Time: 30 minutes + 10 minutes baking
Serves: 6 biscuits
Empire biscuits are a traditional Scottish biscuit, although I hadn’t really heard of them until recently. You could use any shortbread type recipe for the biscuit as long as it’s not too sweet – the jam and icing sugar topping will add all the sweetness you need! The recipe we followed was one from the Hairy Bikers, ‘Mums know Best’.
They’re really easy biscuits to make and perfect for baking with kids as there are only a few ingredients which you just mix all together into a bowl with your hands. Be prepared for a bit of mess though – that’s going to be unavoidable when you’re using flour, cornflour and icing sugar in one recipe!
Classic Empire biscuits have glace cherry on top for decoration. I didn’t fancy buying any just for these as I don’t really like glace cherries so we just decorated ours with some sugar flowers we had in the house but you could use a jelly sweetie or anything else you have to hand. You might also notice that ours aren’t quite as round and perfect looking as most Empire biscuits you see, but that’s what happens when you cook with little ones – squinty biscuits are all part of the fun!
For the biscuits:
175g (3/4 cups) butter (softened)
175g (1.5 cups) plain flour
50g (1/2 cup) icing sugar
50g (1/2 cup) corn flour
Strawberry or raspberry jam
24 glacé cherries (optional – you can use any decoration)
Preheat your oven to 180C/170C fan, and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Mix all the ingredients together
Get your little ones to measure out the flour (175g), corn flour (50g), icing sugar (50g) and butter (175g) and pop it all in a large mixing bowl. If your butter isn’t soft enough it can be hard to mix so we normally pop ours in the microwave for a few seconds before chopping it up and adding it to our bowl.
Using your hands mix everything together until it forms a nice ball of dough.
Make the biscuits
Lightly flour your work surface (we didn’t need to because we’d made so much mess measuring everything out!) and roll the dough out until it’s about ¼ inch or just over 1/2 cm thick. To stop the dough sticking to the rolling pin we put a sheet of baking paper over the top.
Using a round cookie cutter cut out 12 biscuits and place them on a lined baking tray. We used a 7/8mm cutter but you could use a bigger/smaller one to get more/fewer biscuits.
Bake the biscuits
Pop the baking trays in the oven for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them and remove them from the oven before they turn golden brown. Leave to cool
Decorate your Empire biscuits
Lay your biscuits out and get your little ones to help you spread jam over the top of them. Get another one and sandwich it on top.
Mix some icing sugar together with a tablespoon or so of water in a small bowl.
Drizzle the icing over the top of your biscuits and then decorate with a glace cherry or whatever else you are using.