These biscuits are a bit of a Scottish classic. They are quite unique. My granny called them “German” biscuits but I believe they were changed to “Empire” after WW1.
Wot u need
310 gms plain flour
50 gms cornflour
215 gms chilled butter cubed
105 gms caster sugar
15 mls cold water
fondant as required
Cherries or jelly tots for a centre-piece topping
Wot u do
Rub the butter into the flour – this ends up in big lumps with a wet dough – this is fine, don’t overwork it – should take 2 mins. Add the cornflour (this makes the final biscuit shorter as there’s no gluten in cornflour), sugar and water and mix to get a smooth dough – this should take seconds – don’t overwork. Allow to rest/cool in the fridge for 15 mins (no longer or you’ll need to whack the dough with a rolling pin once taken out of the fridge) – this stops the dough shrinking when baked as relaxed gluten shrinks less. Keeping dough cold is good!
Make sure there’s a little flour on your worktop to stop sticking. Roll out to 6mm and cut as many biscuits as you can. Score each biscuit with two small 1 cm slashes in the centre straight through the biscuit (this stops them rising in the centre.) Lift the biscuits very carefully using a palette knife and place on a baking tray covered with silicone paper. Refrigerate for 10 mins whilst you preheat the oven.
Bake at 210 degrees c for 10-15 mins and until lightly brown. Use a high level shelve – don’t be tempted to double up two shelves of biscuits – the bottom layer won’t cook at the same time. Leave to cool on baking tray for two mins till you can touch the biscuits. Sandwich with jam when warm and allow to cool for 90 mins. Dip in fondant. Add centre-piece. Leave to set for 90 mins.
Top tip: Watch your biscuits in the oven – they can quickly burn! I turn my tray around 180 degrees after 6 mins to avoid hotspots in the oven.
Top tip: I think these bisuits work better if the final bake results in a pale-coloured biscuit – they may look pale but they’ll still be cooked.