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May 11, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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Icing Biscuits

I know that icing biscuits doesn’t seem particularly difficult, but unless you get it right you can have a real debacle. The icing required for biscuits is different to the sort of icing you might use on a birthday cake or on cupcakes.


– Icing sugar (around 2 cups)
– Boiling water
– 1 tbsp butter
– Food colouring

Put 1 cup of icing sugar in a bowl. Take your tablespoon of butter, in a tablespoon, and pour about 1tbsp of boiling water very slowly over the butter and into the bowl of icing sugar. This will soften the butter enough for it to blend in with the icing sugar. Mix together with the water and icing sugar in the bowl, adding a little more boiling water, bit by bit, until you get a mixture the consistency of hummus. The icing should drip off a spoon when dipped into the bowl and then held up high, but it should come off in a long, thick glug. If the icing is too runny then it will just escape right off the biscuits you want to ice. If you are making a small batch of biscuits, stop here—but if you’re doing a baking marathon, then do this:

Add in the second cup of icing sugar, bit by bit, along with a couple more tablespoons of boiling water, until once again you have an increased quantity of icing, but at the right consistency. The reason why I think it is best to start off with half is that it is tempting to splash in a lot of water if you immediately put in two cups of icing sugar, and then you have something too gloopy, which means that you will put in the rest of the bag of icing sugar to even out the texture. Even I do not know what to do with so much icing.

Leave the majority of the icing ‘plain’ so you can use it as a kind of white primer for your biscuits. Divide the rest of the icing into little bowls. In each bowl add one drop of food colouring (unless you want to garishly go to town with colour—which I don’t recommend if you want anyone to eat your biscuits).

The majority of times I have bought a proper icing bag I have very quickly lost the correct bits and bobs that make it all fit together, meaning that it soon becomes useless. I prefer to use those little sandwich bags that Glad makes. I am not wantonly specifying Glad—it’s just that the other brands’ bags tend to not withstand the sort of heavy pressure that you sometimes exert on a bag of icing. Put your icing in the sandwich bag and then seal it up. Then, with a pair of scissors cut a very, very tiny hole by cutting across one of the bag’s lower corners. You can also make an icing bag by making a cone with baking paper, sellotaping it up, filling it with icing and then cutting a little hole at its tip.

Before you start icing do a couple of test runs of lines, zig zags and dots on a plate so you get a feel for your bag—and you can make the hole bigger if you need. You should hold the bag as if you were sealing the bottom of a new shower with see-through gloop. Hold the corner with the hole with one hand, which you will use for direction and artistic flair. The other hand should hold the end of the bag, pushing the icing down and out.

I made some plain buttery vanilla biscuits and iced them with white, black and pink icing.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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