I seem to have a bit of a theme going on at the moment. Making homemade versions of shop bought biscuits. This was a joint idea from my sister in law and I. We like to get together whenever we can and either go out for tea and cake or bake something. Well last week we did both. We made these little beauties in the morning, nipped out for lunch and then came back to assemble them. It was a lovely way to spend a rainy day.
The idea for these came from Pinterest. The original pin we found used buttercream instead of meringue. It looked really pretty but we both decided that it could be quite sickly and why not stick with the original meringue topping that works so well. We had a look for a couple of recipe ideas to get the perfect biscuit and meringue combination. Also deciding on what colour they should be, you can stick with the traditional colours of the shop bought, or do what we did; use whatever food colouring you have in your cupboard.
Fancy baking your own iced gems?
You will need:
For the meringue
4 large eggs whites
225g white caster sugar
food colouring of your choice
For the biscuit
225g butter, softened
110g caster sugar
275g plain flour
zest of 1 lemon
100g icing sugar
For the meringues.
Heat oven to 140ºC/120ºC fan/gas 1 and line 2 large baking sheets with baking parchment.
Tip the egg whites into a large mixing bowl or table-top mixer – make sure it’s grease-free before you start. Whisk the eggs with an electric hand whisk or in your mixer, until they hold soft peaks.
Begin adding the sugar 1 tbsp at a time, whisking continuously, until you have a thick and glossy meringue, which will hold up in a stiff peak on the end of the whisk.
Using a disposable piping bag, paint the sides of the bag with the food colouring.
Pipe the mixture into the gem shape, ours were the size of a meringue kiss/drop. We didn’t use a nozzle, but a star one would give you a similar effect. Leave a small space to allow the meringues to spread a little.
Bake for 40 minutes, turning the heat down to 120ºC/100ºC fan/gas ½ for the final 20 mins. Keep an eye on the meringues they make take less or more time depending on the size.
Remove from the oven and cool on wire racks.
For the biscuits.
Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
Cream the butter in a large bowl or in a food mixer until soft. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Sift in the flour and grated zest and bring the mixture together to form a dough.
Leave the dough to chill for at least half an hour.
Use a small round cutter to cut out the shapes and place them slightly apart on a baking tray.
Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes or until they are a light golden brown and slightly firm on top.
Carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
Place the icing sugar and enough water to make a thick icing in a bowl. Mix until smooth and glossy.
Use the icing as a glue to glue the gems onto the biscuit.
Leave to set.
Once set, enjoy!