This has to be one of my favourite holiday cookies of all, the Empire Cookie!! Its soft biscuit like cookie is sandwiched between a sweet layer of raspberry jam, drizzled with almond icing and topped with a plump little cherry! It doesn’t get any better than that!
I don’t make these cookies often, not even at Christmas and I’m not sure why. I love these cookies! I didn’t discover them until later in life when I bought one from a bakery near my parent’s house in the country. The cookie itself was huge and it was like nothing I’ve every had before (it’s not my typical choice when it comes to a cookie)! Here’s the strange part I discovered when doing some research for this post. This cookie originated in Scotland and so is actually part of my heritage. I have no idea why my grandmother never made these?!
I can sit down with a plate of these empire cookies and a hot cup of tea and waste my day, eating and sipping away! In fact since I’ve made these cookies for the blog I’ve been sneaking a cookie (or two) for breakfasts, during work breaks, and after dinner! It’s a good thing this recipe makes a lot or I won’t have any cookies left for Christmas Day (I’ve put the rest in the freezer so I won’t eat any more)!
Since I don’t make Empire Cookies all the time, I’m always learning little tips/tricks to make them better. Probably the most important tip is how to get the cherry on top without bleeding red cherry juice all over the pretty white icing. If you see my picture at the top I wasn’t so successful in this, but it won’t happen ever again! I always cut my cherries well in advance and try to remove as much excess juice as possible by drying them on paper towel (like you would with greasy bacon). But the real trick is when you place that cherry on top of the icing make sure the skin on the cherry is facing down – touching the icing. The skin provides a barrier between the icing and the juices of the cherry! I only found this out by mistake when I dropped the cherry and it fell the wrong way – at least I thought it was wrong! So never again will I have red cherry juices invading my pretty white topped Empire Cookies!! It’s also a good idea to wait just a bit and let your icing set a little before placing the cherry on top.
- ½ cup Stirling Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup raspberry jam
- 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
- ¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
- 1-2 tablespoons hot water
- 40 cherry pieces
- Preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a stand mixer beat butter, sugar until light and fluffy, add egg and vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter mixture in 2 or 3 additions.
- On a floured work surface, roll dough out to approx.1/8 inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter (approx, 11/2 inches in diameter) cut out circles and place on your prepared baking sheet about an inch apart. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes until bottoms are lightly browned. Let cookies cool on cooling rack before moving onto the next step.
- Spread jam on half of the cookie bottoms and top with the remaining cookies (see picture for reference). Keep the jam in the centre of the cookie so when you press the other cookie on top it will spread to the sides.
- Make your icing; in a small bowl add sifted icing sugar and almond extract, add hot water one tablespoon at a time, using enough of the water to make the icing spreadable. Spread icing on top of each cookie and top with a cherry piece (place the cherry skin side down, so the juices don't bleed into the icing).
- Let the cookies set for approx. 1 hour