Takes 45 minutes. Makes (at least) 30.
The most nostalgic biscuit I've ever made. It seems that most country has a version of this iced sugar cookie and that most people have a memory of these locked somewhere deep in their childhood memories. In New Zealand and Australia they are called Iced Animals. Very aptly named. These biscuits are not only easy, but a lot of fun to make. A great one to do with kids. NB. You don't have to use animal cookie cutters if you don't have them. But it does make it more fun....
The special type of hard icing that these biscuits have is called 'Royal Icing'. Royal Icing is an icing which is characterised by how it hardens and shines once set which is owing to the use of egg whites in the mixture. You may have seen it before on gingerbread houses, or elegantly designed sugar cookies. The best this about Royal Icing is that you can change the consistency to suit your needs. It can easily be adapted for outlining or flooding, by changing the amount of water you mix in. For this recipe, it needs to be a runny consistency, so the biscuits can be dipped in on one side. You can use either egg white powder or an egg white - both will produce the same result. The only benefit of egg white powder is it reduces the risk of passing on potential harmful bacteria from raw egg white, however I have used egg whites multiple times and been absolutely fine.
I have gone with the traditional Iced Animal colours which are pink, blue, yellow, orange, and green - all pastels. To get these colours, all you need is red, blue, and yellow food colouring and you can make any colour you like. To get a pastel hue, you only need to use a couple of drops in each mixture. Don't worry if you feel like you've overdone it - it actually needs to look slightly darker in the bowl to get a full coverage pastel on the biscuit. When it comes time to dipping, I found that I needed to double dip the light colours (specifically yellow) but it actually gives it a thicker icing like the store bought.
I N G R E D I E N T S
For the biscuit:
80 grams butter
1/4 cup golden caster sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of plain gluten free flour
1/4 tsp of baking powder
1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 tsp salt
For the icing:
2 cups icing sugar
1 lightly whisked egg white or 1 packet of egg white powder (follow instruction on the powder pack)
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
Red, blue, yellow food colouring
M E T H O D
For the biscuit: Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
Add in the egg and beat again.
Sift in the flour, baking powder, salt, and xanthan gum and mix again with wooden spoon until you can form a ball with your hands.
Wrap the ball in cling film and put into fridge for half and hour.
Preheat oven to 180° Celsius (bake).
When chilled, dust a surface with flour, and roll out dough until about 5mm thick.
Using animal cookie cutters, cut out as many biscuits as you can
Carefully place on a lined baking tray, and bake at 180° celsius for 10 minutes, or until golden around the edges. You may need to do this in 2/3 lots. Once cooked, let the biscuits cool.
For the icing: while the animal biscuits are cooling, combine the icing sugar, egg white (or prepared egg white powder mixture), lemon juice, and vanilla essence, and mix until fully combined. You should have the texture of PVC glue- thick but runny. If it's not runny enough, add a splash of water, if its too runny, add 1/4 cup more icing sugar.
Divide the icing into 5 bowls (or as many as you will have colours.
In each bowl, add a 3-4 drops of food colouring, and mix until the food colouring has spread through the icing evenly.
Prepare a lined tray for the iced animals.
One by one, dip the animal biscuits into the icing of your choice. Let the excess icing drip off and then place on the lined tray with the icing facing up.
Repeat until your kitchen is literally full of iced animals. NB. depending on the strength of the colours, some biscuits may need to be double dipped. They will take about an hour to set and then enjoy!
This was another recipe for my New Zealand baking challenge! If you'd like to see more - check out my gluten free Squiggles, Mallowpuffs, and many more. If there is something you'd like me to make gluten free from New Zealand, don't hesitate to contact me. I love a challenge.