50-100g icing sugar, (optional)
125g brown sugar
3 drops vanilla essence
125g butter at room temperature, cut into cubes
250g plain flour
1 medium or large egg
1 tsp lemon juice, (optional)
- In a mixing bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar together with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
- Beat the egg in a separate bowl with the vanilla essence.
- Add the beaten egg bit by bit to the butter and sugar, mixing in as you go.
- Sieve the flour into the mixture.
- Mix the flour in until it forms a dough ball.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
- Whilst the dough is chilling, line a couple of baking trays with baking paper.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4.
- When the dough is chilled, sprinkle some flour on a clean work surface and roll the dough to about 0.5cm thick.
- Cut out shapes using cutters or free-hand, or mould shapes, and place onto baking sheets.
- Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until the biscuits are just starting to go golden brown at the edges.
- When the biscuits are cool, you can decorate. For the icing, add enough warm water (and lemon juice if using) to icing sugar to get a consistency that will come off the spoon but doesn't run off the biscuits. Add other cake decorations when the icing is still wet. Leave to dry.
Apart from the creaming of the butter and sugar at the start, and the oven bit, toddlers and older children can help at most stages of this recipe.
Keep the biscuits in an airtight container for up to a week (if they last that long!), although they're best the first couple of days.
Try saving old chocolate plain boxes to put some biscuits in to take to friends and relatives as gifts when visiting, and see the pride!
And you could always add some ginger or mixed spice to the recipe to turn them into Christmas biscuits.
Biscuit and sweets
Kids can help