Heart shaped empire biscuits (AKA imperial cookies) sandwiched with a raspberry jam filling and topped with a powdered sugar almond icing. The perfect Valentine’s Day dessert!
These empire biscuits are similar to a shortbread cookie but a little less dense. They’re super soft in texture and have a nice buttery and sweet flavor. They are filled with raspberry jam and have been a staple at English tea parties for years.
These empire biscuits are so delicious! They’re traditionally made into circles with a little maraschino cherry on top, but I thought it would be fun to turn them into hearts for Valentine’s Day. I love how they turned out! They look so fancy and really aren’t that hard to make. They taste amazing, especially with the homemade raspberry jam filling. My kids absolutely LOVED them!
How to make empire biscuits
- Mix the dough. For the base of the cookies, you will need butter, powdered sugar, an egg and an egg yolk, vanilla, cake flour and salt. To get started, cream together the softened butter and powdered sugar with an electric mixer. Once it’s soft and fluffy, add in the egg + egg yolk and beat on medium. Then mix in the vanilla extract. Slowly mix in the flour and salt on low speed until just combined. Then press the dough between two sheets of wax paper and place in the fridge for about an hour.
- Roll and cut. Roll the dough out with a rolling pin until it’s about 1/8″ thick. Then press the cookie cutter into the dough and carefully transfer the cookie onto a lined baking sheet. Repeat until all of the dough is gone. You should have 32 cookies.
- Bake in oven. Bake at 350°F until the edges are slightly golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool on the pan for a few minutes, then move to a cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, flip the cookie over and spread jam onto the bottom. Then place another cookie gently on top. Repeat until all cookies are sandwich together. Then whisk together the icing and spread on top of the cookies with a spatula.
Baking tips + variations
- Flour. Cake flour gives the cookies a softer, more delicate texture. You can definitely still use all purpose flour, just make sure you sift it first.
- Chill the dough. I like to refrigerate my dough for at least an hour, so that it is easy to work with when rolling it out.
- Thickness. Make sure to roll the dough out to about 1/8″ thick since you’ll be stacking two together. Since they are a thinner cookies, you also want to watch them closely in the oven so they don’t burn. They should just have a slight light golden edge.
- Jam. I happened to have some leftover raspberry jam to use up, but any type will do. I think I’m going to try strawberry jam next.
- Icing. The powdered sugar icing on top adds the perfect hint of sweetness to balance out the cookies. I added almond extract for a boost of flavor, but you could sub with vanilla or even lemon.
- Decorations. Traditionally empire biscuits are cut out into circles, with a maraschino cherry on top. To decorate for Valentine’s Day, I made heart-shaped cookies with a heart sprinkle on top. You could easily switch up the cookie cutter and sprinkles for any holiday.
These cookies will stay fresh for up to 1 week if stored in an airtight container. No need to refrigerate them, they will be just fine kept at room temperature. They will also stay fresh in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Valentine’s Day desserts:
- Valentine sugar cookies
- Chocolate covered strawberries
- Strawberry cookies
- Valentine cake pops
- 3-ingredient chocolate truffles
- 3/4 cup butter , softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
- 2 3/4 cups cake flour , can sub for sifted all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup raspberry jam
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons hot water
- 1 teaspoon almond extract , could also substitute with vanilla
- Combine the butter and powdered sugar in a large bowl. Beat with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the egg and egg yolk and beat on medium speed until combined. Add the vanilla and beat again.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour and salt. Press the dough between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- Roll out the dough 1/8″ thick onto a baking mat, parchment paper or a well floured surface. Press the cookie cutter into the dough and carefully move to the baking sheet. Repeat until you have 32 cookies.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the edges are slightly light golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the pan for 2 minutes. Then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Once the cookies are cooled, spread the raspberry jam onto the back side of the cookies. Press another cookie gently on top. Then whisk together the icing ingredients in a small bowl until it is smooth and glossy. Use a small spatula to frost the top of the cookies. Add a heart sprinkle to the center if desired.
Recipe adapted from the Butter Celebrates Cookbook