I know I can’t be the only one to have had an iced gem favourite, for me, it was always the pink ones. I had convinced myself they had a ‘special’ strawberry flavour that the other colours simply didn’t possess. I’d trade blue and yellow ones for them amongst friends and sit there counting them, as if they were gold coins collected over years of searching. Needless to say, I was an odd child but that doesn’t mean that iced gems were any less delicious 😉
Take a look and see if you can recreate your own childhood memories this week…
Ingredients for the shortbread:
175g lightly salted butter
55g caster sugar
140g plain flour
Ingredients for the icing:
335g royal icing sugar
One drop of each of the following gel food colours:
Cutters and nozzles needed:
A small star nozzle
2.5cm round cutter
1. Line three baking trays with very lightly oiled baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together.
3. Sift in the cornflour and plain flour and gently mix until it forms into a soft dough.
4. Generously dust a clean work surface with plain flour and roll out 1/4 of the dough to a thickness of 4-5mm.
5. Use the 2.5cm round cutter to cut out tiny biscuits and arrange on the baking trays, leaving approximately 1cm space between each.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the remaining dough.
7. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees centigrade or gas mark 3 and chill the trays of cookies for approximately 15-20 minutes.
8. Bake the shortbread for approximately 10 minutes – the biscuits should remain pale.
To test if they’re done, gently press down with a finger, the shortbread should depress a little but give some resistance.
9. The shortbread will be fragile when you remove it from the oven, so leave to cool on the trays for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
To prepare the royal icing and decorate:
1. Sift the icing sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer, add the water a few drops at a time while mixing on a low setting, until the icing forms stiff peaks.
2. Split the icing between four bowls. Use a cocktail stick to add a tiny drop of the gel food colouring to three of the bowls.
To keep the colours a traditional pastel shade, you won’t need more than the very tip of the cocktail stick dipped into the gel colouring.
4. Prepare four piping bags with a small star nozzle – you’ll be piping each colour onto 18 biscuits. To pipe the traditional iced gem ruffle, hold the nozzle directly above the biscuit and apply pressure, allowing the icing to spread sideways as you slowly raise the nozzle upwards. To finish the ruffle, remove pressure from the bag and dip the nozzle down a little before pulling sharply upwards – this should give you a nice point on top.
5. Leave the icing to set for a few hours until completely hard.
Were Iced Gems one of your childhood lunchbox treats? Which colour was your favourite?