IngredientsFor the cookies:
- 125g (4oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 150g (5oz) caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Few drops of vanilla
- 1 medium egg
- 250g (8oz) plain flour
- Paste food colourings in assorted colours
- 1kg packet white sugarpaste
- 1/2-1 x 500g packet royal icing sugar
- Edible silver balls
- Red candy-coated chocolates, eg, Smarties
- Cookie cutter
- Disposable piping bags
- No. 2 writing piping tube
- No. 3 writing piping tube
When the sugarpaste isn't being used, wrap it up well in plastic bags. Keep the bowls of royal icing covered with a damp cloth
- Set the oven to 160°C/320°F/Gas Mark 3.
- Cream together the butter, sugar, salt and vanilla extract until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and then the flour until the mixture binds together to form a dough. If the dough is very soft, wrap it in a plastic bag and chill it until it’s firm enough to roll out. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to about 3-4mm (nearly 1⁄4in) thick and use cutters to cut out shapes, re-rolling trimmings as necessary until all the dough is used.
- Place the cut-out shapes on the lined baking sheets. If there is time, chill the shapes for 10-15 minutes before baking. Bake the biscuits in the centre of the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cookies start to turn golden at the edges. Remove the baking sheets from the oven.
- Leave the cookies to cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make up the royal icing sugar, according to the packet instructions, to give a piping consistency. Colour some of it to match the sugarpaste.
- Roll sugarpaste out to about 3-4mm (nearly 1/4in) thick and use the base of the cutter to cut out the shape for the case. If the cookies are still hot, place the sugarpaste on to them directly and the heat will stick them in place. If they're cold, smear a very small amount of the same colour royal icing on to the cookie and place the sugarpaste on top before the icing sets.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with the No.2 piping tube with the matching colour royal icing and pipe parallel lines on to the sugarpaste, to make the cake cases look more realistic.
- Roll out some white sugarpaste and use the top of the cutter to cut out shapes for the "icing" on the cakes, cut curved edges to the base of the shapes and stick them on to the top of the cookies.
- Fill a piping bag fitted with the No.3 piping tube with white royal icing and pipe swirls over the top of the white sugarpaste. While the icing is still soft, stick silver balls randomly over the top.
- Stick a red sweet on to the top of each cupcake to look like a cherry.