- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Lightly grease two baking trays and line them with baking parchment.
- Measure the butter and sugar into a bowl and beat together until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and egg yolk then sieve in the flour. Bring together, using your hands, to make a soft dough. Knead the biscuit dough mixture on a lightly floured work surface then wrap in cling film and chill for half an hour. Roll out to a thickness of 5mm, then cut out the biscuits you wish to make.
- Place the biscuit shapes on the prepared baking trays and bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift onto a wire rack to cool.
- Divide royal icing (you can make your own or use Renshaw’s Ready-to-Use Royal Icing) between 10 bowls, keeping each bowl covered with cling film until you are ready to colour and use to stop the icing from going hard. Your icing needs to be of a consistency where you can pipe the outline and then flood the cookie with the same icing. (You can test this by taking a spoonful of icing from the bowl and dribbling a ribbon of it back into the bowl: it should take about 15 seconds for the ribbon to be completely absorbed back into the surface of the icing.)
- Using the chart in the Wilton Colour Right System, mix each bowl of icing to your desired colour. We used the following quantities to make each:
White – 200g icing
Red – 200g icing, 10 drops crimson
Light blue – 100g icing, 1 drop blue
Navy – 100g icing, 8 drops blue
Pink – 150g icing, 2 drops pink and 2 drops brown
Nude – 100g icing, ½ drop brown and ½ drop pink
Black – 200g icing, black drops to desired intensity
Grey – 100g icing, 1 drop black
Brown – 50g icing, 2 drops brown
Blonde – 50g icing, 1 drop yellow and ½ drop brown
- Fill separate piping bags with each colour, snip the very end off each and set aside. Then take a ‘main’ piping bag, place a thin round nozzle into the bottom and cut the end off. To decorate your cookies, insert the required separate piping bags into the main piping bag in turn, swapping these bags over when you want to pipe a different colour.
Dancing ballerina – pipe the pink tutu outline and flood. Leave to set. Pipe the blond hair. Stiffen the nude colour icing so that it is of toothpaste consistency by adding more dry royal icing and pipe the leg outline. Let this set and then use the pink icing (again stiffened) to pipe the ballerina shoes, laces and detail onto the tutu. Draw the eyes onto the ballerina with a black edible pen.
Ballerina – pipe the light blue tutu outline and flood. Pipe the brown hair. Repeat the method for the legs and shoes outlined above.
Small Nutcracker soldiers – pipe the red hat and tunic outlines and flood. Leave to set before piping and flooding the black cap brim, trousers and boots. Stiffen the red icing and pipe the button details, cuffs and shoulder pads. Leave to set. Stiffen the white icing and pipe the eyes and nose onto the face. Stiffen the black icing and pipe the moustache, pupils and trouser/boot line. Using gold edible silk mixed with a little food-grade alcohol, paint over the buttons, cuffs and shoulder pads in gold. Using the edible glue, paint a small diamond on his hat and add sprinkles. Decorate the navy Nutcracker soldier in the same way – just change the colours.
Large Nutcracker soldier – pipe and flood the red hat (including the gold brim) and tunic and leave to set. Pipe and flood the black trousers, boots and belt and leave to set. Stiffen the white icing and pipe the eyes and nose onto his face. Stiffen the black icing and pipe his moustache, pupils and trouser/boot line. Stiffen the red and pipe the details onto his tunic – the shoulder pads, buttons and sleeve outline. When set, paint the edible silks onto the hat, belt buckle and shoulder pads. Using the glue, paint a small diamond of his hat and add sprinkles.
Christmas stars – pipe and flood with white icing and leave to set. Mix up and pipe on a little green icing, then while wet finish with Christmas 100s & 1000s.
Mice – pipe and flood the mouse with grey icing. Leave to almost harden then add a sprinkle for the eye. Once set use the pink stiff icing to pipe the nose, ears, whiskers and tail.
Swans – pipe and flood the body with white icing and leave to almost harden then add a sprinkle for the eye. Leave to set. With a stiffened icing, pipe the wings onto each cookie. Once set, paint these and the beak with gold.
Christmas gifts – pipe and flood the bow and ribbon in the colour of your choice and leave to harden. Pipe the present and when almost hard, add sprinkles. Once all completely set, use stiff icing to pipe the outline of the ribbon. Finish with edible silks, if desired.