Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Rings
I’ve been wanting to try out some homemade Party Rings ever since I saw a recipe for them in Kate Shirazi’s Cookie Magic book. For the uninitiated, the Party Ring is a circular British biscuit (cookie, if you’re American) made by Fox’s that comes in a variety of pastel colour combinations. First introduced in 1983, Party Rings have been a staple of children’s parties ever since and are remembered fondly by most of us that grew up in the 80s (and 90s).
The following is just my basic biscuit recipe – it’s really the fancy icing that makes them Party Rings, in this case, Rock ‘n’ Roll Party Rings, thanks to the lack of a pastel pink and purple colour scheme. You can use whatever colours you like, but I decided on black and red to match my Marshall micro amp, along with a touch of blue because, er, I like blue. Don’t be put off by the fiddly icing as it really is much easier to recreate than it looks, in fact I made these during breaks in Saturday’s two Six Nations rugby matches.
What you’ll need:
For the biscuits:
90g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
For the icing:
300g icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar)
Paste food colouring
What to do:
First, cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl using a fork, then beat in the egg and vanilla extract. In a seperate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt and then add to the original mixture. Stir together until it’s all combined. Once all mixed in, roll the dough into a ball and wrap in clingfilm. If the dough feels a bit too sticky to be rolled out, then add a touch of flour. Leave the dough to chill in the fridge for about an hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C/160 degrees C (fan oven)/gas mark 4. Sprinkle some flour onto a chopping board or kitchen worktop and roll the dough out until it’s about 50mm thick, adding a touch more flour to the board as you go along to prevent it from sticking. Cut out circles of the dough, and then cut a hole in the middle of each one. I used the screwcap from a minature Jack Daniels bottle (yes, really) as it was the only thing I could find that was the right size. If you’re got a steady enough hand then you could cut the holes out freehand with a sharp knife. I also used a sharp knife to add grooves to each biscuit to match those found on the underside of the real thing. It doesn’t really make any difference to the taste, but it did kill a few minutes while I was waiting for the match to start up again.
Place the the cut-out circles (groove-side up) on a lined baking sheet (make sure they’re well spaced, or they’ll fuse together in the oven when the dough expands). I use a non-stick Teflon baking mat as it’s mega-easy to clean and can be used over and over again. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the biscuits are slightly golden around the edges and slightly soft in the middle (they’ll firm up while they cool). Once out of the oven, transfer them to a wire cooling rack and after they’re fully cooled down then you can make a start on the icing. Make sure they’re totally cool, or the icing won’t stick properly.
To make the glace icing, sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and add about four tablespoons of (not quite boiling) water from the kettle and mix together. If the icing is too thick, then add a bit more water (only add a tiny bit at a time). Next, separate the icing into different bowls and colour it. I use Sugarflair paste colouring as it’s much more effective than the liquid stuff. Make sure that you only add a bit at a time as you don’t need much (I use a cocktail stick and mix it in with a fork). Once coloured, you can use a knife to spread the icing on if you like, but I tend to just hold the biscuits upside down and dunk them in the bowl, a method I discovered some time ago by accidentally dropping a biscuit into the bowl. It’s best to ice the underside of the biscuits for a flat finish (i.e, the side that was on the bottom when they were in the oven). Next, take one of the contrasting colours of icing, get a decent dollop on a teaspoon and drizzle it across the biscuits in zig zags. Then, while the icing is still wet, drag a cocktail stick through the stipes you’ve made to create the marbled effect. It’s best to do a few biscuits at a time, so that the icing doesn’t dry in between.
Once you’re done, leave the icing to dry completely and you’re all set for your dazzling your friends with your double-tough take on a children’s party snack. Rock, and indeed, roll.
This entry was posted on 06/02/2011 at 1:06 pm and is filed under Baking, Biscuits, English food, Recipes with tags Baking, Biscuits, Cookies, Food, Party Rings, Recipes, Rock 'n' Roll Party Rings. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.