Since I’m trying to post 12 days of Friendly recipes this Advent, my thoughts are firmly on Christmas baking and I’m finding ideas and inspiration everywhere.
The other day is saw some cute looking Christmas tree cupcakes, decorated with a swirl of dark green buttercream and a scatter of sprinkles to resemble the baubles. This got me thinking and before I knew it my thoughts had turned to iced gem biscuits and how the little peak of royal icing could be made to look like a mini Christmas tree. I also have a knockout iced gem recipe that I haven’t made for ages and needed reconnecting with and possibly updating.Jump to Recipe
If you’re not familiar with an iced gem, it’s essentially a tiny little vanilla cookie (here i’ve used a crisp shortbread) topped with a royal icing little peak, or in this case the foliage of a decorated Christmas tree! Beloved of small children throughout the UK, especially in the 80s and 90s, these little bags of iced biscuits were a party in a bag.
It turns out that the recipe is nearly perfect, i’ve updated with metric measurements rather than the previous more confusing cup measures, reduced the quantities to make a more manageable 80 or so iced gems, rather than the previous 150+ plus a little tweak on the quantities of ingredients.
These super cute, and fairly impressive looking tiny biscuits are pretty simple to make, just make sure you leave yourself enough drying time for the icing. ideally you want to leave the the icing Christmas trees for about 24 hours to fully dry out. I guarantee these will be the start of the show if you bring them to any festive occasion, how can anyone resit something as cute, colourful and tasty as a Christmas tree iced gem biscuit!
Christmas Tree Iced Gem Biscuits
- for the royal icing:
- 50 ml aquafaba water from a tin of beans or chickpeas
- 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
- 300 g icing sugar sifted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2-1 tsp green food colouring
- 1 tbsp stars and sprinkle decorations
- for the shortbread:
- 110 g plain flour
- 40 g caster sugar
- 80 g dairy-free margarine
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- First make the royal icing: In a stand mixer, or with an electric whisk, whisk together all the ingredients until a smooth thick paste is formed.
- Using a closed star nozzle pipe individual trees onto lined baking sheets, top each with a star decoation and scatter with a few sprinkles for the baubles. Leave in a cool dry place to dry and harden, which will take up to 24 hours
- Once the icing trees have set, make the shortbread tree trunks: Preheat the oven to 170 degrees centigrade. Line a baking sheet with parchment
- Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the sugar and vanilla. Add the dairy-free margarine and rub in with fingers. Once it starts to combine, press together to form a soft dough.
- Sandwich the dough between two sheets of baking paper, roll out the dough to 1cm thickness. Place in the fridge to rest and chill for at least half an hour.
- Using a small circular cookie cutter, stamp out circles and transfer to the lined baking sheet. You should make about 80 ’tree trunks’
- Bake for 10 minutes until the biscuits are starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and then cool on a wire rack.
- Once totally cool, mix together 5ml (1 tsp) water with 40g icing sugar to make a thick water icing, and use this to attach the tree tops to each mini shortbread tree trunk. Leave to set.
- These keep beautifully for at least 1 week.