Whisky icing. That’s why you clicked, isn’t it? It’s the whole reason I made these biscuits in the first place (fair warning: I’ll alternate between using the words biscuits and cookies because I’m the opposite of a purist, I’m a big sloppy not purist).
I recently saw a recipe for cinnamon buns (or something similar) with a whisky glaze (or something similar) and it’s been vaguely playing on my mind ever since. I thought it was on Bon Appetit, but I’ve searched there and found no joy. So I decided to see if simply adding whisky to icing sugar yielded grown-up deliciousness. Unsurprisingly, it absolutely did.
It does for cookies what brandy does for mince pies, a gorgeous festive boozy hit. It’s the best. You’re going to love it.
I suppose at this point you’re dying to know where I found these cutters. I bought them a shameful number of weeks ago. It was early September I believe, and in my defence, they were being sold. I’m a helpless consumer, what was I to do?
I found them in the big Rustington Sainsbury’s near to my Nan’s house. They were a bargain too, £2. However, I regret to inform you that I can’t find them on their website – so I’ve a sneaking suspicion they were shifting last years stock at full price. They saw me coming.
There are, of course, plenty of gorgeous Christmas cutters to be found. I recommend checking out places like Etsy to support independents and be a cool human being – this santa hat is badass and this reindeer is almost certainly too cute.
It’s now that I should probably mention: there’s no marmalade in these cookies. It’s just orange zest. But it sounds cute, right? Artistic license. I love it.
The dough is adapted from an Edd Kimber recipe that I go back to time after time when I want a good, sturdy biscuit. It’s your basic rubbing in method, chill in the fridge for a bit biscuit dough. Nice and easy, crazy delicious, you know the drill.
If you use small-ish cutters like I did, the decorating stage of this game is going to take you a little while. Do yourself a favour and set the afternoon aside, have fun with it, put the radio on (or a foodie podcast) and just get into it. Enjoy the meditative trance you enter when making sweet things look pretty – there’s nothing like it.
I’m no master when it comes to icing biscuits beautifully. I’m cursed with a shockingly unsteady hand and untidy nature. You don’t need perfection, but put a bit of effort in and you’ll produce something worth Instagramming.
Adapted from Edd Kimber
300g plain flour
150g golden caster sugar
zest 1 large orange
150g cold butter, diced (omit salt above if using salted)
1 large egg, beaten
- Heat your oven to Gas Mark 4 (conversions here) and grease and line a couple of baking trays.
- Mix the flour, salt, sugar and zest in a large bowl then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
- Stir in the beaten egg and gradually bring the dough together, kneading until smooth.
- Chill until firm.
- Roll the dough out to about half a centimetre thick. Cut your shapes and then chill the dough for 10-15 minutes before baking – if there’s no room in your fridge, don’t panic, they’ll survive a lack of chilling, I’ve been known to skip this step.
- Bake for 15 minutes and cool on a wire rack.
To decorate: I’ve not given measurements for the icing sugar or whisky as I’ve never done this any other way than by eye. Pour some icing sugar into a bowl, then add whisky tiny bit by tiny bit until you’re happy with the consistency of the icing. Runny enough to spread but not so runny that it’ll be thin and drippy and useless.
I used little silver balls and sparkly sprinkles, but the baking aisle is your oyster, go wild.