Put the butter, sugar and orange zest in a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer or wooden spoon until creamy. Beat in the egg yolk followed by the almonds. Sift the flour, pinch of salt, baking powder and cinnamon into the bowl and add the orange juice. Work the ingredients together, using a wooden spoon at first, then your hands, to make a fairly firm dough. Or, put the butter sugar and zest into the bowl of a food processor and whizz until thoroughly combined, then work in the egg yolk, followed by the almonds. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and orange juice and whizz until the mixture just comes together.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for about 15 minutes until firm enough to roll out. (The dough can be kept, tightly wrapped, in the fridge for up to 5 days; if it gets very hard, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes or so before rolling out).
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured worktop to the thickness of a pound coin and stamp out shapes with some lightly floured cutters. Arrange the shapes, slightly apart, on 2 lined baking sheets and chill for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to gas 4, 180°C, fan 160°C.
Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and leave to firm up for 5 minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the icing, mix the icing sugar with a few drops of lemon juice and a little water until thick and smooth. Put half the icing into a large bowl, then cover and set aside for later – this will be your flooding icing. Divide the remaining icing between 3 small bowls (reserving a little icing in a fourth bowl to make the pink cherries, if making). Keep the bowls covered while you work, to prevent the icing from drying out.
Add a couple of drops of food colouring to the first bowl and mix thoroughly until you reach your desired shade. The icing should hold its shape and be thick enough for piping. If it is too thick add water a few drops at a time; if it is too runny simply add more icing sugar a teaspoon at a time.
Spoon the icing into a piping bag fitted with a number 2 tube and then, keeping the pressure consistent, squeeze the bag to start the icing flow. Slowly trace the outline of the biscuit with the piped icing, making sure there are no gaps between the lines. You can use one or more colours to outline the biscuits, depending on how much detail you want to add. Repeat with your next outline colour, then leave to dry.
Meanwhile, make your flooding icing. Divide the remaining icing between 3 small bowls and add a little water until it reaches a pourable consistency. Add some food colouring, if you like. Fill a clean piping bag (without a piping tube) with your first colour and gently squeeze the bag until the space is filled with icing. Use the edge of the bag to guide the icing into the outline edge. Repeat with a second and third colour (if using). Before the first flooding icing is set, add a pattern such as polka dots and hearts, in a contrasting colour. Allow the biscuits to dry completely before serving. Store in an airtight container and eat within 1 week.
Recipe taken from The Great British Bake Off – How To Turn Everyday Bakes into Showstoppers, by Linda Collister (Ebury Press). Click here for more info.