I hope everyone has enjoyed the bank holiday and all of the Jubilee celebrations. On Saturday morning I went to see the boats gathering by Tower Bridge before sailing to the starting point of the river procession, and even that early on was struck by how many people were gathering. There were Union flags everywhere, and even several life-size cardboard cutouts of the royal family. Sunday and Monday I spent watching everything on tv, before going to the common near the house to watch the village beacon being lit for the Jubilee.
This has been said way too much over the past four days, but the Queen really is a timeless symbol of this country and it’s at times like this I am so thankful to live in Britain and be to be able to see celebrations such as this.
This weekend I also made hundreds of iced gems. For some reason they popped into my head, and I was distressed to find that they are no longer sold in supermarkets. They remind me so much of my childhood, snacking in the car on the way home from school or being kept occupied at various boring occasions. And obviously I would eat them in the traditional way of biting off the sugary top and eating the biscuit last.
So, not being able to buy them, I decided to make my own. I adapted the recipe from here, adding extra flour as the dough was very sticky, and using brown sugar instead of muscovado.
125g butter, softened
50g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
2 eggs, medium or large, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
360g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
500g royal icing sugar
- Cream the butter and sugars together in a bowl.
- Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- Sieve in the flour and baking powder and mix until a soft dough forms.
- Sprinkle some flour onto a clean worktop and knead until the dough becomes smooth.
- Divide into 2 flat disks, wrap in cling film and refrigerate for about 30mins.
- Remove from the fridge and using a rolling pin roll out the dough between two sheets of cling film. (the dough should be about 5mm thick).
- Use a 3cm round cutter to cut out the iced gems and place onto a lined baking sheet. You can place them quite close together as they will not spread.
- Preheat the oven to 170c (fan) and place the baking sheets into the fridge for another 20 minutes.
- Remove from the fridge and bake for 12-15mins, until golden brown.
- Make the royal icing according to instructions on the packet, ensuring that the consistency is quite stiff so that it will hold its shape once piped.
- Mix in the colouring of your choice before placing into a piping bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle.
- Pipe each biscuit base with the icing and leave to dry completely (this will take a few hours).