After an amazing 3 weeks in KL that I spent shopping, eating and getting pampered once my brother's wedding was over, I was so ready to get back in the kitchen and start baking. So much so that on my last night in KL I actually dreamt about baking. And what did I dream about? Fancy Gem Biscuits. You may or may not have had these before, but here's a picture of them. Little biscuits topped with a sploge of brightly coloured royal icing. I have so many childhood memories of eating bags of these little sweet cookies, though inevitably you end up giving up on eating the biscuit part and just bite off the icing. I still see them sold at Cookie Man stores and I'm always tempted to buy a bag even though I know it's just like eating a bag of sugar.
Fancy Gems Mini Choux Pastries!
Cupcake Croquembouche. I just piped really tiny rounds of batter and reduced the baking time and it worked perfectly. So if you wanna try your own fancy gems at home, this is a great simple recipe and you don't end up with dry, powdery biscuits that you don't want to eat. I can't stop popping these little babies in my mouth by the handful!
Fancy Gem Mini Choux Pastries (NOT a recipe for the Fancy Gem Biscuits)
(adapted from this recipe, makes approximately 100 mini choux)
88 ml water
3 tbsp (43 g) unsalted butter
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup (63 g) all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
For egg wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt
For Royal Icing: (you may need to make several batches of this, I made 2)
1 egg whites
2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.
Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 minute to cool slightly. Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny. As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes. It is at this point that you will add in the next egg and stir until combined.
To prepare the royal icing, beat eggwhite in a clean mixing bowl until it reaches soft peaks. Add cream of tartar and then gradually sift icing sugar into egg whites. Beat until mixture is shiny and fluffy and just holds its shape. Add any desired food colouring at this point, then place in piping bags (I recommend disposable ones for this part), and pipe rosettes on the top of the mini choux pastries. Leave on a rack to set for about half an hour. Can be stored in an airtight box overnight.