Recipe: Easy Lemon Biscuits

Yes, I’m still baking. I think it’s part a comfort thing, and part that at my parents house, the glass cake dome and the elegant, two tied glass cookie jar on the counter must have something in it at all times. Today, I’m making lemon biscuits. A simple soft, crumbly English-style biscuit topped with a generous layer of lemon flavoured icing and a sprinkle of lemon zest for a little bit of decoration. They’re so easy to make, a mash up of my Easy Rosewater Biscuits and the Vegan Biscuits, Three Ways I made last year for BBC Food.

Also, can I please take a moment to wax lyrical about my hand held microplane, which I used to zest the lemon for these biscuits? I know I’m not usually one to go on and on about kitchen equipment, but I honestly don’t know how I managed last year before I got one. Working on the photoshoot for One Pan Pescatarian (ad) – behind the scenes post coming soon! – my amazing kitchen assistant and food stylist Octavia had a really fine microplane in her knife roll that she used to zest all the citrus, to grate ginger instead of messing around on a box grater, and to mince garlic cloves instead of using a hard to clean crusher. Though I wrote the book without one I was entranced, and it made making so many of my recipes so much quicker and easier. She told me it is one of the few items she takes with her to shoots she has had several of, and always, always replaces once it has finally gone blunt. I ordered one with Christmas money, and I reach for it every single day for all of the above. Now at my parents house I’ve found they’ve recently acquired one too – they do so much Chinese cooking that it has also found a home as a garlic and ginger mincing superstar.

Seriously, treat yourself to one. I have this pro version (ad), and my parents have this one with easier to hold plastic edging, both which are excellent. 

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Easy Lemon Biscuits

  • Author: Rachel Phipps
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Makes 16 1x
  • Category: Baking
  • Cuisine: British

Description

A simple, English-style biscuit infused with lemon and topped with a zingy lemon icing.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Lemon Biscuits

  • 50g (1.5 oz) golden caster sugar (raw granulated sugar)
  • 100g (3.5 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 150g (5 oz) plain (all purpose) flour
  • 25g (1 oz) cornflour (cornstarch)

For the Lemon Icing

  • 140g (5 oz) royal icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • lemon zest (optional, for decoration)

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees (350 fahrenheit) and line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.
  2. Beat together the sugar and butter until smooth. Beat in the lemon zest, followed by the fine sea salt and the egg yolk.
  3. Stir in the flour and the cornflour until combined. Using your hands, gently bring the dough together into a smooth ball.
  4. Using a rolling pin on a clean, lightly floured surface roll the dough out to roughly 1/2 cm thick. Using your favourite cookie cutter cut out the biscuits and transfer them to the baking sheet, kneading the scraps and rolling them out again each time until you can’t get any more shapes out.
  5. Bake the biscuits for 8-10 minutes until set and just golden. Remove from the oven and leave the biscuits on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool.
  6. Meanwhile, make the icing by beating together the royal icing sugar and the lemon juice – the mixture should be quite thick.
  7. To decorate square or geometric shaped biscuits: transfer the icing to a disposable piping bag (I buy these ones #ad) and snip the very smallest hole at the bottom. Edge each biscuit with a thin line of icing – this will set and allow you to get nice, tidy biscuits without the icing running! Fill each biscuit in with the remaining icing, sprinkling each with a little lemon zest to decorate. Set the biscuits aside to set.
  8. To decorate round biscuits: thin the icing with a little more lemon juice until you can spread it over the top of each biscuit with the back of a spoon. Decorate each biscuit with a little sprinkle of lemon zest and leave to set.

Notes

I use royal icing sugar so it sets solid so the biscuits can be stored in a tin. Regular icing sugar is okay to use if that is what you’ve got.

I stop icing half way to decorate the biscuits I’ve already done as I find the lemon zest won’t stick to the icing if it has already dried too much.

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