In the first of a new weekly series of recipes for the Guardian, the Bake Off star presents biscuits that children will love
These bear biscuits are very simple to make and kids will love the cute factor. You can also play about with the fillings and make different-coloured bears.
Prep time: 15 mins (shortbread), 10 mins (icing), 10 mins (ganache, if making)
Bake time: 10-15 mins
Plus decorating time
For the shortbread
200g salted butter
85g caster sugar
1 orange rind
1 ¼ tsp ground cardamom (ground from cardamom seeds from pod for the best flavour)
270g plain flour
For the ganache (or you can use your favourite chocolate spread)
200g dark chocolate
150g double cream
Icing sugar (to taste)
For the royal icing
110g icing sugar20g egg white
Gel food dye: black, blue
Plus chocolate buttons
Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Cream together the butter and the sugar. Add the orange rind and ground cardamom and mix to combine. Add the plain flour and use your hands to mix into a ball.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface. Stamp out about 24 round biscuits and arrange on two baking trays lined with greaseproof paper. On half of the biscuits, use a smaller circular cutter to stamp out and remove a circle of dough at the bottom of each biscuit. Bake the biscuits for 10 to 15 minutes, or until just starting to colour at the edges.
While the biscuits are baking, prepare the ganache (if using). Chop up the chocolate into small, even-sized pieces and place in a bowl. Heat the double cream until just starting to bubble at the edges, then immediately pour over the chocolate. Leave for two mins, then stir until all the chocolate has melted. (If the chocolate hasn’t melted, then return to a low heat and stir until it has.) Add icing sugar to taste and mix in using an electric whisk. Set aside to cool to a spreadable consistency (you can cover the ganache and put in the fridge to help speed this up).
When the biscuits have finished baking, leave them on the baking tray for five minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
Make the royal icing. Use an electric whisk to combine the icing sugar and egg white until smooth, adjusting the amount of icing sugar to get a pipable consistency. Separate into three bowls and colour as follows: white, blue, black. Transfer to piping bags and use to pipe the details of the bear (see picture). Sandwich the biscuits together with chocolate ganache and stick in chocolate buttons for the ears. Pipe white icing on the ears.