Sunday, 8 December 2013

Stained glass biscuits

This Advent's surprise is based on ornaments we crafted with the kids I volunteer with couple of weeks ago before Hanukkah. We cut these ornamental stars out of black paper and filled the cutouts with colourful silk paper. They look beautiful and create this exotic, bazaar-like mood.  

But once yours truly gets those scissors in her hands the engineer within comes alive, resulting in projects that the motor skills of a first-grader simply aren't cut out for. And all the while the foodblogger part of me is trying to think of a way to turn them into something edible. 

And so the idea for these was born. You decide how technical you want them to be. Sure they seem a bit... OCD, but they're pretty too, right? And if your nearest and dearest aren't worth the effort then who is? The biscuits themselves are made of regular sweet shortcrust pastry that I jazzed up a bit using vanilla extract and lemon zest. Keeping with the season's spirits you could also make these with ginger bread dough.





Following the example of the doyenne of British baking Mary Berry's (who else!), I made the coloured sections using boiled sweets. According to my sister you could also use gummi bears. They need to be the soft variety though as regular wine gums don't melt properly.

Bash the sweets finely using a rolling pin and fill the cutouts thoroughly with the crumble. After you remove the biscuits from the oven, shake the tray a bit in order to break the air bubbles allowing the mixture to settle down for that lovely stained glass-look finish. You could also use the tip of a sharp knife to smooth the bubbling mixture. If you are using gummi bears, bake the biscuits for a couple of minutes before adding the gummi bears - this way they don't boil over. Which ever type of sweet you use, make sure to let the biscuits cool before removing form the tray - this way the mixture cools and won't separate from the frame. If you want to use these as a Christmas tree decoration, make a hole for the string into them before baking.

The inspiration for my biscuits came from Middle Eastern ornamentalism, but you could use any shape you want. The easiest way would be to cut round discs and then using a small cutter of your choice to cut off the centre.





Depending on the size and the designs, this recipe makes 20-25 biscuits

175 g butter or margarine
1 1/4 dl (100 g) caster sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
the zest of 1/2 lemon 
3,5 dl ( 225 g) all purpose flour

about 20-25 boiled sweets 

Bring the butter to room temperature. When its's soft enough, combine with sugar. Then add vanilla and lemon zest. Finally add flour and work into a smooth, soft dough. Wrap in cling film and let rest in the cold for half an hour and in the meanwhile prepare the sweets for the filling.

Roll on a floured work surface to a sheet of about 1/2 cm thick and cut shapes of your choice. Then use a smaller similar shape to remove the centre. Fill with crushed sweets.

Bake at 175 until the biscuits star getting a bit colour around the edges - about 10 minutes. After removing from the oven shake the tray a little to get rid of the air bubbles and let cool before serving.





These little gems are our entry to My Little Italian Kitchen's party food challenge - do check out the other entries as well!



Let's Party!



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ANYONE FOR SECONDS?



        



3 comments :

  1. This is the fabulous recipe. I like how you have made these biscuits, they look so pretty and very detailed. I'd love if you entered them in my Party Food contest: http://www.mylittleitaliankitchen.com/ready-for-the-party-season-lets-party-a-food-blogging-challenge/
    over at mylittleitaliankitchen.com. They would look fab!
    Alida

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Alida :-) The link has been submitted and your contest linked to the post as well!

      Delete
  2. Thank you so much for entering them! They are stunning! X

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