Biscuit Gun Tutorial (aka how not to make shortbread)

One of the things I love most about being back home is my kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I love going out to eat, and know I am totally spoilt with it through work – in Hong Kong we went to one of the best restaurants and the highest bar in the world – but being back with my pots and pans, on a quiet evening (Rob is out gigging), is just lovely.

To add to my excitement, I wanted to try out my new biscuit gun:

It was another great free gift from my cake decorating magazine, and I was itching to try it out! It came with loads of different biscuit discs, not sure about the icing nozzles though – think I’ll stick with a piping bag!

Tomorrow I am heading to a local music festival with some friends, to watch Rob’s band play. Hopefully the sun will shine and we plan to have a great big picnic – complete with yummy baked goods! As it will be quite warm I didn’t want to make cupcakes, they’d get all squished and melted. Instead biscuits are on the menu today – and after a good search I found a lovely sounding whipped shortbread recipe that was nice and easy, and would be a good consistency to go through my biscuit gun. After some conversion to metric (this website is pretty good), I decided to make 1/2 of the recipe as I didn’t want to end up with hundreds of biscuits again!

I’m not sure if I was searching for the wrong thing – biscuit gun tutorial, cookie press tutorial… but youtube was not throwing up anything of use. In fact half the time it would recommend video game tutorials involving guns!
In the end I found a very sweet tutorial here. If you’re not following the recipe, fast forward to 4:00 to see some good cookie gun tips.

The process is actually pretty simple – fill the gun up, press the dough in well so there are no air bubbles, and, crucially, flatten off the end so it is just level with the disc:

Then, place the gun flat on your greaseproof paper/tray. I wasn’t keen on the tutorials suggestion to do them straight onto the tray (surely they’d stick), so taped the paper down to give a firm surface to press on.

You’ll note the gun has teeth running up its spine – so one, sharp press, one tooth goes through and an equal amount of dough comes out each time.
Keep it pressed firmly to the sheet whilst you squeeze the trigger, then relatively quickly, and straight, pull upwards and away.

It’s definitely worth practicing on a plate until you’ve got the hang of it, and you can easily scrape the mix off the plate and back into the bowl to reuse.

Like a child at Christmas, I wanted to use all the discs straight away to see what different shapes they’d make. I piped a few of each onto the baking sheets…

…then baked them for 10 minutes (our oven is fan-assisted so generally quicker than most recipes recommend).

They looked beautiful! Now I could understand how bakeries made row after row of perfectly shaped cookie, it is wonderfully simple.

But then… disaster struck!!

I tried to pick one of the biscuits up, and it just crumbled in my fingers…

I tried again with a spatula, but it was the same sad story 😦 The only way I can describe it was like picking trying to pick up sand!

There literally was nothing I could do. I toyed with the idea of sandwiching them together with some butter icing, but quickly realised there was no way they’d even hold up for this.

What could have gone wrong? I’d measured all the ingredients carefully (for once!), they looked good, tasted good, but just didn’t hold together at all.
I thought maybe the problem was them being too thin – so used some of the remaining mixture to try both some thick, round balls, and a shallow tray to be cut into slices. Both resulted in the same sand-like, crumbly mess.

So – the result of my evenings work – a bowl full of crumbs.

I toyed with the idea of making them into cake pops – the rich, buttery-ness would be great mixed with some creamy icing.

But no, I was too disappointed. And grumpy. And generally p***ed off. So into the bin it went.

Leaving me with an empty biscuit tin for tomorrow, and a doubtless hungry Rob due home in a couple of hours. Back to the mixing bowl for me… something different this time though!

I am very welcome to suggestion on shortbread – it’s one of my favourite biscuits to eat so I’d definitely like to conquer making them. After a good scout round online I’m none the wiser about why tonight was such a failure, so please HELP!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. mydearbakes says:

    Try again! I’m sure you can do it the next round! =)


    1. bakearama says:

      Thanks! Will definitely try again but probably a different shortbread recipe. Just so frustrating not to know why it went wrong, and such a waste of ingredients!!


  2. Peter Butcher says:

    I don’t know if this is the recipe you had … it is good .
    Cookie Recipe (makes 72 cookies) If you want less simply half the ingredients.
    250g butter or margarine
    225g granulated sugar
    1 egg
    2 tablespoons milk
    1 teaspoon vanilla essence
    1/2 teapsoon almond extract (optional)
    600g plain flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder

    Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/ Gas mark 6
    Thoughly cream butter and sugar together.
    Add egg, milk vanilla and almond extract and beat well.
    Stir together flour and baking powder, gradually add to creamed mixture and mix to make a smooth dough. If you believe your dough feels a little too stiff, add a teapsoon more milk. Do not chill your dough.
    Place dough into cookie press and press cookies onto ungreased cookie baking sheet.
    Bake at 200 degress C or gas mark 6 for 6-8 minutes.
    Remove cookies from the sheet, and cool on a rack.

    Happy cake and cookie decorating from the Cake Decorating team


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