You may remember I predicted that Shtum by Jem Lester was going to be one of the HUGE hits of 2016. Well the book is about to be published by Orion books (this Thursday) and I’m sure it will a book you will be hearing a lot about over the next few weeks and months. You can read my review here: Shtum review and order a copy here: Shtum
So for something a bit different today! Ever wanted to recreate your favourite book in biscuit form? Well, look no further. Thanks to the Biscuiteer’s delicious easy biscuit recipe and some simple decorating tips, you can make delicious Shtum-themed biscuits to wow your book-loving friends! I have to confess that my biscuit decorating skills aren’t up to much and the pictures you see below show the impressive efforts of Jemima Forrester, Jem Lester’s editor!
For the biscuits:
350g plain flour
100g self-raising flour
125g granulated sugar
125g salted butter softened, diced
125g golden syrup
1 large egg lightly beaten
Zest of 1-2 lemons (swap this for 1 tsp vanilla paste if you prefer your biscuits plain)
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Sift the flours together into a mixing bowl, add the sugar and mix well.
- Add the butter. Using the tips of your fingers, rub the ingredients together until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
- When all the butter is evenly mixed in, make a well in the centre and add the syrup, lemon zest and egg.
- Mix well, drawing in any of the flour left at the side of the bowl, and stop as soon as a ball has formed.
- Roll out sections of the biscuit dough between sheets of grease-proof paper to avoid it sticking. Cut out circles for the letters (I used the top of a small wine glass) and use a small sharp knife to cut out simple feather-shaped biscuits. If you want them to look the same, make yourself a guide from a piece of grease-proof paper which you can cut around.
- Place the biscuits on a lined baking tray and put them in the oven for 15-25 minutes (depending on their size and thickness) until they are golden brown.
Now for the icing! You’ll need two different icings – one thick piping icing and one thinner flood icing. I make a very simple icing, using 600g Royal icing sugar mixed with a little lemon juice (if, like me, you love lemony biscuits) or water.
For the thick icing, the consistency should be similar to toothpaste. The flood icing will need more liquid and should be thinner so you can coat the biscuits easily.
Pipe a basic outline around the outside of each biscuit and fill in with the flood icing. You may need a small teaspoon to help push the icing all the way to the edges and into the corners of your feathers.
You can put the iced biscuits back in the cooling oven to set or leave them overnight.
Once the icing has fully set, you’re ready to paint! I used a fine paint brush and Wilton gel colours (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Wilton-Icing-Colors-Ounce-Assorted/dp/B0000CFN0Y) mixed with a little water to get the right colour and consistency.
For the feathers, you can do rainbow colours, as in the photos, or get creative and give your feathers whatever colour theme you fancy!
For the circular biscuits simply paint the letters on as neatly as possibly (not as easy as it looks).
The final step is the piped detail on the feathers. So, once your colours are dry (again, you may want to leave them overnight, or at least a few hours), get your piping icing back out and go round the outside, including a few extra feathery details.
Once the icing is set, you’re ready to go impress friends and family with your beautiful Shtum biscuits.
They’re almost too beautiful to eat . . . almost!