I had bought some new cookie cutters to use to make a new house present when my brother moved house recently. Ok they did't quite look as great as I'd anticipated thanks to a mix up with the icing. But the actual biscuit recipe (taken from The Great British Book of Baking) is highly recommended.
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
1 medium free range egg
400g plain flour
Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and cream together with the seeds scraped from the vanilla pod until light and creamy.
Gradually add the egg beating well after each addition. Sift the flour into the bowl and mix in slowly until it makes a soft dough (at this point it's easier to get your hands in and shape it into the dough unless you are using a mixer) Divide the mixture into two and wrap each half in cling film and leave in the fridge for about 30mins.
Roll out the dough a portion at a time onto a floured surface. Cut out the shapes you want using cutters and use the trimmings to roll out more dough.
Put the biscuits onto a lined baking tray with some space inbetween each one to allow them to spread.
Chill for 15mins.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees C for 9 to 12 minutes (mine too about 15 but these were quite large biscuits) They will start to turn golden when they are cooked, you may need to turn the tray halfway through to make sure they cook evenly.
Leave to cool on the tray for a minute or two and then transfer to a wire rack and leave until completely cool.
500g icing sugar
1tbsp lemon juice
colouring pastes or food colouring
Mix half the icing sugar with 2tsp of lemon juice and 2tbsp cold water to make a stiff icing that can be piped (this was my mistake: using too much water making the icing too runny!!)
Spoon a small amount into a piping bag and pipe the edge of the biscuit.
Using the remaining half of icing sugar and add the lemon juice and water as above. Also and a few drops of extra water to slacked the icing. Make up colours you require using the paste or colouring in seperate bowls. When the outline has hardened up you can flood the biscuit with the coloured icing using a palette knife or a piping bag.