Empire biscuit

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Empire biscuit
German biscuit.png
Alternative namesEmpire Cookie, Imperial biscuit, double biscuit, German biscuit, Linzer biscuit, Deutsch biscuit, Belgian biscuit, biscuit bun
Place of originUnited Kingdom
Region or stateScotland
Main ingredientsBiscuits, jam in between two biscuits. The top is covered with white glace icing, usually decorated with a glace cherry

An Empire biscuit (Imperial biscuit, double biscuit, German biscuit, Belgian biscuit, double shortbread, Empire cookie or biscuit bun) is a sweet biscuit popular in the United Kingdom, particularly in Scotland, and other Commonwealth countries. It is considered a traditional Scottish snack but is also popular in Northern Ireland, and it is an iconic dish in Winnipeg, Canada. [1]


The biscuit was originally known as the "Linzer biscuit", and later as the "Deutsch biscuit". With the outbreak of the First World War it was renamed: in England to Empire biscuit, in Scotland to Belgian biscuit because Belgium had just been invaded, but in Northern Ireland it remains known as the German biscuit or biscuit bun. In Scotland the name now varies depending on the region, with the North-east typically calling it a double shortbread and the West an Empire biscuit. In Northern Ireland it is commonly found with a jam and coconut topping. It is also known as the "Belgian biscuit", due to being topped in a similar way to a Belgian bun, which is made of pastry or dough.


The typical Empire Biscuit has a layer of jam in between two biscuits, typically shortbread. The top is covered with white water icing, usually decorated with a glace cherry in the centre, but Jelly Tots are common too. They are derived from the Austrian Linzer Torte.[2] The biscuit is smaller than the Linzer Torte and does not have a cut-out section on the top.

Similar products[edit]

Empire biscuits are similar to Viennese whirls.[3]

New Zealand[edit]

Known as a "Belgium" or as a "Belgian biscuit" in New Zealand, this type of biscuit gained popularity towards the end of the Great War and is now typically found either in biscuit or slice form. Typically, spiced biscuits are filled with jam and topped with pink or white icing, with raspberry jelly crystals scattered on top instead of the cherry. These are quite different to the Empire biscuit, which bears more similarity to a NZ 'Shrewsbury'.

See also[edit]

Other foods renamed for political reasons include:


  1. ^ "Traditional Scottish Recipes - Empire Biscuits". www.rampantscotland.com.
  2. ^ Edmonds Classics Hachette Livre, 2005. pg. 25
  3. ^ http://www.tomharris.org.uk/2009/04/25/end-of-empire/ Archived November 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.

External links[edit]