It’s a summer of sports. The FIFA World Cup is heating up and marking the start of summer, The Championships have begun at Wimbledon. For some, this may be one sporting event too many, but fear not, whether you love all the sport or not, we have some wonderful party ideas to get you in the mood for celebrating.
Who can think of Wimbledon without thinking of strawberries and cream? I certainly can't, so to honour this wonderfully British tennis tradition I have created some cute biscuits. In this, the first part of a special Wimbledon blog series, I wanted to share with you how to make them! They are so easy, and there isn’t even a piping bag in sight.
Baking the biscuits:
You will need:
A good sugar biscuit recipe. I used this great one which is perfect because you don’t need to chill the dough and it keeps the shape well once baked.
220g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 egg, large
425g plain flour
Heart and circle shaped cookie cutters. I used these.
Silicone rolling mat or non-stick surface
Let's get baking...
1. Preheat the oven to 180c (fan)/200c/ Gas Mark 6.
2. Cream together the butter and sugar.
3. Add the egg and the vanilla bean paste and beat well.
4. Add the flour and work together into a dough.
5. Divide the dough into 3 portions to make it easier to manage. Working with one piece at a time, lightly flour the work surface and gently knead the dough until it is smooth and pliable. If it feels very sticky add a scattering of flour and knead to work it in, you can repeat the adding flour until it loses its stickiness.
You don’t have to use all the dough at once, but it doesn’t like to be refrigerated, and will take on a grey tinge, so wrap it well in cling film and freeze right away. Defrost and allow to come to room temp when you need it.
6. Roll it out, making sure that it’s not sticking to the work surface by keeping it lightly floured.
7. Cut several different sized circles and hearts (a). Once the heart shapes are cut, close the gap between the 2 humps to make more of a strawberry shape (b).
8. Transfer your biscuit to a lined baking tray. You can use a palette knife to lift them as it helps keep their shape.
9. Bake them the oven for 8- 10 minutes (depending on the size of biscuits, if you’re making huge ones they will obviously take longer) until the edges are lightly golden brown.
10. Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
11. If you don’t have time to decorate them straight away, they will keep fresh in an airtight container for up to 1 week or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
12. I know everyone is busy so we don’t always have time to bake biscuits from scratch, and although this recipe is super quick and easy, you can always cheat an buy some cookie dough from the chiller cabinet in the supermarket. I tried it out, and it worked out better than I thought it would.
Decorating the biscuits:
You will need:
A) A set of daisy cutters, I used these
B) The same heart and circle shaped cookie cutters as used for your biscuits
C) Gold dragees (like these)
D) Red, green, white and yellow (optional) sugarpaste. I used Massa Ticino and I got it here
E) Small non-stick rolling pin like this one
F) Black edible ink pen like this one (optional)
G) Ball Tool (optional)
H) Water brush pen or a pastry brush and water
I) Silicone rolling mat or non-stick surface
1. Knead and roll out a small piece of red sugarpaste. Use icing sugar to dust the surface and the rolling pin to help prevent sticking. Trex also works really well to stop sticking and doesn't dry the sugarpaste out.
2. Cut out a heart from the sugarpaste using the same size heart shaped cookie cutter as the biscuit you want to decorate.
3. Place the red sugarpaste heart on to the biscuit and smooth with your finger pressing lightly to attach it. If it is not sticking to the surface, try brushing a little water on the biscuit first.
4. Push the two heart humps together, like you did with the biscuits, to fill the gap. Don’t worry about how neat this is as you will cover it with the leaves in a minute!
5. Speaking of leaves, that’s next….Knead and roll a small piece of green sugarpaste.
6. Use one of the daisy cutters (a) to cut the sugarpaste. Then if you have a ball tool, roll it over the leaves to give them a bit of shape (b). Then cut 2 of the leaves off the top (c), brush a bit of water on the back and then attach to the top of the strawberry (d).
7. If you are using the gold dragées for the seeds, then press them into the red sugarpaste. If you find them dropping off, use a bit of water or a small amount of royal icing to stick them on. A tip for picking up the dragées is to rub a tiny bit of Trex onto your finger and rolling your finger over a pile of them, a few will stick to your finger so you can then press them into the sugarpaste!
If you are using the black marker, then simply draw little seeds all over the red area and you're done!
1. I wanted a different green for the tennis balls, so I added a bit of yellow sugarpaste to the green to mix my own colour but you can skip this step. If you do this make sure you knead it together really well to make a smooth, uniform colour.
2. Roll out using icing sugar or Trex as above to stop sticking.
3. Cut out a circle from the sugarpaste using the same size circle cookie cutter as the biscuit you want to decorate.
5. Attached to the biscuit as above.
6. Knead a small amount of white sugarpaste and then roll into a long, thin snake. This will add the detail to the tennis ball.
7. Brush a little water on the back and attach to the cookie in a C shape on either side of the circle.
There you have it, 2 very easy biscuits perfect for a Tennis themed party.