In the March/February 2014 issue of Brides we enlisted the help of pretty biscuit experts Biscuiteers to create a gorgeous star garland for us. Here is how to make you own using their pro tips and tricks:
Orange Biscuits: 350g plain flour, 100g self-raising flour, 125g granulated sugar, 125g salted butter - diced, 125g golden syrup, 1 large egg - lightly beaten, Grated zest of 2 oranges
Royal Icing: 150ml cold water, 900g royal icing sugar (most big supermarkets sell this special variety of icing sugar - make sure it contains powdered egg white otherwise the icing wont set hard)
Preheat the oven to 170c/350f/gas mark 4.
Sift the flours together into a mixing bowl; add the sugar and orange zest. Mix well.
Add the butter. Using just the tips of your fingers, rub together the ingredients until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. When all the butter is evenly mixed in, make a well in the centre and add the syrup and the egg.
Mix well, drawing in any of the flour left at the sides of the bowl and stop as soon as a ball has formed.
Place the dough onto your clean worktop. Divide into two and squash the dough into two even-sized flat discs. Cover and chill until ready to use, or roll out immediately.
Place the dough on a sheet of parchment and begin by gently squashing the dough down with a rolling pin or your hands. Cover with a second sheet of parchment and then use the rolling pin to roll out properly.
The top sheet of paper may crinkle from time to time, just peel it off and smooth it down gently before starting to roll again.
Gently roll the dough until it is 5mm thick all over, then transfer the whole sheet of rolled dough still sandwiched between its sheets of parchment to a baking tray and place in the fridge to chill for at least 20 - 30 minutes before cutting out your stars.
To use the dough efficiently cut the biscuits out as close together as possible. Lift each biscuit onto the parchment covered baking tray and make sure they are not too close together as the dough will spread a little on baking. Using a drinking straw, pierce a hole around 1cm from the edge of the star tip.
Evenly space the trays in the oven and cook for 14-18 minutes, depending on your oven.
When the biscuits are evenly cooked and just beginning to turn a golden colour remove the trays from the oven and transfer the whole sheet of parchment to a cooling rack. Do this carefully as they will be quite fragile and hot!
Cool totally before starting to ice. Now here is the fun bit!
To Ice your Biscuit:
To start, cut your piping bag straight across to achieve a clean icing line.
Always use a clean piping bag, so that your icing colours stay lovely and bold.
We use two basic types of royal icing at Biscuiteers - line icing which is a thick, smooth paste for piping details and edging, and flood icing which is mixed with more water for a runnier glossy mixture to fill larger areas.
Using the line icing (it should be smooth and thick, a bit like the texture of toothpaste), outline the stars in either Primrose, Mustard or Bright Yellow (the outline and filling should be the same colour). This stops the runny flood icing from escaping.
Once the edges are dry (about 10 minutes in room temperature) use the runny royal icing to flood the stars.
When filling areas with runny flood icing, use a sharp cocktail stick to burst any bubbles. This will help achieve a smooth and luxurious finish. Pop the biscuits in your oven for 45 minutes on the lowest temperature to dry the runny icing. Use golden or silver baubles to add that glimmering, finishing touch to your stars.
Depending on the length you would like the garland, cut around 2m of good quality twine or parcel ribbon and tie a loop at one end. This will help you secure it onto a hook when you're ready to hang the garland.
Thread the ribbon or twine through the star and tie a knot around the tip of the star being careful not to pull too tight, and break the biscuit.
Measure around 18cm, tie a knot and then thread the next one, again securing the biscuit in place by tying a knot around the biscuit. Continue these steps until you have threaded all 24 biscuit along the rope evenly and finish by tying another loop at the end of the twine/ ribbon.
Iced biscuits, from £2.95 each, www.biscuiteers.com
As seen in the March/April 2014 issue