of colours, like I did with these Beetroot & Chocolate Cupcakes which created a vibrant pink!
So here's how to make Iced almond Biscuits, with natural colours.
Almond Iced Biscuits is made with natural colours. Two jams, raspberry and
blackcurrant, helped to create the pretty 3 colour scheme making
these biscuits both effective and delicious. Icing biscuits is a fun
activity for children (& adults).
Hands on time: 60 mins Bake time: 10 mins Yield: about 20 biscuits
Biscuit Cutter (we used a 68mm round cutter, using both the scalloped and plain round edge).
Piping bags and plain round piping nozzles.
For the Almond Biscuits
- 90g Butter, unsalted & softened
- 60g Caster Sugar
- 40g Golden Caster Sugar
- 1 Egg, lightly beaten
- ½ teaspoon Almond Extract
- small pinch of Salt
- 50g Ground Almonds
- 150g Plain Flour + extra for rolling out the dough
- ¼ teaspoon Baking Powder
For the Icing
- 250g Royal Icing Sugar
- ½ Lemon, juice of
- Jam (ideally smooth & seedless) (see note a & f below)
Notes: a) Our 3 icings were white (no colour used), soft pink (tinted with seedless raspberry jam) and a dark pink (tinted with blackcurrant jam which had been passed trough a sieved). b) For 80 - 90g of icing sugar (or royal icing sugar) add ½ - 2 teaspoon of jam. A paler shade will be achieved with just a small amount of jam. c) To test you have the correct thickness of icing simply allow the icing to drizzle from the spoon back into your mixing bowl. It should create a ribbon type of pattern on top of the icing in the bowl. After a couple of seconds it will blend back into itself. d) Consider making some simple piping bags with greaseproof paper shaped into a cone. e) You may need to bake the biscuits in two batches. f) If your jam contains fruit pieces aim to remove as much fruit as possible by passing it through a sieve.