You may or may not have ever heard of an empire cookie, but let me just say you need these in your life at least once a year… probably more. Of course, the best time of year would be Christmas! These are total grandma cookies. Just classic and clean. Nothing over the top or gluttonous. They’re a Scottish cookie (or biscuit) and I think they’re rather sophisticated. I actually ate hoards of these as a kid on Christmas Day… because I was a sophisticated child, duh. My grandma used to make them every year but truthfully… these are better!
vegan empire cookies
These classic and sophisticated cookies were a childhood fave! Be sure to have them on your dessert table for the next holiday that rolls around.
- 2 C all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 C vegan butter, softened to room temperature
- 1 C granulated sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 C unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1/2 C raspberry jam
alternative: homemade filling
- 3 C frozen or fresh raspberries
- 3/4 C granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 C powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp unsweetened nondairy milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp chopped dried cranberries, as garnish
In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and sea salt and set aside.
In another bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer or you can do this in a stand mixer. Once it's fluffy and smooth, add the nondairy milk and continue beating until fluffy and well combined. It may even look slightly crumbly as the vegan butter separates slightly from the liquid, but it's fine.
Add half the flour mixture and continue beating until smooth. Then add the remaining flour mixture and beat until it's half combined. Mix the remaining batter with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. If you're doing this in a stand mixer, just mix it until it's combined and no flour is visible.
Dump the cookie dough onto plastic wrap. Wrap it up and slightly flatten it into a disc shape. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. You can also make the dough well ahead of time and freeze it if desired. Allow it to thaw in the fridge overnight before rolling it out. After refrigeration for longer than an hour, you might need to let it sit out of the fridge for 10 minutes.
When you're ready to roll out the dough, preheat the oven to 325°F.
Lightly flour a clean counter surface and cut the dough in half. Wrap and refrigerate the other half and work with one portion at a time. Roll out to 1/4" thick and cut out 2" to 2 1/4" round cookies. If you have a round scalloped edged cookie cutter, use that to make it look extra pretty!
Place the cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Take the excess dough and gently press it together into a flattened disc and roll it out again to 1/4" thick. Cut out as many cookies as you can until there's only a scrap of dough left which you can discard. You don't need to handle the dough or knead it in anyway - that will make the cookie tough rather then pillowy and soft. Use as little excess flour as you can without letting the dough stick to the counter or the rolling pin. About an extra 1/4 cup for the whole process should be fine.
Bake 1 baking sheet at a time on the middle rack of the oven for 14 minutes. If you've placed more cookies on other baking sheets, leave these in the fridge until you bake them. The cookies are done if the bottoms of them are just slightly brown and the edges are also slightly golden (or have no color at all). Ensure you don't over bake these cookies! Remove them right away onto wire racks to cool completely before assembling with jam and icing.
To make the homemade raspberry filling, add raspberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a sauce pan and heat over medium. Whisk to combine everything as the fruit softens. Cook for about 10 minutes. Then strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve over another sauce pan over medium-low heat. Use a spatula and really press the raspberry puree through the sieve. You'll likely need to scrape the bottom of the sieve to get the jelly into the pan. Then cook the strained mixture for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool completely or speed up the cooling process by placing the bottom of the pot into a bowl with ice water.
Combine the royal icing ingredients in a bowl with a whisk until smooth.
Spread about a 1/2 teaspoon of raspberry jam on one cookie and sandwich with another. Then spread about a 1/2 teaspoon of icing on top just out to before the edges of the cookie. Finish by placing a small piece of dried cranberry in the centre. Let the cookies dry at room temperature before storing between layers of parchment in an air tight container at room temperature. You can also freeze these cookies for up to 3 months. Let thaw at room temperature before serving.
Cook time includes time to make homemade raspberry filling.