An empire biscuit is one of the many Scottish desserts popular across the United Kingdom. Formally known as the German biscuit, the dessert is two cookies wrapped around a layer of jam or cream that binds the cookies together to form one solid treat.
Traditionally, the biscuit has a layer of icing across the top cookie with a cherry or piece of candy planted in the center. Depending on the area, the empire biscuit is also called a double biscuit or imperial biscuit.
With origins in a German-speaking Central European country, the Empire Biscuit started life in the UK being known by names such as the Deutsch Biscuit or, more commonly, the German Biscuit. Unfortunately, the outbreak of WWI meant that all this was to change. Britain found itself facing both Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the war, so Deutsch, German and Linzer Biscuits all suddenly felt like unpatriotic names.
Because of this (bear in mind this was still in the days of the British Empire), the more patriotic name of Empire Biscuit was born.
This delightful little biscuit recipe comes from Baking with Anna Olsen.
Pretty Little Empire Cookies
- 2" cookie cutter
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
- ½ cup + 2 Tbsp icing sugar sifted
- 1 large egg yolk hard-boiled
- 1 large egg yolk
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 ¾ cups cake & pastry flour sifted
- Beat the butter and icing sugar together until smooth.
- Push the hard-boiled egg yolk through a sieve and stir the raw egg yolk and vanilla into it. Add this to the butter mixture and stir until blended.
- Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture and stir until blended. Shape the dough into a disc (it will be very soft), wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325 °F (160 °C) and line 2 baking trays with parchment paper.
- On a lightly floured work surface, gently knead the dough just to soften it slightly. Roll out the dough to about ¼-inch thick and cut out cookies using a 2-inch (50 mm) fluted cookie cutter, placing the cookies on the baking trays, leaving ½-inch (12 mm) between them.
- Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until just lightly browned around the edges. Let the cookies cool completely on the baking trays before assembling.
- Stir the raspberry jam to soften and spread a little on a cookie bottom and sandwich a second cookie on top, pressing gently to secure. Repeat with the remaining cookies.
- For the icing, stir the whisk the icing sugar with 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of water and the almond or vanilla extract, add the remaining water if needed, until it is a thin icing consistency. Set aside.
- Spread a thin layer of icing on top of each cookie, top with a piece of glacée cherry and set on a rack to dry. Let the cookies dry for about 3 hours before storing in an airtight container.
- The cookies will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
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