I don’t usually do complicated biscuits… I lose patience with recipes that require more than just putting lumps of mixture on a baking tin – mainly because I’m generally in too much of a rush.
But in pursuit of biscuits that my picky twins will try, I thought that it was worth having a go at Bourbons. They love those little packets of 3 biscuits that you get in cafes and service stations.
In the end these turned out to be less fiddly than I expected. The dough is easy to handle and it’s no trouble to ice the biscuits (although you can probably tell that I didn’t try too hard to be neat!).
The result is absolutely delicious – very crunchy with a lovely rich chocolately flavour. Of course, probably because they don’t taste like the packet kind, I only got a 50% success rate with the children…
The recipe is based on one found in Katie Stewart’s The Times Calendar Cook Book – which is a rather good seasonal cook book, published back in 1977.
I really recommend using a food mixer or food processor for this recipe – it’s a lot of hard work otherwise.
25g dark brown sugar
25g caster sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
100g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 level tbsp cocoa
50g icing sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
few drops of vanilla essence
Makes 14-16 biscuits
- Preheat your oven to 130C / Gas Mark 3.
- Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Cut a separate baking sheet sized piece of baking parchment – you will need this later to stop the dough sticking to your work surface when you roll it out.
- Cream together the butter and the sugar until very soft and fluffy. If you are using the butter straight from the fridge then cutting it into small pieces makes life much easier.
- Beat in the syrup until thoroughly combined.
- Weigh out the flour into a separate small bowl. Add the cocoa and baking powder and stir together.
- Sieve the flour and cocoa mix into the creamed butter and sugar. Beat until it all comes together as a soft dough.
- Use a little butter to grease your worktop and stick your pre-cut piece baking parchment on to your worktop with it.
- Roll out the dough to a thickness of around 0.5cm on the baking parchment. Don’t be tempted to use flour if the dough seems a bit sticky – this will make the dough very dry. If you are really having problems put a small amount of flour onto your rolling pin, and turn the baking parchment rather that the pastry to roll it out evenly.
- With a sharp knife, cut the dough into neat fingers about 2.5cm by 7cm.
- If you’re anything like me you will have lots of raggedy bits left that you’ve trimmed off whilst cutting out your biscuits – you can re-roll this to make a few more. I managed to get 14 biscuits from the mixture.
- Transfer the biscuits to your prepared baking sheets with a palette knife.
- Sprinkle the biscuits with a little granulated sugar and gently press the sugar in with your finger tips.
- Prick each biscuit with the prongs of a fork 2 or 3 times each (you’ll notice I forgot to do this – I don’t think it affects the taste!).
- Bake in the oven for around 12-15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before sandwiching them together with the icing.
- Whilst the biscuits cool, cream the butter until very soft and beat in the sieved icing sugar and cocoa.
- Add a few drops of vanilla essence and stir to combine.
- Use icing to sandwich the biscuits together. I found it best not to put on the top half of the biscuits until I’d iced all the bottom halves – it’s quite hard to be accurate getting the right amount of icing on each!
I hope you enjoy having a go at these. As far as I’m concerned, the extra bit of fiddliness is definitely worthwhile…