These Hundreds and Thousands Biscuits are a take on a New Zealand childhood classic. Buttery shortbread is topped with a pink royal icing and finished with rainbow nonpareil sprinkles.
- 215g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 80g powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 310 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp water
- Pink gel food colouring, optional
- 2 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 400g confectioner’s sugar, sifted
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla bean paste on high speed until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes. Add the flour, and mix on low until just combined.
- Dump the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap, and press out into a rectangle. Wrap tightly, and refrigerate for at least two hours, or overnight, to allow the butter to firm up.
- Place the wrapped dough on the bench for 10-15 minutes to allow it to soften slightly. Cut four pieces of parchment paper the same size as a half baking sheet (13” x 18”). Unwrap the dough, divide in two, and place each piece between two sheets of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, bang the dough gently to help flatten out, then roll to slightly smaller than the size of the parchment paper. Aim for something that is roughly 9"x13" (23x33cm) dimensions but don't worry about having square edges, this is just a guide to know about how thick to roll it. If you have some wrinkles in the parchment paper, which will then in turn cause wrinkles in your dough, peel the sheet off and smooth it back onto the dough, then continue rolling. If you find it cracking, leave to stand for a few more minutes to soften out.
- Once you have rolled your dough, transfer both pieces, still between the two sheets of paper, to a baking sheet, and place in the freezer to firm up, 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325˚f (170˚c). Line three baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a 2 1/2” fluted cookie cutter, cut circles of dough, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet (you can fit quite a few cookies on a baking sheet, as they do not spread much). If the dough starts to soften, return to the freezer to firm up. Re-roll scraps, freeze briefly, then cut out the rest of the dough.
- Place the cut out cookies in the freezer for 10 minutes. Bake the cookies one sheet at a time for 12-13 minutes, until the shortbread is set and only just beginning to go golden. Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container until you are ready to ice.
- In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the water and food colouring. Add in the egg whites and confectioner’s sugar, and mix well to combine. Use immediately or store in the fridge with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface of the icing.
- Dip each cookie in the royal icing, and then wait 2 minutes before sprinkling with the sprinkles. Place on a wire rack and leave to set at room temperature for at least an hour to allow the icing to set.
Store leftovers in an airtight container.
Keywords: Hundreds and thousands biscuits, sprinkle cookies, shortbread cookies, shortbread sprinkle cookies