Imperial cookies are definitely one of my all time favourite cookies. A little sugar cookie. A little jam. A little icing. What could be more perfect?
This is why when it came time to decide whether we would have guest favours at our wedding, I knew: 1) I had to make whatever it was myself and 2) whatever it was it had to reflect something personal and authentic.
We actually weren’t really going to do guest favours and had already made a personal donation to the Children’s Hospital here in Winnipeg on behalf of all our guest. Their program is very close to our hearts.
But, I was worried our guests might be a little hungry after the ceremony and before dinner and thought a little treat might stave off any hangries (you know… when you are so hungry you get a little angry??).
Since I wasn’t making a wedding cake for the reception (we actually didn’t even have a traditional wedding cake! But more about that in a future post), I thought these might fit the bill. Little imperial cookies stacked like wedding cakes. Mmmm… three imperial cookies to the box! I wish I had a better picture to post of the final product – they turned out so cute and personal – but in all the excitement of the preparations, I was a little distracted.
The recipe is a bit traditional and a bit Trina. I’m so happy with how they turned out!
3/4 cup of butter
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of good quality vanilla
2 1/4 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 jar of good quality raspberry jam
1 cup of butter
1 tsp of vanilla
1/4 tsp of salt
2 tablespoons of milk
4 cups of icing sugar
In the bowl of a heavy duty mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in vanilla, salt and baking powder and mix till fully combined. Change to the slowest speed. Add in flour in small amounts and slowly mix until the dough just comes together. Do not over mix!
Take out the dough and place onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk, completely cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge to rest and cool the butter for at least two hours.
When you are ready to roll out the dough, flour your working surface generously. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out the dough (just deal with about a 1/4 of the dough at a time). I roll mine around a 1/2 inch thick but it’s personal preference as to how thick you want your final cookies to be.
You don’t want to over work the dough and cause the butter to warm up too much so work quickly. Or, you can do what I did which was to put the precut pieces back into the fridge for a bit of a second rest. This helps prevent them from spreading out too much when they bake.
Bake for about 7 minutes, watching closely. The exact timing depends on the thickness of your cookies. I didn’t want any browning around the edges so 7 minutes was just perfect.
Remove from the oven and cool.
For 60 wedding cake cookies, I make three batches of this recipe (remember you need two sides for each cookie). I also did this in stages, so I made the cookies a day in advance… then invited a very good friend over to help assemble them the next day. And then she even came back the next day to help put them in their boxes.
The Jam in the Middle
Assembling the cookies are pretty easy. I added about just less than one teaspoon of jam one side of each cookie sandwich, and then topped it with the second cookie. Just make sure you don’t overfill or your cookies will slide around.
The Icing on the Cake
I vered from tradition here. Usually imperial cookies call for a very light drizzled icing (and a piece of maraschino cherry on top). With wanting to stack these, I didn’t think the light icing would hold up and could potentially cause my cake cookies to slide about so I went with a traditional buttercream icing. I think I might prefer this icing to the traditional!
To make the icing, in the bowl of a heavy duty mixer whip up the butter till it is light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla, milk and salt. Mix to combine. Then reduce the speed to low and add in the icing sugar one cup at a time. Once the icing sugar has all been added in, bump up the mixer speed to medium-low and let mix for about five minutes. I find this makes a light and fluffy icing. You need to have icing that has stiff peaks to it so it holds the cake cookie tiers together.
Of course these can be presented in a number of different ways. I made a soft burgundy coloured flowers out of royal icing for the top. And I considered wrapping these in large clear bags but love the structure of these boxes. They were finished off with a burgundy bow and a little thank you card for our guests. So much fun!