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Monday 25 November 2013

Gluten Free: Empire Biscuits

Empire biscuits are one of the best biscuits in the world. Of course, as a Scot, I might be a bit biased, but they really are one of the greatest things you can have with a cup of tea, ever. While Empire biscuits (or Imperial biscuits, depending on who you ask) aren’t exclusively Scottish, we’ve basically nabbed them as our own. That said, we're not precious too about them to share with the rest of Blighty.

My gluten free-ified version is adapted from the recipe in the Glasgow Cookbook, but I’ve gotten lazy over the years. Over time, I’ve ended up using a mixture of plain and self-raising gluten free flours instead of having to find a measuring spoon for baking powder. Less time rummaging through drawers means more time eating biscuits - and that’s always a wonderful thing.

Empire Biscuits (makes 8 to 10 biscuits)
You’ll need:
  • 250g gluten free plain flour mix
  • 150g gluten free self-raising flour mix
  • 350g icing sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 10 tsp seedless strawberry or raspberry jam
  • Jelly Tots, or glace cherries, to decorate
Make it!
  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
  2. Sieve the flour mixes and 150g of the icing sugar together into a bowl.
  3. Cut the butter into little cubes and rub into the flour and sugar mix with your fingertips until you have something that looks like fine breadcrumbs.
  4. Add the egg, a little at a time, until you have a soft dough. You might not need to use the whole egg. (If you do use all the egg and the mixture still needs more, add a little milk.)
  5. Leave the dough to rest for 5-10 minutes.
  6. Roll the dough out between two sheets of cling film to ½ cm thick and cut 7 or 8 cm rounds out with a biscuit cutter. You should get between 16 to 20 rounds. If it’s a bit much to roll out at once, do in two batches. Oh, and the joy of gluten free dough is that you can roll and re-roll to your heart's content so, go mad.
  7. Lay the rounds on non-stick baking sheets (or line your baking sheets with baking paper) and rest them in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
  8. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until lightly golden and firm to the touch. Leave to cool completely.
  9. Put the rest of the icing sugar into a bowl and trickle a little just-boiled water into it, stirring all the time. Add a tiny amount of water at a time to make a smooth icing.
  10. Sandwich a teaspoonful of jam between two biscuits and smother icing on the top. Decorate with a Jelly Tot or half a glace cherry.


  1. They are so pretty. This strikes me as the perfect recipe for making with young kids.

    1. It's loads of fun making these with young kids, if a bit sticky!

  2. Oh, I had no idea these were a predominantly Scottish thing, Caleigh! Next you'll be telling me that Irn-Bru isn't the national drink of the UK. *goes back into Scottish bubble; eats a deep-fried Mars Bar*

    1. Neither did I until I moved down south! Then I couldn't find and empire biscuit for love nor money. I have since become something of an evangelist on them.


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