A couple of weeks ago when I was at the BBC Good Food Show in Harrogate I went up to the Mercers of Yorkshire stand and stocked up. I’ve been a massive fan of their sauces, jams, marmalades and chutneys over the past couple of years or so. Their Lemon Cheese (a bit like Lemon Curd) is absolutely divine and is easily the best out there. To me though, I wouldn’t just put it on toast, it makes a fantastic baking ingredient. I got my baking thinking cap on and decided to see how I could use the Lemon Cheese in a recipe. These Lemon Empire biscuits are gorgeous and are perfect for a Springtime treat.
To bake the biscuits I used a simple roll out cookie recipe and added the grated zest of a lemon to it.
Makes 16 cookies (32 cookies sandwiched together)
200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
400g plain flour
1 large free range egg, beaten
Grated zest of one lemon.
- First, preheat your oven to 160Oc (my oven is electric and fan assisted), then weigh out all your ingredients. Cut the butter up into small cubes and add the sugar and flour to the bowl. Gently rub the mixture together until you get fine breadcrumbs. Add the grated lemon zest.
- Make a well in the centre of the bowl and add the beaten egg to it. Mix this together to form a ball of dough, first with a round bladed knife and then with your hands. When you have the ball of dough, wrap it up in cling film and chill for about half an hour in the fridge.
- Take the dough out of the fridge and roll out to the thickness of a pound coin. Cut rounds of dough with a 6cm diameter circular cutter. Gather up the scraps and reroll out the dough until it is used up.
- Put the biscuit rounds on flat baking trays which have been lined with baking parchment. Make sure they are well spaced apart. I usually put 6 biscuits on a tray at a time. They might need to be baked in batches. This usually takes around ten minutes.
- Once the biscuits have been out of the oven for about 5 minutes, I remove them from the trays and put them on a wire rack to finish cooling off.
To decorate the biscuits I sandwiched them together with the Mercers Lemon Cheese. Once this was done then I made up a simple lemon glace icing. This was done with 250g sifted icing sugar and about 3 tbsp water to achieve the right spreading consistency. To continue with the lemon theme I added a couple of drops of yellow food colouring to give it a delicate yellow flavour. Over the years I’ve made many mistakes when colouring icing getting a bit heavy handed with the colouring and ending up with something you would be blinded by! Thankfully by using SugarFlair pastes and a cocktail stick dabbing the paste in bit by bit, things end up looking a lot better. Finally, I spread the icing carefully on the top of the biscuits and finished them off with a sprinkling of hundreds and thousands.
I love Empire Biscuits, especially the ones with cherries on top and couldn’t get enough of them on holiday in Scotland a couple of years ago. They tasted fantastic and I came home wanting to bake some myself. This lemon version went down very well at home and I must admit I caved in and ate one with a cup of tea after I went out running. Well, I did need the energy I suppose. I only used half the jar of the Lemon Cheese so the rest went in the cupboard for my family to have on toast.
Love Sam xx