4 ingredients, 3 super simple stages & lots of fun to make!
You don’t need any fancy flavourings but feel free to add them if you’d like to. This recipe makes about 50 – make at least this many, they go fast!!!
My Shortbread Ingredients
- Flour – you can actually use self-raising or plain. Self-raising is my preference but doesn’t make a huge amount of difference.
- Stork Block of Butter – wouldn’t recommend anything else!!!!
- Comes in a 250g foil block, NOT a tub – see pic below.
- Costs about 80p. Sometimes comes in prettier packaging (it’s yellow with pink spots at the moment!!) but always says “biscuits and pastry” on the front.
- It’s naturally dairy free too!!
- Caster Sugar – haven’t tried to swap this but would guess white granulated sugar would be fine too. Maybe even golden caster sugar – it might just result in a browner shortbread
The Iced Gem Topping
You need a ROYAL icing mix for this!!! It sets with a hard finish, whereas regular icing stays runny. Two options:
- You can buy special “royal icing” (purple box) for which you just need to add water. Follow the instructions on the box.
- If you only have regular “icing” (pink box), you just need to add the egg! Sounds weird but bare with me…For every 250g of icing sugar:
- Whisk 1 egg WHITE (not the yolk!!!!) until light and fluffy.
- Add the icing sugar and whisk in.
- Add a little tiny tiny bit of water if its too firm (but it should be quite firm so be careful).
Basically, option 1 already has the egg white added so you haven’t got to do the job.
Easy Peasy Iced Gems
- 35 grams Butter - I used Stork Blocks (dairy free)
- 15 grams Caster Sugar
- 50 grams Gluten Free Self-Raising Flour
- 500 grams Royal Icing - not sure what that is? see details above!
The Shortbread Dough
- Cream the butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy.>I mix with an electric hand whisk for about 1 min but you could also use a wooden spoon.
- Sift in the flour & mix together until JUST combined. I use an electric whisk for this. Could easily use a wooden spoon here.>Don't worry if you haven't got a sieve – just tip it in 😉>"JUST combined" is when you cant see any more white from the flour and its just starting to clump together, like the picture.
- Use your hands to press the mix together into a few balls in the bowl. It will be crumbly but that's no problem!
- Lay a piece of cling film across your worktop. Loosely press the dough together with your hands and place onto the cling film, like my picture. >Don't worry if its falling apart and super crumbly, the next step will help!
- Wrap it up tightly and place into the fridge for at least an hour to firm up. It can be left overnight.
- Pre-heat your oven to 160oC. Remove the dough from the fridge, remove the cling film & take a lump of the dough>It's easiest to do the next bit with about 1/3 of the dough at a time.
- Dust your hands in flour. Make a round-ish ball with the dough in your hands – you can be quite heavy handed with it here, play with it like its playdough for 20 secs.
- Place the ball on a floured surface and use the palm of your hand to flatten slightly. Then bash with a rolling pin to flatten a little more>Bashing with the rolling pin helps to stop the shortbread dough from falling apart in the next step.
- Add some flour to your rolling pin and roll out until its about the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out as many circles as possible.>If you'd rolled too thin, don't worry just gather the dough together and start again! Add more flour to the rolling pin, work surfaces and your hands.>Cutter: I used a 3/4 inch (2cm) fluted cutter from Amazon but you could stamp out with the base of a piping nozzle or cut around a pound coin
- Transfer the circles onto a baking tray and place into the oven for 8 mins at 160oC. >These biscuits will not brown so don’t wait for the edges to start to colour – stick to 8 mins and they’ll be cooked!
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before touching them as they’ll still be soft.
- Make up your royal icing (if you need help with this, see "The Iced Gem Topping" section in my blog post.
- Divide your icing into 2-3 bowls depending on how many colours you’d like. Add the colours and flavourings to each bowl.
- Place your nozzle into your piping bag and fill with the first colour. Pipe onto each biscuit and leave for at least 30mins to set before serving.
- I used a 12-point open star swirl nozzle
- I know this recipe makes loads more icing than necessary but its a lot easier to pipe with a full bag so fill it up!
- Hold the biscuit with one hand and piping bag with the other. Press the piping nozzle down onto the biscuit and squeeze the piping bag. Pull the nozzle away and release your squeeze at the same time! Tap the biscuit on the worksurface to make the icing spread more evenly.
- Wipe the end of the nozzle between each biscuit.
This recipe produces a softer icing top than traditional iced gems. It’ll hold its shape perfectly but wont be quite as crunchy as the real deal (mainly to save my teeth haha). If you’d like it to be really crunchy, you need to make the icing tops on a piece of baking paper, leave to dry for 24hrs and then stick to the biscuit with edible glue/honey.