When I think of showers (both bridal and baby), I think of women in their Sunday best playing silly games and discussing the finer points of domesticity over afternoon tea, complete with finger sandwiches and dainty desserts. A bit antiquated, you say? A little too 1950s-eque? Well I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a shower without some vestige of these traditions, whatever the appeal.
All this to say that when a friend of D’s announced a surprise baby shower in anticipation of the September debut of D and M’s baby Margo, I decided to bring along a little tradition (in food form, of course). Given my stated preference for all things sweet, I quickly narrowed the scope to dessert, eventually zeroing in on Empire Biscuits as a sufficiently dainty/tedious undertaking. Considering the subject of the celebration – a little person – and in the interest of having us all fit into our skirts and dresses by the end of the afternoon, I opted for mini Empire Biscuits.
Classic Empire Biscuits are much larger, coated with white satin frosting, and usually decorated with a slice of maraschino cherry. With the mini Empire Biscuits, I opted to skip the cherry and instead ice half the cookies in white and half in pink, pink being a nice complement to the raspberry jam and apropos for a baby girl.
These sweet and buttery raspberry cookie sandwiches are delicious freshly baked or a few days old after the jam has truly embraced its adhesive role. Store in the fridge, but bring to room temperature before serving.
1 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Gradually add flour and mix well. Chill dough for 1 hour.
Roll out dough between two sheets of lightly floured parchment paper to 1/8” thickness. Cut into 1 1/2” rounds and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden on the bottom. Remove the cookies from the oven and move them to a rack to cool completely.
Once cool, spread raspberry jam on the bottoms of half of the cookies and place their partners on top (bottoms to the raspberry jam). The cookies may slide around a bit on the jam initially, but have no fear.
White Satin Frosting:
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
3 tablespoons warm water
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Combine the frosting ingredients and mix until smooth. Add additional icing sugar or water, if necessary, to reach a consistency you like.
I usually use a small silicone brush to coat the cookie sandwich tops with frosting, sweeping from the centre of the cookie to the edges. Let rest until the frosting has hardened and then store in an airtight container with parchment paper separating the layers of cookies.
Yields approximately 35 mini Empire Biscuits.
Source: The cookie is a basic shortbread attributable to no one in particular. The white satin frosting recipe is compliments of The Domestic Goddess.