It's that spooky time of year and what better way to celebrate that to make some deliciously evil biscuits! This recipe is a very tasty chocolate biscuit with royal icing, I made ninjas and bats but your limit is your imagination, (and perhaps your cookie cutter collection!) I love making iced biscuits, they look really great, are easier to transport than cakes and make great gifts.

This recipe makes approx 24 cookies and enough icing to ice them all depending on the size of your cutter.
275g Plain Flour
100g Self Raising Flour
75g Cocoa Powder
125g Caster Sugar
125g Salted Butter
125g Golden Syrup
1 Lrg Egg

Royal Icing:
90ml Water
500g Icing Sugar
15g Powdered Egg White (Dr. Oetker do sachets)
Food Colouring Gels (You must use gel for black and quite a lot of it to get the desired depth, they also do not make the icing thinner and too runny.)
Edible glitter for the bat wings.

You will need your chosen cookie cutters, I got the ninja bread men from the internet and bought the bat one at my local sugar craft shop.

Make sure you have very clean hands and nails before you start, if you wear nail polish it might be an idea to remove it and wash your hands before you start.

Preheat your oven to 170C/350F/Gas Mark 4

Sift your flours and cocoa into a large mixing bowl and mix them up well. Then add in your butter, I find that it is best to use the butter straight from the fridge but cut it into cubes. Rub the butter into the flour using your finger tips. This can take a while but should eventually resemble breadcrumbs when the butter is fully rubbed into the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre of your crumbs and add the egg and the syrup - now it gets messy! Dig your hands right in and squish all the ingredients together! When your dough is fully mixed transfer to you very clean work surface and divide into two.

If you are not ready to roll immediately then squash your dough flat, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate, however always allow your dough to come back to room temperature before rolling and cutting. as you can see from the picture I have a non stick mat to roll out my dough but a sheet of grease proof paper will work just as well, in fact trap your dough between two sheets and it will roll out smoother. Roll out your dough to approx 1/4 inch thick and cut out your shapes. Have your baking trays ready, line them with grease proof paper to prevent sticking and make sure your biscuits lay completely flat. Cook for 14-18 minutes keeping your eye on them closely, because they are chocolate it is hard to see when they are browning, keep watch on the edges for burning.

Once out of the oven allow your biscuits to cool completely. In fact I recommend cooking the biscuits one day and icing the next if you have the time. In the meantime keep in an airtight container or biscuit tin.
Now to make the royal icing, plan this carefully, work out your designs in advance. You need to know how many colours you will need. You will need two types of icing, line icing to outline your designs and add details and flooding icing to fill large areas. You start by making a full batch of line icing and add water to make flooding icing.

Put all of your icing ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk with and electric mixer for 5 minutes, start slowly to avoid clouds of icing sugar covering you and your kitchen! After 5 minutes the mixture should be a thick smooth paste that is bright white and about the consistency of toothpaste. This is your line icing mix, this will outline your designs and add the finishing touches. Divide up your mixture into small bowls, one for each different colour you need apart from the black as that is your bulk colour - you can mix this in the main bowl. Cover all of your small bowls with clingfilm to prevent drying out. In your main bowl add enough black food gel to make black icing, this will be a lot! I used pretty much a whole pot to achieve the bats glossy depth. mix the colour in completely.


Spoon into an icing bag or bottle with the line tip. Outline your biscuits, this prevents the flooding icing from spilling over the side of the biscuit.


With the bats make sure to outline the body in the centre as well as the wings, we will be flooding these sections at different points later.


Once you have outlined all of your biscuits add some water a little at a time to your line icing mixture until it has a pouring consistency - think custard/double cream. You may at this point need to add a little more food colouring gel. I find that icing bottles are a lot easier to navigate for this type of icing as you can set them down so it may be worth investing. Carefully flood your biscuit, you need just enough to fill the space up to the line but not so much that it overflows, this can be trick and take a bit of practice but the best tip is go slow, you can always add more but you can't remove the icing once it's on the biscuit!


For the bats fill in just the wing areas then put a little edible glitter in the palm of your hand and gently blow it onto the cookies, repeat until you have your desired glitter effect. This now means your bats will have glittery wings but not bodies. fill in the bodies and allow the biscuits to dry for at least 30 minutes. Maybe make a cup of tea and test one, you know, just to make sure they taste OK.

In your small bowls add your desired colours and pipe your details onto the biscuits, I used blue to add details to the ninjas and red to add some evil eyes to my bats! Once iced return your biscuits to the oven at the lowest setting (Usually about 70C) for 30 minutes, this will dry the icing and make sure the biscuit doesn't end up soggy. 


Once again cool completely and store in an air tight container or biscuit tin, place grease proof paper between layers of biscuits to stop them sticking to each other. Nom nom nom!

Tips and recipe basics taken from the Biscuiteers cookbook.

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