Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Pecan Revamped Empire Biscuits !

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


  1. oh these look really pretty.I ve always wanted to ice cookies like htat but never get around to it. I bet it was good fun for Oliver n his dinosaur sprinkles! Dinosour sprinkles!?!...must have been cute!

  2. yes - very bright dinosaur sprinkles ! I'll need to download the photos from the other camera. It was messy....

  3. Now these look yummy and so pretty! I like the cornflour ingredient - my packet always last for months and months as its not often used so this recipe is just the job.

  4. last pic looks gorgeous, AH corn flour in shortbread, oh Man am gonna keep this in my mind, recently i made short bread, though i loved it, craving to make them again will ur version may be :)

  5. They look so pretty and delicious also! I've never heard of them and must try making them. Love that filling! Funny with the hair gel!

  6. cornflour is great stuff - works wonders in biscuits for giving them that "melt".

    My traditional shortbread is a little different. I actually WANT this dough to spread a little and the biscuits to be thin as I sandwich two together...

    The fig and orange blossom preserve works amazingly well - but the traditional rasperry jam and glace cherry is tasty too.

  7. Empire biscuits are my favourite all time biscuit (closely followed by a Tunnocks Teacake). These look so lovely - making me hungry as I sit here with my cuppa tea

  8. Empire biscuits are fab - Tunnocks Teacakes are too. Tunnocks factory is only about 1 mile from my mum's in Scotland !

    I'm going up to visit for a very quick trip at the end of the month. I'll try and remember and go a walk past their village bakery and take you some pictures. Oh - there is a new cupcake shop in Bothwell (ajoining village) that I'm sure you would like...

  9. I read on Twitter that the Tunnocks staff are thinking of striking! The horror.

    Oh wow - we didn't have any biscuit factories near us growing up but we did have a bakery that did the best macaroni pies, empire biscuits, cream cakes and scottish rolls. My mum works there now and I have no idea how she stays slim! Have a lovely time in Scotland -we're going back in March for the first time in ages! And a cupcake shop - how wonderful - I shall have to google x

  10. ohhh yes - macaroni pies - not had one of those in years !

    Striking stinks - the state the economy is at the moment, they should be lucky the fact they have a job. I don't belive in striking. If they don't like their lot, they should up and find something else !

  11. I adore macaroni pies- once had a whole box of those (and butteries) shipped down from Scotland :)

    I fully agree. In this economy there is no need to strike - tube drivers in London strike over any little thing and ruin everyone elses week!


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