I love citrus, and particularly, I love marmalade! Despite this, I make so much that I’m constantly looking for ways of using it up, preferably by the jar rather than a tablespoon here and there. As it contains high levels of both sugar and moisture, it’s a great addition to cakes, adding a lovely sticky texture as well as that citrus flavour.

I was thrilled to find this recipe, as using a lot of marmalade in biscuits is less common – you’re usually aiming for a crunchy or chewy texture, so most recipes don’t add a lot of extra moisture. These biscuits have two eggs as well as the marmalade, and only a modest amount of butter, leading to a definitely cakey texture. I’m probably not doing a great job of convincing you to try these with this discussion, but this unusual texture has a purpose as you will see!

Generally I’m not much of a cake or biscuit decorating person, or even much of an icing person, but please don’t think for a second of skipping the icing with these. These are one of those cases where the whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts. The biscuits alone have that muted citrus flavour from the marmalade, but definitely lack the zing you get from fresh citrus, while the icing on its own is tart and zesty, but very rich. Together, the fresh zesty icing and more muted biscuit are bliss. More importantly, the texture of both the biscuits and icing is moderated, so the biscuits get softer and the icing firmer (just like with macaron in fact), so they’re actually better from the next day, when the texture of the bite becomes perfect.

This texture also means they store well, as they don’t dry out, probably a good thing given how many this recipe makes! Of course you could make a half batch, but once you’ve tried them you probably won’t want to. I hesitate a bit to say this, as I try to avoid recipe hyperbole, but these are truly fabulous, and certainly one of my favourite biscuits. Unless you can’t stand citrus – and please don’t tell me if that’s the case 🙂 – these are one you should definitely try.

Marmalade biscuits with orange icing

Adapted slightly from a Neiman Marcus Taste recipe via White on Rice Couple

  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 200g sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 300g Marmalade (preferable bitter orange like Seville, or grapefruit)
  • 375g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

For icing

  • zest of 1 orange
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 60ml juice from the orange
  • 1 tsp juice from the lemon
  • 45g unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 375g icing sugar

For the biscuits, leave the butter to come to room temperature, or soften in the microwave. Cream the butter and sugar until very soft, then add the eggs one at a time. Beat in the marmalade, followed by the flour, sieved bicarb and salt just until you have a soft dough. I like the biscuits with chunks of peel from the marmalade, but you can chop finely or even puree if you prefer. Chill dough for about 60-90 minutes until firm enough to scoop and hold its shape.

While the dough is chilling, make the icing. Finely zest the orange and lemon (preferable with a microplane – I highly recommend these if you don’t have one), and combine with the juices, butter (melted in the microwave), and salt. Gradually beat in the icing sugar until smooth.

Preheat oven to 150C. Scoop the chilled dough onto baking paper lined trays. I use a 2 tsp scoop, or you could use a scant dessert spoon. Allow some room for spreading. Bake for about 20 min until lightly coloured and just firm. Cool on a rack. Ice generously once completely cooled, and let icing set before keeping in an airtight tin for up to 5 days.

Makes about 40