Line a couple of trays with baking
parchment and heat oven to
180C/160C fan/gas 4. Mix together
the flour, salt, caster sugar and limezest
(keep the zested limes for the icing). Add
the butter and rub together until the
mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Beat the egg and vanilla bean paste
together with a fork, then mix into
the other ingredients. Knead until
even. Chill until firm, then roll on a lightly
floured surface until about 4-5mm thick.
Stamp out 8cm rounds, transfer to baking
trays, then chill again for 15 mins before
baking for 15-17 mins until golden. Remove
from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and
leave to cool before decorating.
For the icing, put the royal icing sugar into a
bowl, add about 65ml lemon or lime juice and
use a metal spoon or electric mixer to beat
until it is fairly thick and glossy. If the icing is too thick
though, it will be hard to pipe. Take a quarter of
the icing, put into a piping bag fitted with a No 2
(very small round) piping nozzle and set aside. To see step-by-step images, please see the tips, below left, for a link to our guide page.
For the flood icing, add another 10ml lemon
or lime juice to the remaining icing, a few
drops at a time until it is pourable. You can
now divide this icing into as many bowls as you like
and colour by mixing in a little gel food colouring.
Place the coloured icing into three piping
bags, ready for decorating.
To decorate the biscuits, use the thicker icing
to draw your outline or design onto the
biscuits. Let the icing set for a few minutes.
Pipe enough runnier icing to cover the entire
biscuit – don’t worry about it being neat at
this point. Use a toothpick to spread the icing
evenly inside the hard icing ‘wall’. If the surface of
the icing isn’t flat, gently shake the biscuit back and
forth until you have a smooth covering.
To add a simple dot decoration, while the icing
is still wet, use the runnier icing again to pipe
dots again – this will sink on, leaving you with
a smooth effect. Pop the biscuits onto a baking tray
and place into an oven at its lowest setting for about
30 mins to allow the icing to set hard.