“Fresh From The Oven” is a sporadic feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I share some of my favourite recipes.
For the first edition of Fresh Out Of The Oven I’ve decided to re-create one of my favourite Christmas cookie recipes – Empire Biscuits! (You can read a little more about the history of the Empire Biscuit Here). Baking has always played an important role in my family’s Christmas traditions. Some of my fondest memories of the holiday season involve helping my grandmother and mother in the kitchen as they created some of my favourite holiday treats. And by ‘helping’, I mean eating the cookie dough and spreading sprinkles over every available surface. I was nothing if not a valuable member of the team. But I digress.
Here’s a picture of what we’ll be making today!
What You’ll Need – Ingredients
» 1/2 Pound of Salted Butter
» 1/2 Cup of Icing Sugar
» 1/2 Cup of Cornstarch
» 2 Tablespoons of Milk
» 2 Cups of Flour
» Raspberry Jam
» Green and Red Candied Cherries
Let’s Do This! – Instructions
Please Note: I use a KitchenAid Professional 5 Plus Series when baking and the instructions below reflect accordingly. While this recipe can certainly be done by hand, I can’t attest to the quality and consistency of the resulting dough. I do suggest employing the use of a mixer in order to ensure that your results best reflect my own.
1) Cream together 1/2 pound of butter and 1/2 cup of icing sugar on low speed until completely mixed.
2) Sift together 2 cups of flour and 1/2 cup of cornstarch in a separate bowl. Turn on the mixer to low-medium speed and slowly add resulting dry mixture of flour and cornstarch, alternating with milk, to the creamed mixture of butter and icing sugar you’ve already created. Continue doing so until you’ve added all the flour and cornstarch and the mixture begins to form a loose, sticky ball of dough.
3) Divide resulting dough into two portions, rolling each into a ball with your hands. Wrap these in wax paper and place in your refrigerator. Let these chill for at least thirty minutes.
4) On a floured surface, roll out one portion of the dough to a thickness of approximately one quarter of an inch.
5) Choose your favourite circular cookie cutter (It can either be plain or have a scalloped edge). Your cookie cutter should be no larger than two inches across. Begin to cut out cookies and place on insulated baking tray covered in parchment paper.
6) Bake in the oven at 325°F for ten to fifteen minutes. Watch these cookies carefully, as they should not be allowed to brown.
7) Remove from the oven and place on a baking rack. Leave to cool.
8) As the cookies cool, prepare the icing and candied cherries, which will be required for decoration. Cut the green cherries into small slivers and the red cherries into larger pieces. These will later be arranged to form a holly and berry pattern on the top of the cookie.
9) Once the cookies have cooled, spread a thin layer of icing on one cookie before adding the accompanying red and green cherries. Be sure to add the cherries before the icing has begun to dry to ensure they adhere.
10) Choose a second cookie that matches the first (if you’ve used a number of different cookie cutter designs) and spread a thin layer of raspberry jam over it. Press the two cookies together to form a sandwich.
There you have it! Empire Biscuits have been a staple on our Christmas baking list for as long as I can remember and are always a big hit with friends and loved ones who visit during the holiday season. I can only hope you’ll enjoy these cookies, too. Happy baking, everyone!