Empire Biscuits

Hi! This post is about Empire biscuits, sweet biscuits (sort of like shortbread) sandwiched together with jam. The biscuit has white icing on top, and is normally decorated with a glace cherry. I hadn’t heard of them before but I stumbled upon them online and decided to have a go making them!

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Empire biscuits are considered a traditional Scottish snack and are apparently popular throughout the Commonwealth. They were originally known as “Linzer Biscuits” and then “German Biscuits” (a term by which they are still known in Northern Island). After the outbreak of the First World War the biscuit was renamed as the Empire Biscuit (maybe as an attempt to sound more patriotic at a time of war?) but it is also known as the “Belgian Biscuit”.
These little biscuits look really cute and are a perfect afternoon snack! Here is my modern adaption of a traditional Empire Biscuit recipe. I used homemade plum jam to sandwich my biscuits together but you can use any flavour you fancy. The biscuits were traditionally decorated with a glacé cherry. However I don’t really like these so I chose to use a blob of jam instead. You could also use gummy sweets (such as haribo). My recipe makes about 8-9 sandwiched biscuits (so about 16-18 half biscuits) but it can easily be doubled (or more!) to make larger quantities.

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  • 45g butter/margarine
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 135g plain flour (sifted)
  • 1 egg
  • Jam (about one teaspoon per biscuit)
  • 55g icing sugar (sifted)
  • Glacé cherry or other type of sweet to decorate (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4 and grease a baking tray
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
  • Add the egg and then the flour
  • Work the mixture into a dough and turn out onto a floured work surface
  • Roll out with a floured rolling pin and cut out circles (I don’t usually measure their thickness, but probably about 5mm thick) using a 6cm cutter
  • Place onto the baking tray and bake for about 10-12 minutes and until slightly golden
  • Remove from the tray and cool on a wire cooling rack
  • When the biscuits have cooled, spread about a teaspoon of jam on half of the biscuits and place the other half on top to create a sandwich
  • Make some glacé icing by mixing the icing sugar (sifted to avoid lumps) with water until it reaches the desired thickness (make sure it isn’t too runny or it will run off the biscuits!)
  • Spread the icing on top of the biscuits and place half a glacé cherry (or other sweet of choice, or a blob of jam!) in the middle

These biscuits are easy to make, and, even better, they taste delicious! They’re also easy to adapt, and I think you could experiment with different flavours of biscuit and filling. I hope you like the recipe and let me know how you get on with baking them.


Thanks for reading!

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