For a few years now, friends of mine who live in another part of the country have gotten together for an annual cookie exchange. I have hoped every year to be able to make it, but let’s face it, it’s not easy to get to another part of the country right before the holidays. At least, it hasn’t been easy for me.
These empire cookies are a big hit at this exchange every year. Made by my friend Ellen, they are always very popular. This year, I asked Ellen if I could make this recipe and share it with all of you. Being the kind, generous person that she is, Ellen of course said yes.
So here they are, Ellen’s famous empire cookies – dainty little sugar cookies sandwiched with jam and iced with a vanilla glaze. They are the kind of cookie that I think of when I think of a Christmas cookie plate – they’re the perfect size, with just the right amount of sweetness, and so pretty.
Speaking of pretty – Ellen, I feel like I owe you a bit of an apology. I made these cookies and they disappeared before I could put the finishing touches on them, so they aren’t nearly as pretty as when you bake them. These are some pictures that Ellen sent me of her cookies – they’re just perfect!
Mine really don’t compare in the beauty department, but they must taste really good because they lasted less than 24 hours in our house. Well, I did pass some along to my parents, but still. They went FAST!
Thank you, Ellen, for sharing such a fantastic recipe. These will certainly become an annual favourite.
[Recipe] Ellen’s Empire Cookies
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup of your favourite jam
For the Icing:
1 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour and baking powder; set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. On low speed, beat in the flour mixture just until combined.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a little less than 1/4 inch thick. Using a 1 3/4 inch round or fluted cookie cutter, cut out rounds. Place about one inch apart on prepared baking sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes, just until the edges start to color. Watch closely, as they can get too dark rather quickly! Transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Spread bottom side of half of the cookies with about 1/4 teaspoon of jam. Top with remaining cookies.
To make icing, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk, adjusting the milk and powdered sugar to reach the desired consistency.
Spread icing over the tops of the cookies. Let stand until icing is completely dry. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature.