Many people would recognize these as Empire Biscuits. It's my understanding that they were originally called Imperial Biscuits (which is what my mother-in-law, Bunty, calls them). However, at some point the name changed to Empire Biscuits. When I married my husband, I quickly learned that this was his favorite cookie, and while normally generous, he wanted them all to himself. Bunty makes them every Christmas and I usually manage to swipe a few of them. They're delicious and simple, just rolled shortbread sandwiched with jelly filling and topped with icing. This year Bunty arrived in California, with a box full of the cookies, ready to be filled and iced here at my house. As usual, I marveled at how such a simple cookie tastes so wonderful. I shared some of them with my friend Nancy and her family, and they fell under the spell of these little gems, calling them the best cookie they've ever eaten.
Bunty, who is 90 years young, has been making these cookies for 60 or more years. Here she is, putting some of them together yesterday.
Imperial Biscuits (Or Empire Biscuits)
From a recipe given to Bunty by her mother
1 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cup flour
About 1/2 cup strawberry, raspberry or current jelly
About 1 cup icing (confectionary) sugar
2 teaspoons water, as needed
In large bowl, cream together butter and 1/2 cup sugar. Add flour, and mix well into a ball.
On lightly floured surface, roll out to 1/8-1/4" thick. Cut into round shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at preheated 350 degree F. oven until lightly golden around edges, about 10-15 minutes. Set on rack to cool.
In small bowl, mix together 1/2 cup sugar, and enough water to make icing. Spread a small amount of the jelly on one cookie and top with another to make a "sandwich." Ice tops of cooled cookies and decorate with pieces of marachino cherries.