Every year the boys and I make these tasty treats. It wouldn’t be Easter without them. This year I have used the recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery.
* 200 g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
* 280 g caster sugar
* 0.2 tsp vanilla extract
* 1 egg
* 400 g plain flour, plus extra to dust
* 1 pinch of salt
* 0.5 tsp cream of tartar
* 1 egg
* 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1 tbsp water
* 310 g icing sugar, sifted
Preheat the oven to 170°C (340°F/Gas Mark 3½) and line four baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Put the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and cream until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well, scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
Add the flour, salt and cream of tartar and mix well, but don’t overmix. The dough should be light, soft and easy to handle.
Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the dough with a rolling pin. Cut out shapes with your choice of biscuit cutters.
Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking trays and bake in the preheated oven for about ten minutes. Check them regularly to make sure they are not burning. The cookies should be very light golden on the outer edges and paler in the centre.
When you are happy that they are cooked through, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly on the trays before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
While the cookies are cooling, make the royal icing. Beat the egg white, lemon juice and water together in a freestanding electric mixer with a whisk attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk).
Gradually start adding the icing sugar, mixing well after each addition to ensure all sugar is incorporated. Whisk until you get stiff peaks, about five minutes. If the icing is too runny, add a little more sugar. Add water if you need to make the mixture more spreadable.
Decorate the cookies using a piping bag. You could add a couple of drops of food colouring to the icing to make the cookies more striking.