Biscuits for Decorating – Non Spreading, No Chilling Required!

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This is a great biscuit recipe, one that doesn’t need chilling and barely spreads.

Perfect to make biscuits for decorating!


220g butter, softened

200g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla bean paste

1 egg, large

425g plain flour


Makes approx 30 biscuits.


Super easy too!  Preheat the oven to 180c (fan)/200c/ Gas Mark 6.

Cream together the butter and sugar.

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Add the egg and the vanilla bean paste and beat well.

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Add the flour and work together into a dough.

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Divide into 3 portions.  Working with one at a time lightly flour the worksurface and gently knead the dough until it is smooth and pliable.  If it feels very sticky add a scattering of flour and knead to work it in, you can repeat the adding flour until it just loses it’s stickiness.

Roll it out, making sure that it’s not sticking to the worksurface by keeping it very lightly floured.

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Cut out your biscuits with your chosen cutter and transfer to a lined baking tray.

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Repeat with the remaining portions of biscuit dough.

You don’t have to use it all at once but this dough doesn’t like it much in the fridge and will soon take on a grey tinge.  Instead wrap it well in clingfilm and freeze right away. Defrost and allow to come to room temp as and when you need it.

Bake in the oven for 8- 10 minutes (depending on the size of biscuits, if you’re making huge ones they will obviously take longer) until the edges are lightly golden brown.

jan projects 095They haven’t magically changed shape in the oven – photography failure on the round biscuits!


Allow to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

In an airtight container they will stay fresh for upto 1 week or can be frozen for upto 3 months once baked.

Remember when you’re making round biscuits to stop them pulling out of shape as you transfer from the worksurface to the tray to peel away the dough around the cut out shape and lift using a palette knife.  If you pick them up with your fingers then the side you grasp hold of to lift it will generally pull giving your circle more of an oval.

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Ruth Clemens, Baker Extraordinaire

Meet me down the aisles of The Pink Whisk Shop – for all sorts of cake decorating and baking delights!

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51 Responses to Biscuits for Decorating – Non Spreading, No Chilling Required!

  1. Pingback: Love Heart Biscuits | Baking, Recipes and Tutorials - The Pink Whisk

  2. Liz Day says:

    Hi Ruth,

    Do you use salted or unsalted butter for this recipe?


  3. Ah the biscuit that doesn’t spread. A staple for every home…

  4. Laura Birkin says:

    I haven’t got any vanilla bean paste, could I use vanilla extract? x

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  6. Linley Collins says:

    Thanks for this great recipe 🙂
    They’re yummy, easy to make and they look good…what more could we ask for? I love the fact the dough needs no chilling and you can cram them up nice and close on the baking sheet. X

  7. Durre says:

    If i wanted to half the recipe do i still use one egg?
    Or if i just went with the full amount, can half of the dough be chilled or frozen to use another time?

  8. traceyh says:

    oh wow the mothers day biscuits are so beautiful ruth, thank you once again for another fab idea your a star!
    tracey xx

  9. gill crowley says:

    can these be baked and then frozen rather than freezing the dough?

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  11. gill crowley says:

    Once cooked, how do I store them in the freezer?

  12. gill crowley says:

    Brilliant recipe and perfect cookies. I have made 150 for a wedding and frozen them. I need to put sugarpaste on them so when can I defrost and decorate? Would Thursday be too early? I want them to still be fresh and crisp on saturday.

    • Thursday would be fine – just make sure the biscuits are fully baked right through – if in doubt line them up on their sides in a big roasting type tin and put them in the oven at 100c for 30 mins to an hour – this zaps off any extra moisture and will keep them crisp for you X

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  14. Catherine says:

    This recipe works brilliantly with plunger style cutters, I’m very pleased with the results!
    I have Christmas shaped ones so fancied making some spiced / ginger ones. Any suggestions of how much I’d need to add?
    I always wondered about substituting some of the flour for cocoa or ground almonds but again, unsure of quantities…
    Thanks for the recipe though, it’s great!

  15. Catherine says:

    Oh that’s great, thank you! I really love this recipe as it is but so,e festive spice will be even scrummier!

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  17. Emma says:

    Ive been trying different recipies, im hoping this works, im just about to give up. All your other recipies are fabulous xx

  18. Julie says:

    Hi Ruth, These look great. Just wondering how long they last once decorated? Will be wrapping them in cellophane bags.

  19. Just made 60 of these biiccys for a Messy Church session where they are going to be turned into sheep. Spot on instructions and timings, and they are delish. Thanks so much.

  20. Jesamine says:

    I just tried this recipe for the first time, it was perfect! I made some welsh dragon shaped cookies, so as you can imagine, quite intricate. But they held their shape perfectly, very impressed 🙂

  21. Helen says:

    a really good non spreading recipe!! thanks!

  22. Pingback: Festive biscuits -

  23. Maddie Wheatcroft says:

    Hi, just wondering, would I be able to stick them in a blast chiller for 5-10 minutes if I wanted to decorate them quite soon after they came out of the oven? Or would they turn funny?

  24. Jane says:

    Just a query about the vanilla paste. There are various brands available at various prices. Is any particular ulnar brand better than any other or are they all much the same?

  25. Julie says:

    WOW WOW WOW!! Without doubt the best biscuit / cookie recipe I’ve ever used. I was sceptical that such a soft dough wouldn’t spread as I’m used to having to chill the dough after making it and again after rolling it. I used the recipe to cut out quite an intricate cookie and it kept it’s shape perfectly, tasted lovely and was nice and crisp. THANK YOU

  26. Sally says:

    Perfect!!! No spread whatsoever. And lovely taste too x

  27. Pingback: Photo Booth Biscuits for Comic Relief | Baking, Recipes and Tutorials - The Pink Whisk

  28. Hooray!! non-spreading/non-chilling… I’m in!!! Xx thankyou Ruth…fabulous as ever

  29. jossiehub says:

    Really great recipe, saved my daughter’s baking project for school! She rolled out dough thinly and laid thinly sliced strawberries on top. She then rolled it up (swiss roll style) and sliced thinly. They still did not spread or need the dough to be chilled – thanks!

  30. Chantelle says:

    I love this recipe! It’s so easy and the biscuits taste great. I’m just wondering if I can bake and decorate them and then freeze them? Would they be ok when they defrost or will they go soggy and ruin the icing?

    • Hi! The biscuits can be froze, either as dough or baked biscuits but I wouldn’t freeze them once decorated, colours can bleed and icing can go soggy and they end up ruined so I’d stick to decorating them just as you need them xx

  31. Cheryl says:

    Just afew questions is this meet to be a soft dough? Mine wasn’t sticky but was quite soft? How do you transfer them onto sheet when you cut them with them being soft it was hard to get them on the cookie sheet, was making cookies in the shape of kitchenaid mixers 🙂 and finally how long do you beat the dough I between each step thank you

    • Its a medium dough – not soft but not too firm either. You should be able to lift them with a palette knife to transfer to the baking sheet without them pulling out of shape – if they do then the dough needs a little more flour to firm it up. I beat the dough well on the first stages but only just enough to mix in the flour at that point otherwise the dough can become a little tough. Hope that helps! x

  32. Lynn says:

    Thanks so much for the recipe, this is going to be a life saver…..
    Just one query, would they hold the shape of stamped lettering do you think? I have bought a set of letter stamps so I can write a message on cookies and need to find a recipe which will hold the imprint.

  33. Davina says:

    This recipe is perfect! Just what I needed for a first time biscuit , no spreading crisp light and quick – fantastic

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