Empire biscuits are very popular in Britain, particularly in Scotland, but they actually originated in Germany and were known as ‘Linzer biscuits’ and ‘Deutsch biscuits’. After World War One, in Britain their name was changed to ‘Empire biscuits’ and that’s how they’ve stayed ever since. In Ireland instead of serving them topped with a glacé cherry they decorate theirs with a sprinkling of desiccated coconut, which I think sounds delicious!
Empire biscuits are a great low FODMAP biscuit option because their structure is comprised of shortbread (which is really easy to make gluten-free and remains tasty) and the toppings are FODMAP friendly too, so you can’t go wrong with them really. Also, if a single halved glacé cherry would cause you issues then you could use the desiccated coconut option to decorate them instead.
I added a teaspoon of lemon extract to my biscuit dough because I think that the sharp, zingy lemon oil provides a delicious contrast with the sweet taste of the strawberry jam, but it’s entirely optional and if you choose to leave it out of your empire biscuits they won’t suffer in the taste department at all.
These low FODMAP empire biscuits are very easy to make and don’t require much time at all to produce, but they’re very rewarding in taste due to their crisp, sweet, buttery shortbread rounds that are generously sandwiched between good quality strawberry jam and topped with soft, sweet icing sugar. It’s no wonder they’re so popular throughout the country!
Ingredients for the biscuits:
150g gluten-free flour (I use Dove’s Farm G/F flour because it’s made with low FODMAP ingredients whereas many other gluten-free flours are made with high FODMAP options.)
95g icing sugar
125g butter (or non-dairy alternative)
1 tsp lemon extract (optional)
2 tbsps cold water
100g icing sugar
7 halved glacé cherries (or 30g desiccated coconut)
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/400F/Gas Mark 6.
Place all of the biscuit ingredients (except the water) in a mixing bowl and rub the ingredients together until it has the texture of fine sand.
Add the water and form a smooth dough.
Roll the biscuit dough out on a clean work surface and cut out an even number of biscuits.
Place the biscuits on a greaseproofed baking tray and bake them in the oven for 12-15 mins or until they are golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Put your icing sugar in a small bowl and add a little water at a time to make a thick icing for decorating your biscuits.
Once the biscuits are cool, spread strawberry jam onto half of the biscuits and coat the other half of the biscuits in icing sugar and top them with either a glacé cherry or a sprinkling of desiccated coconut.
Once the icing has set, sandwich the biscuits together and serve.