Buttery cookies are filled with jam and topped with icing and a cherry. Empire Biscuits are a traditional Scottish holiday cookie that taste delicate and delicious. This post is sponsored on behalf of #ChristmasCookiesWeek. The generous sponsors, YumGoggle, Sprinkle Pop, Silpat and Adams Extracts have provided us with products for recipe creation and a giveaway for our readers. As always, all opinions are my own.
These empire biscuits have an interesting role to play in my family history. And I’m just reading this now, so bear with me as I connect the dots. It touches on several branches of my tree; one I had no clue about! And I bet Mom didn’t either. Maybe she did. We’ll see.
Empire biscuits are popular in the United Kingdom. They’re a traditional Scottish cookie, but has popularity in Northern Ireland and other Commonwealth countries. For those don’t know, the Commonwealth of Countries consists of about 53 countries across the globe including Canada.
You see, here’s where it gets interesting. So, we always thought the Scottish part was on Mom’s side, but it seems that McClelland is more Irish than Scottish. Man it can really be frustrating trying to trace your tree. Either way, Northern Irelanders enjoy empire biscuits, too.
That particular branch of the tree came from Ireland and eventually wound up in Ontario. They settled in, had some children, and then those children had children. It was that last set that wound up moving from Ontario to Manitoba. Winnipeg to be exact.
According to Wikipedia, empire biscuits are popular in Winnipeg. Who knew?
That’s where Mom was born. So, you can see that these cookies were probably eaten by my ancestors for several generations. That is so cool to me! I hope I’ve made the connection for you about these empire cookies and my family history. Some of which I didn’t know about until this morning.
That’s one of many reasons why it’s good to go back to your roots sometimes in your cooking. See what your parents, grandparents, GREAT grandparents ate. And go further back until you find something that sounds delicious that you’d like to try. Just to reconnect with your roots.
The empire biscuit is kin to the Linzer biscuit from Austria. It’s a sandwich cookie that has a cut out on the top so you can see the filling in the middle. I’ve never made those. I should put them on the list for next year. Then again, I had such a blast finding cookies to make this year I might do this again next year.
This cookie also carries many names! Empire cookie, imperial biscuit, double biscuit, German biscuit, Linzer biscuit, Deutsch biscuit, Belgian biscuit, and biscuit bun. Wow. That’s a lot of names for one biscuit. Depend on which part of the world you’re in, you might be looking for one of these 8 names. So, keep this list handy because you’re going to want to find these gems.
The biscuit part is a typical shortbread cookie. I rolled mine thinner than I typically do for a shortbread because they are doing to be double and filled. You wouldn’t want to try to bite into a cookie that’s like over an inch tall would you? Of course, I couldn’t keep the hubs off of the biscuits with no filling. Guess I’ll be making that shortbread recipe again, too.
They’re filled with jam. Typically it’s strawberry or raspberry. However, I had some delicious blackberry jam in there and thought they would taste divine! For the holidays, I was thinking of maybe a mint jelly in the middle.
Then I thought not because it might scare some people off.
Seriously, how festive and cute do those look? I actually sent a version of this picture to a few people. I had to share their holiday cuteness! AND I was right about the wreath. They make for much more festive empire biscuits than a fluted circle or plain circle.
Of course, you’re supposed to use glace cherries, but I couldn’t find some. So, I dried some maraschino cherries for the centers. I was HOPING I could find them, but all I can find now is fruitcake mix. While that’s not as disgusting as most might think, it’s not quite what I’m going for with these cookies.
And there they are all filled! I love the way the sweet tart blackberry jam pairs well with the almond flavored icing. I have to admit that I used three types of Adam’s Extracts in this post. For those not in the know, Adam’s Extract & Spice Company have been around since 1888? That’s one year earlier than that OTHER company.
It was a family business from the get go! His kids helped print labels and sell the product door to door until the son bought the company from his father and moved it to Austin, Texas. That’s when the magic really happened.
Did you know that Adam’s Extract & Spice Company helps home cooks like me make red velvet cakes across America?
They were the first company to sell red food coloring! They had a slew of other extract flavorings that they were advertising with tear off recipes and advertising posters. As if that’s not enough, in 1945 they created the first four color pack that’s still sold today.
Their extracts have quality flavors and their food coloring is excellent. Better than those *coughOTHERcough* extracts and dyes. And Betsy Adams used them all in her baking! She created the infamous Adam’s 75th Anniversary Pound Cake, Five Flavor Pound Cake, and the Prize Winning Pound Cake which won at the 1965 Texas state fair.
What they have that I have never seen is colorless vanilla extract called ClearVan. When you’re making a white cake or an angel food cake that little touch of vanilla might color it just slightly. With their colorless vanilla extract you don’t have to worry about that. And if I was following the traditional icing on these cookies, it would definitely come in handy!!
Those are recipes from their website. There are some oldies but goodies and fun new recipes. You should check them out. Also, make sure to get a head start on the giveaway in my gingerbread macaron post by following them on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
- 10 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 large hard boiled egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup raspberry preserves
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons cream
- 1/4 cup candied cherries, cut in half
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cream the butter with the granulated sugar.
- Add large egg and hard boiled egg yolk and stir until combined.
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Combine the flour, cornstarch, and salt. Slowly add to the butter mixture. Mix until the dough forms a ball.
- Roll the dough out 1/4" and cut into circles (or wreaths).
- Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes or until lighten golden around the edges.
- Cool in pan 5 minute and then move to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Spread the jam on half of the cookies. Set aside.
- Combine the powdered sugar with the almond extract and cream stirring until combined. Add a few drops of green food coloring if desired.
- Spread a thin layer of the powdered sugar mixture on top of the other half of the cookies. Place one cherry half in the center. Allow the icing to harden.
- Place the iced tops on the jam bottoms and serve!
#ChristmasCookiesWeek Thursday Recipes
- Celebrating Sinterklaas with Speculaas by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
- Chocolate Mint Thumbprints by Family Around The Table
- Chocolate Shortbread by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Cinnamon Spice Sugar Cookies by Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks
- Cream Cheese Buttons with a Dark Chocolate Drizzle by Kate’s Recipe Box
- Cut Out Sugar Cookies by The Freshman Cook
- Empire Cookies by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
- Iced Peppermint Cookies by Jonesin’ For Taste
- Lemon Shortbread Sandwich Cookies by Palatable Pastime
- Mexican Wedding Cookies by House of Nash Eats
- Mint Chocolate Thumbprints by Family Around the Table
- No Bake Bourbon Balls by Girl Abroad
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Cup Cereal Cookies by Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice
- Peppermint Brownie Bites by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Peppermint Patty Bars by Strawberry Blondie Kitchen
- Red and White Pinwheel Cookies by Hardly A Goddess
- Truffle Filled Cookie Tarts by Jolene’s Recipe Journal
- White Chocolate Peppermint Kiss Cookies by The Saucy Fig
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