Inspired by Eric Carle’s book “The Bad Tempered Ladybird”, these ladybird biscuits are also perfect for Valentine’s Day as they are heart shaped. You have probably heard of his more well-known book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but we recently learnt about his ladybird story as part of Lily’s Reception schoolwork. I searched online for something simple for the kids to bake that related to the story.
If you don’t know the story, basically the ladybird is going up to every insect and animal it meets, going “Wanna fight?” – it does have a happy ending though, it’s not encouraging fighting. You have to have a sense of humour to read it – Lily found it so funny. The book also teaches children how to read the time.
These biscuits are really easy to make, and I researched for the easiest recipe. Kids can make it with some help from an adult. This recipe makes 8 heart-shaped biscuits, but the number will vary depending on how big or small your cutter is. My cutter was part of a set from a pound shop.
What you will need:
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 275 g plain flour
- red fondant icing (half a 250g pack)
- edible eyes
- black cake pen
- black icing writer
- white icing writer
- heart-shaped cutter
All the ready-made decorating items are available from the supermarket.
How to make the biscuits
- Preheat oven to 190°C/ 170°C Fan / Gas Mark 5
- Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper
- Cream butter + sugar together
- Beat in egg + vanilla
- Stir in flour until and knead until it becomes dough
- Dust your surface with flour and roll dough to 1cm thick
- Cut shapes
- Bake for 8-10 minutes (until pale golden brown)
I have recently learned that the kneading part is good for children’s finger muscles and it helps with their writing. So knead away, kids!
There is no need to chill with this recipe – it’s super simple. After kneading until it’s firm enough, roll the dough to 1 cm thick. Then cut out your heart shapes and lay out on your lined baking tray. We used two trays with 4 biscuits each.
We baked in our fan oven for 10 minutes at 170°C, using my phone as a timer. You don’t want to go over with baking, as biscuits will go too hard. The biscuits will seem soft when you take them out, but this is good. They will harden out of the oven.
The next step is the fun bit – decorating. I used half of the 250g pack of red fondant icing, dusted the cleaned table with icing sugar and rolled until it was very, very thin. The fondant did leave a red mark on my tablecloth, but this came out easily with cleaning spray afterwards. We cut 8 heart shapes with the same cutter.
Next we dotted the biscuits with the white icing writer pen, and the kids stuck on the heart shapes.
Then we waited about 10-15 minutes for the icing to harden. The kids played in this time. Once the icing was hard, it was time to draw our bad-tempered ladybird features. I did one as an example so the kids knew roughly what to do. They then came up with their own ideas, and Lily decided to go totally abstract.
So basically with the black icing writer pen, you draw a triangle at the pointy bit and then stick on two edible eyes. With the black cake pen, you draw a central line and spots on both sides. We also drew on eyebrows on some of them, to show these were bad-tempered like in the book.
Then leave to dry. So that’s it really! A fun, easy baking activity for children. It took us just over an hour altogether. Here are the kids, happy with their finished biscuits – I’ll let you guess who made which one.
I particularly like the bad-tempered eyebrows on this one.
I hope you try making these, and I look forward to sharing more easy kids baking recipes with you soon.