Simple ginger & lemon iced biscuits

Simply crisp ginger shortbreads topped with lemon royal icing!

A few dried raspberry pieces on the icing add colour and further tangy flavour, but small pieces of stem ginger or candied lemon peel work wonderfully.

The mixture for the biscuits themselves take moments to make up. They can be baked in advance and stored in an airtight container until you want to ice them. The decoration also takes moments, plus time for the icing to set hard.

Royal icing

You can make a royal icing from scratch (it is just icing sugar and egg white) or buy good quality royal icing powder, into which you just add lemon juice and either beat or whisk for about 5 minutes.

Great for children to decorate

Biscuits are great for children to ice and decorate: chocolate chips, sweets, marshmallows, coloured sprinkles…..let them go to town and have fun!!

Rustic or elegant?

I like a textured finish to the icing here, which is also by far the quickest! Just swirl across the top with a knife……

You can make these rustic biscuits more elegant with the decoration using a simple technique called flooding:

  • make the icing runnier but not too liquid, adding more water or lemon juice. Colour it or some of it if you want to go for a nice design finish
  • pipe a border of the icing around the edge of the biscuits, or in any shape, using a fine nozzle
  • allow the icing time to harden
  • spoon a little icing in the centre of the piped shape and gentle shake and move the biscuit until the icing fills the shape
  • pipe any shapes with coloured icing on top
  • leave to harden

I will demonstrate this simple technique in a later post.

Recipe: simple ginger & lemon iced biscuits – makes 16

Ginger biscuits – makes 16

  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 120g soft brown sugar
  • 2 level teaspoons of ground ginger
  • 1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • finely grated zest of a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup or honey
  • 1 medium egg, beaten

Easy royal icing

  • about 250g royal icing sugar
  • juice of 1 large lemon, plus enough water to make up to 40g liquid

To finish:

  • anything you fancy such as dried raspberries, chocolate pieces, sweets……

Make the biscuits:

(1) Sieve the flour and bicarbonate of soda into a medium bowl.

(2) Mix in the sugar, butter, lemon, syrup and most of the egg, until you get a firm dough. Add more egg if needed, but you don’t want the dough to be sticky.

(3) Split the dough into 16 pieces and roll into a ball: it really does not need to be smooth! Flatten gently.

(4) Place well apart baking sheets lined with non-stick greaseproof or a silicon sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 160C (fan) until the biscuits have flattened, and have random cracks over the surface. Remove from oven and leave on the tray for about 5 minutes.

(5) Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely: they will firm up as they cool.

Make the royal icing:

(6) Put the icing sugar in a medium bowl and add most of the lemon juice/water, stirring to incorporate fully and adding more if needed: it needs to be thick, with no bits of icing sugar left.

(7) Whisk or beat well for about 5 minutes until you get a soft and smooth icing: think thick marshmallow!


(8) Spoon or pipe over the cooled biscuits, swirling or smoothing, depending on what the mood takes you! If you want the icing perfectly smooth, run a knife that has been dipped in water over the surface.

(9) Leave the icing to set firm (this can take several hours). Place in an airtight container.

Author: Philip

Finalist on Britain’s Best Home Cook (BBC Television 2018). Published recipe writer with a love of growing fruit & veg, cooking, teaching and eating good food.

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