Tuesday, July 29, 2008
ahhhhh..... love...... or is it? ... methinks she is dreaming of cookies... not just any cookie ... one of her special Empire Cookies......of the realm I suppose....
Delicate, soft, sweet ... with lovely berry jam sandwiched in every bite...... ohhhhhh how I wish I had one myself right now! Along with a cup of Earl Grey from this lovely teapot ...
Sadly...they disappeared very quickly .... pronounced every bit as good as the ones we used to get at a fav little bakery that no longer exists.
I tried to find out why they are called Empire but didn't see much except the vague suggestion that perhaps, since they seem to be very British, ... they being an Empire and all... so, if anyone has seen any info on this... please point me in that direction.
This particular recipe appears to have been clipped from a booklet of recipes using brand names.. Robin Hood flour... Crisco etc.. I have it in my Christmas Recipe Album that I've made up using my personal favs along with family recipes and pictures...a 3 ring binder type of thing. At the top of the recipe.. the great suggestion.... "this is a favourite at Christmas, but don't limit it to the holiday season"... somebody knew me well.
I only put little glistening cherries on a few for a photo... somebody was standing there grinning...waiting for the taste testing.....
At first I rolled them the suggested 1/8" thickness ... hahahahha...yeh ...right ... almost "see through" thin it was... and just try to get them off the counter! Next chunk..I rolled closer to 1/4"..but not quite. I had much better luck...but I also discovered a new trick at this late stage in life. Instead of just pressing down, turning a bit and lifting off with my flour dusted cutter... I turned it back and forth a few times and almost tried to lift it off at a bit of an angle.... .. so that it actually lifted a corner of the dough with it as I did the lift out of the dough. Hah! that really loosened things and I could then easily slide my floured spatula under each and transfer it the cookie sheet. Sigh... sometimes!........
3/4 cup golden Crisco shortening ( I used butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt ( I always omit because I use salted butter)
Filling and frosting
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1 1/2 cups icing sugar, sifted
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 1/ to 2 TBSP hot water
Cream shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl on med. speed of electric mixer until light and creamy. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to creamed mixture, beating at low speed until well blended. If desired, chill 1 hour for easy rolling. (I found this a must..it is pretty sticky) Roll out dough, a portion at a time, on lightly floured surface to 1/8" thickness. ( I went slightly thicker for ease of handling) Cut into 2" rounds..re-roll all leftover pieces at once to avoid over handling. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 350 F (180 C) for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned around edges..(watch them like a hawk) .. Cool completely before handling.
Filling and frosting ::: spread half of cookies on the underside with jam. Top with the remaining cookies. Combine icing sugar, extract and enough hot water to make a thin icing. Frost tops of cookies. Decorate with small piece of cherry. Store in airtight container overnight. (At this point they were still sort of crispy and hard..not at all how I remember them being when I used to buy Empire cookies... but... left overnight... magically they became soft, delicate to bite into.... yes... finally almost the exact thing!)