Hello Kitty Butter Biscuits

About a month ago I stumbled across this amazing Hello Kitty dessert display, and immediately wanted to make something Hello-Kitty-esque of my own!

A quick search on eBay soon found me some super-cute cookie cutters. The down-side? They were coming from Hong Kong and took about a month to arrive. The up-side? They cost the bargainous total of £1.11, for both cutters, including postage! Search for ‘Hello Kitty Cookie Cutters’ and you’ll soon find them. There are some more expensive sugarcraft ones but I swear these are identical – you just need to be patient with the postman.

I’d searched for recipes to use up the yolks left from last week’s giant pavlova – and these french butter biscuits worked perfectly. I added the juice and rind of a lemon but it totally wasn’t necessary; the rich, buttery flavour was great on its own.

To keep the kitties so perfectly in shape, I pressed the cutter into the dough, then used a spatula to lift it onto the baking tray.

With the outside cutter still in place, I put in the imprint plunger and firmly pressed down (but not too firmly that the dough comes out the bottom of the cutter!):

To get the biscuit free of the cutter, still perfectly shaped and with imprinted-face intact, I carefully lifted up the outside cutter, and used the plunger to gently push the biscuit out onto the tray:

Repeated several times over, and I soon had a tray fully of kitties to bake!

They went into the oven for 12 minutes altogether; as we have a fan oven I rotated them in the last few minutes, so they’d get browned on all sides.

Then it was onto the decorating! First I did all the eyes and whiskers with some black royal icing.

For the rest of the details – well, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Hello Kitty very much likes to co-ordinate her outfits! So I picked pairs of complimentary colours to adorn the bows, nose and clothes ;o)

Now seems a good time to mention that I use normal food bags for a lot of my fine piping details (I have a bigger set with nozzles for cupcake frosting, etc). But for tasks like this, when you are using a lot of different colours, and piping fine lines, these are perfect!
I use these ones from Tesco as they don’t have any seam down the side – you can see they have a perfectly uninterrupted corner – so you can snip off as much as you want to get the right thickness, and pipe steadily onto your biscuits.
They’re only about £1.50 for a pack of 60 – much cheaper than normal piping bags – so I can simply thrown them away when I’m finished.

Back to the biscuits – I decorate the kitties in pink and purple, orange and yellow, and blue and green (all in royal icing, so it would set nice and hard, and not smudge during storage or transportation):

Each was adorned with a different sugar sprinkle (from my rather vast collection!) From hundreds and thousands on the bows…

…and collars…

… to sugar stars…

… and even personalised with Hello Kitty initials!:

I still can’t decide my favourite!

These were SO much fun to make, and went down a storm at home, work, and with friends. Reactions ranged from Rob: “you do know I work on a building site” to a friends little girl who proclaimed it was like her birthday being given one of the biscuits! Not only are they super cute but they were also super easy – minimal piping skills and plenty of sugar sprinkles required 🙂

A Case of The Munchies – Chocolate & Vanilla Kisses

Ok, hands up, last night I may have had a drink or two. But it was a beautiful sunny day and I spent the with a handful of friends evening watching Rob’s band play a gig at a local pub.

I got home a good hour or two before Rob – we left a little before the end, plus he had to pack up, load the van, drive back etc.

When I got in the drink had obviously gone to my head and I had a massive craving for something sweet – nothing but chocolate would suffice. But, horror of horror, the house was a chocolate free zone! (To be fair it is almost all the time, we don’t keep junk food in as I’d just eat it. All. In one go.)

Not letting this stop me, I grabbed my Be-r0 cookbook and found a recipe I’d loved as a child – coffee kisses. They’re like a soft biscuit/cake, sandwiched into pairs with sticky buttercream. As I decorated them I began to think how much they looked like whoopie pies – not sure if those are a US version of the same thing? Will investigate at some point, in the mean time I’m sticking with the good old British version I’ve known for 20 years!

Being nearly midnight coffee was not going to go down great, so I substituted in a couple of spoonfuls of rich cocoa instead.

The thing I love about the Be-ro recipes is that they’re so quick and simple to make. In a matter of minutes my mix was balled up and ready to bake:

As they’re quite little they cool very quickly, and, slowly sobering up (a couple of the biscuits didn’t make it as far as the icing stage…), paired them into equal sizes.

The filling was a sticky buttercream, with an extra splash of vanilla to give a really sweet contrast to the rich chocolate. At the last minute I decided to add some sugary pink colouring for a pretty touch.

A generous blob of icing between each pair, gently squeezed together, and my kisses were complete!

I can happily say that, not only were my cravings satisfied, but super quickly! From packets to plate it was less than an hour until I was happily munching away – a quick couple of minutes chilling in the freezer made them cool enough to ice very quickly.

And the best bit? The pink matched beautifully with the flowers that Rob had bought me earlier that day. All set off by the lovely evening sun earlier tonight (my head being much clearer today!)

But… that’s not the end of the story! Earlier today I’d been to the post office to pick up a parcel of the latest issues of My Cake Decorating magazine. Like a child at Christmas I’d opened the box straight away, and each little packet, the contents of which were strewn across our living room floor – a new cake caddy, cookie cutters, jubilee flags…
As I started to upload my photos for the post, these cute little stencils caught my eye:

The idea is to ice over them onto rolled out fondant, cut out your shape, and then top cakes, biscuits, etc.

In sticking with the theme of my kisses (are they biscuits, are they cakes… I’m not quite sure what else to call them!) I mixed up some chocolate royal icing. Royal icing sugar is best for this job as it’s quite stiff, so will hold the shape of the pattern and not run, like regular icing has a tendency to do.

I tested it out on a our butchers block board; pressing the stencil down flat, applying a small amount of icing to the bottom of a cake smoother, then running it firmly over the stencil, going over in the same direction (otherwise it’ll get under the stencil) until the pattern is completely filled.

The results are really impressive – look out for more soon!

For today I coloured some fondant in the same pink colour as the buttercream filling, and chose small bits of the stencil design to embellish them with. Because I didn’t want the full stencil pattern, I used a small paintbrush to gently fill in the bits that I required.

Using some small circle cutters, I trimmed round the designs, used a little of the royal icing to stick them to the top of the kisses, and finally painted with a little iridescent glitter:

So there we go – my little hangover cure actually turned into something quite pretty, and an excuse to try something new! Late evening baking is definitely the way forward now the weather’s hotting up – who knows what will be next… 🙂