Christmas Biscuits for icing

Now is the time of year that I always look with envy at all the beautifully decorated biscuits that you see on the internet. I think to myself that I don't have the time or the patience (and definitely not the skill!) to do that. In the past, I have made attempts, but the biscuit dough spreads, so you can't tell what shape it was supposed to be, and I realise that I don't have the first clue how to ice them!

However, I started looking into it a bit more and there is an art to it all, and there are tips and tricks that can make it a lot easier. Anyone can make the biscuits and they won't spread if you follow the tips I have outlined in the recipe below. You can also can make a decent attempt with icing them. there are ways to make it much easier. If you're really creative, you can make them look amazing!

This 'sugar cookie' recipe works well if you are using cutters and you want them to hold their shape, and it works every time. I used glace icing for some of them and royal icing for others. Tips and tricks included below in the recipe! Good luck!

(makes 30)

110g butter

200g caster sugar
1 egg
350g plain flour
2 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp salt

250g royal icing sugar (can be plain icing sugar if you want)
50ml water
food colouring (your choice of colour)
decorations of your choice


1. Cream the butter and sugar until it is just combined. Use a low setting and don't leave the mixture whizzing in a food processor for too long or it will get too light and fluffy, and the biscuits will rise and spread.

2. Add the egg and the vanilla and mix them in slowly.
3. Sift the flour in with the salt (it will look like a lot compared to the other ingredients, but it needs to make a firm dough.)
4. Mix the flour in until it is all sticking together and could be shaped as a dough. I found it easier to do this with a wooden spoon, than a mixer. If you use a mixer, watch out for flying flour and make sure you don't over mix it.
5. Turn the dough out onto a floured, movable surface like a tray or a large chopping board covered in foil or greaseproof paper, and roll it out with a floured rolling pin to a thickness of about 2 cm. Try to make it as even as possible.
6. Put it in the fridge for at least an hour.
7. After an hour, remove the dough and heat the oven to 180 (170 fan or gas mark 4).
8. Use biscuit cutters to cut shapes and put them on a greased cookie sheet. (Dip the cutter in flour if it's sticking when you pull it out.)  Cut the shapes with as little waste as possible because the more the dough is rolled out, the more often it is likely to spread.
9. Use a pastry brush to dust any flour off the shapes and transfer them to the fridge for a further 10 minutes. Remember to do this every time, if you are cooking in batches.
10. Cook in the oven for 8-10 mins. They will be done when the edges start to turn golden brown.
11. Remove and leave for a minute to set a little.
12. Take them off the cookie sheet. I find lifting them gently with my fingers causes fewer broken biscuits than using a spatula. Place on a cooling rack.
13. When the biscuits have completely cooled, they are ready to ice.
14. Mix the icing sugar with any food colouring you are using as well as the water. For lemon icing, switch the water for lemon juice. It should be fairly stiff, but not like buttercream.
15. Cheat's method of icing- Hold the biscuit by the edges, and pop it on the icing face down. Press slightly to make sure it has touched all the surface and then lift gently. Allow excess icing to run off, still holding the biscuit face down. When most of it has dripped, lift the biscuit carefully the right way up. Try to make sure that any remaining drips fall onto the biscuit surface, not drip down the edges.
16. Using a small silicone spatula or the back of a teaspoon, gently smooth it out and push it to the edges. Be quick if you have used royal icing as it starts to set quite quickly, especially in a warm kitchen.
17. Add any decorations immediately so they will stick.
18. Leave for a good few hours so that the icing sets well.

I made a double batch of these, iced half and left half plain. They look really pretty when they are decorated!

Give it a try- it's much easier than you think!


  1. These cookies are so beautiful. Thank you for sharing such a fantastic recipe and all the hints and tips. Sammie.

  2. Thank you! There's no way I would have faced up to icing biscuits if I hadn't found a way round all the scary piping and different icing textures!

  3. These look so good! Thanks for sharing on the What's for Dinner link up and the Cookie exchange!

  4. These hold their shape perfectly don't they, perfect for Christmas biscuits.

    1. They do. Took me a few attempts to find the trick to stopping them from spreading and rising too much!


Post a Comment