Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Recipe: Marzipan, honey & cinnamon Easter biscuits

Marzipan topped Easter bunny biscuit, as made by EJ
As part of the challenge sent to me by Renshaw to give marzipan a new lease of life, I've been experimenting by using it in the place of sugar paste (you may have seen my bird's nest cupcake tutorial last week). Marzipan is similar to work with, but has a softer consistency than sugar paste and can become sticky if over-kneaded, I've found that dusting my work surface and rolling pin with a little cornflour (as I do with sugar paste) helps with this. Once the biscuits are iced and left to dry, the marzipan will set.

Striped marzipan-topped Easter biscuits
These Easter egg and bunny shaped biscuits are flavoured with honey and cinnamon and are topped with colourful stripes of embossed marzipan. I think these look best with the stripes slightly offset for an irregular appearance.

To make approximately 20 Easter bunny and egg biscuits, you will need:
30g caster sugar
2tbs clear honey
100g butter
1 large egg yolk
1tsp cinnamon
200g plain flour
1-2tbs milk

To decorate the biscuits you will need:
Renshaw marzipan
A few drops of gel food colouring in your choice of colours
A little cornflour
Edible glue

A rolling pin
A floral textured rolling pin
An 8cm (length) egg-shaped cookie cutter
An 8cm (length) bunny-shaped cookie cutter
A food safe paintbrush

To make the biscuits:
Line and grease 2-3 baking trays.

Measure the caster sugar and honey into a bowl, add the butter and cream together until combined and smooth, add the egg yolk and stir in.

Sift in the flour and cinnamon, stir to combine. Gradually add a little of the milk to form into a soft dough.

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and roll out until approximately 2-3mm thick. Cut out the bunny and egg shaped biscuits and arrange them on the prepared baking trays.

Avoid re-rolling the dough too many times. Chill the cut shapes for at least 20 minutes before baking to prevent them over-spreading while they bake. As the un-baked biscuits are chilling, pre-heat the oven to 190C (fan).

Bake on the middle shelf of the pre-heated oven for 10-12 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack while you prepare the marzipan.

Honey & cinnamon bunny & egg Easter biscuits
To decorate:

Bunny and egg cookie cutters, rolling pin and textured rolling pin
Coloured marzipan
Pull off chunks of marzipan and knead a few drops of food colouring into each to produce an even colour.

Dust your surface with a little cornflour. Take 1/3 of each marzipan ball and roll each into a sausage shape - line these up and squash them down a little with your rolling pin.

Position the colours closely together and roll them out into one sheet approximately 1.5mm - 2mm thick.

Embossed marzipan
Firmly roll over the top of the marzipan with the textured rolling pin to emboss.

Using the same cutters you used for the cookies, cut out the bunny and egg shapes. Glue them on top of the biscuits using the edible glue.

Repeat this process, colouring and rolling out more marzipan until all of the cookies are iced. 

The same can be done with thinner stripes for a slightly different appearance:

Colourful marzipan-topped Easter cookies, as made by EJ
Leave the biscuits uncovered for approximately one hour to allow the marzipan to set, before packaging them up as Easter gifts - and enjoy!

If you're getting stuck into some Easter baking over the next week, it's worth entering Renshaw's Easter baking competition - you could win tickets to the Cake & Bake show in April- including the opportunity to hone your sugar crafting skills at one of the event's fantastic workshops.