Empire biscuits are a traditional Scottish bakery item. They consist of two shortbread biscuits, generally sandwiched together with rasperry jam. These are them topped with a water icing and glace cherry.
The shortbread should literally melt in the mouth. My secret is cornflour - never make shortbread without cornflour....
I decided to vamp them up a bit to put a new twist on an old recipe. What I didn't expect is that they would turn out so good ! These are VERY sweet but truly awesome. I'm sure you could also play with the flavours and come up with some other super alternatives.
For the filling, I used some fig and orange blossom preserve. Approx 1 teaspoon per biscuit base, and then put another biscuit on top to double up. The preserve had big lumps of fig in it, so I gave it a whizz in my mini blender and then microwaved the smooth preserve for a minute or so to thicken it up.
For the icing, I used a few drops of Sainsbury's Taste The Difference Valencia Orange Extract in some icing sugar and mixed into a thick paste. Some of this was spread on to each top biscuit and then finished with a pecan half.
I only had 1/2 a biscuit out of the 24 that were made. The whole lot disappeared easily in under an hour at work !
For the dough :
225g salted butter (room temperature)
100g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g of plain flour
75g corn flour
Cream butter and sugar. Add all other ingredients and combine with an electric hand held whisk with beater attachment. As soon as starting to combine, use your hands - don't over work it.
Turn it out on to a well floured surface and cut into thin rounds (about 5mm thick). I got 26 pieces out of this batch. The dough will be VERY soft - so do be careful. Flour your hands and rollling pin quite well ! You could refrigerate before rolling, but I like to use this dough unrefrigerated as I want the biscuits to retain overall shape, but spread.
Place on to silicone baking tray liners on trays, or use baking parchment / greaseproof paper on trays.
Put in a preheated fan oven at approx 160deg C for 8 > 10 mins until edges are starting to take on just the slightest amount of colour. Allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.
There is something really yummy looking about icing running off the tops of biscuits. I like them sort of messy looking.
Saying that, I really need to download the photos from my other camera of Oliver icing his and putting on dinosaur shaped sprinkles. Good grief - who needs hair gel when you can use icing ????
Sarah-Jane Nash, SiliconeMoulds.com - silicone bakeware specialist cook shop