Baking

Ingredients
  • 200 g (7 oz) chilled unsalted butter, diced, plus extra for greasing
  • 275 g (9 oz) plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
  • 100 g (3½ oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 200g (7oz) royal icing sugar
  • a few drops each of orange and yellow liquid or paste food colourings
  • edible gold food colouring
Directions

Grease 2 baking sheets. Put the flour and butter in a food processor and blend until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, ground ginger, egg yolks and vanilla bean paste and blend to make a smooth dough. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out shooting star-shaped cookies using a cookie cutter. Place on the baking sheets, spacing them slightly apart, and reroll the trimmings to make 24 in total. Bake in a preheated oven, 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4, for 15 minutes or until the dough has risen slightly and is beginning to darken. Using a spatula, transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Put the royal icing sugar in a bowl and beat in enough cold water, about 5 teaspoons, to make a thick but smooth paste. Divide the royal icing between 2 bowls and colour 1 orange and 1 yellow. Place in 2 separate piping bags fitted with fine nozzles (or use paper piping bags and snip off the tips). Pipe star-shaped outlines and broken lines of piping on the tails of the stars. Leave in a cool place to set for about 30 minutes. Use the gold food colouring to paint highlights over the cookies.

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