Staples of children’s birthday parties across the country, no self-respecting buffet is complete without a plate of party ring biscuits. Often almost alarmingly multi-coloured, party ring biscuits (or Fox’s Party Rings as they are labelled on the packet) are essentially iced shortcake biscuits, formed into a ring. Each packet contains several different coloured biscuits, each one decorated in a two-tone pattern. Despite the differing colours, there doesn’t appear to be any difference in flavour between the different biscuits in the pack, and there’s nothing in the ingredients to suggest a different colour either.
The base of the party ring is a solid shortcake biscuit, with a traditional crunch which is quickly lost if you don’t manage to eat them all within a couple of days of opening the packet (although who on earth is keeping them for weeks without eating the things??!). There’s also a rather nice pattern of ridges – we’re not 100% sure why these are here, other than perhaps helping you to get a firm handhold on the biscuit?
The upper surface is where the magic happens. Each biscuit is covered with a crisp icing, liberally spread over the whole surface, and often dripping luxuriously over the edges and in the hole in the middle, which is perfectly sized for poking a finger through. The icing is decorated with lines of a contrasting colour which are feathered for extra 1980s style. Note that “having a party” is not a mandatory practice in order to enjoy a party ring (or three).
History of Party Ring Biscuits
First made by Fox’s Biscuits way back in 1983, they’re often seen as a classic icon of the 1980s. Despite this, I challenge you to leave a plate of them on show without any friends or visitors being tempted to have a nibble.
Modern Party Rings are actually vegan-friendly, following a change in the recipe from Fox’s to remove the gelatine from the icing. Whilst you might have childhood memories of party ring biscuits being somewhat more vibrant in colour, the modern version are coloured using a variety of natural colourings including blackcurrant, carrot and radish. Some people also claim that the distinctive snap of the crispy icing is due to the use of carob bean gum.