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Empire Biscuits

Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria, Durham, Northumberland

Now a biscuit of two discs of soft shortbread adhered together with hard jam, topped with a small circle of white icing and decorated with a glace cherry or similar.

'Empire' or 'German' biscuit.
Photo: Davidspiers

The first receipt we can find by exactly this name is from 1928 and has the top sprinkled with "a little pink sugar" instead of a cherry and uses a cinnamon flavouring;

Original Receipt from 'Western Daily Press' - Saturday 30 June 1928, p11

Empire Biscuits. Take six ozs. flour, ozs. margarine, 1 teaspoonful ground cinnamon. 1 table spoon syrup, and a pinch of salt. Mix the dry ingredients. Heat the syrup and mix to stiff paste. "Roll out quite thinly and cut into rounds with a fancy cutter. Place on a baking tin and prick each biscuit with a fork. Bake in a moderate oven from 10 to 15 minutes until pale brown colour. When cold, place two biscuits together with a drop of jam between, and ice same as orange sandwich, only using warm water instead of the orange juice. Sprinkle the tops with a little pink sugar.

Although there are occasional references to an unknown form of 'Empire Biscuit' in Grocer's Manuals and advertisements from the late 19th Century, Empire Biscuits as now made are a version of the German 'Spitzbuben', and were known in England as 'German Biscuits' before falling victim to the mass re-namings of World War I, along with 'Alsatian' for 'German Shepherd Dog'

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