When it comes to biscuits (of the British variety, not their soft, scone-like American counterpart), some brands do exactly what they say on the tin, while others are a little more elusive with their identity. Custard Creams are sandwiched together with – you guessed it – a layer of custardy cream, Jammy Dodgers filled with jam, and while their abilities to aid the breakdown of food may not be proven scientific fact, there is something soothingly simple about a plain Digestive biscuit that more than justifies its name.
The origins of other biscuit names are a little less obvious. The Garibaldi, or squashed fly biscuit, was named after an Italian general for whom it was created as part of his war rations; coconut flavoured Nice biscuits are named not for being the rather bland opposite of ‘nasty’, but after the city in Southern France; Hob Nobs get their name from an old expression meaning ‘to take a drink together’ – perfect for this traditional accompaniment to tea – and Bourbons, created by the same Bermondsey biscuit company as Garibaldis, were named after the Royal French House of Bourbon. Not after the alcoholic drink.
This weekend just gone, Carnivorous Boyfriend headed up to Yorkshire to see some friends. It’s a trip he does on a fairly regular basis, and if I’m not going with him, I like to send him up with something sweet to spread a little loaf love around the North of England. On previous occasions I’ve made brownies, Millionaire’s Shortbread and even a box of Homemade Ferrero Rocher, all of which get packed into Carnivorous Boyfriend’s bag along with a big bottle of bourbon, the boys’ favourite drink whenever they get together. So this time round I decided to try to combine the two and incorporate a little of this tipple into whatever I baked for an altogether more grown up treat.
After reading a feature on homemade biscuits in the latest issue of Jamie magazine, I had my recipe. A basic Bourbon biscuit is a lovely thing: two thin oblongs of crisp dark chocolate biscuit sandwiched together with chocolate fondant filling for an altogether more elegant – and much more chocolaty – version of an Oreo. However if you want to take it to a much more exciting – and totally un-child friendly level – add a splash of bourbon to the chocolate cream. Chocolate and alcohol, sweet and strong, crispy and smooth: the Real Bourbon biscuit is born.
Making these biscuits couldn’t be easier. A simple dark chocolate dough is mixed in minutes before being rolled out thin and sliced into little rectangles. A sprinkling of golden caster sugar adds crunch before they are baked then sandwiched together with a rich chocolate ganache, stirred through with just a scant teaspoon of bourbon. If you’re not as into booze as the boys I was baking for, you could always replace the bourbon with a little milk, or experiment with coffee, orange or mint. But if you like a little hit of alcohol alongside your chocolate, do try the recipe just as it is, if only to see the smiles on peoples’ faces when you present them with a Bourbon biscuit made with real Bourbon.
Real Bourbon Biscuits (adapted from Jamie magazine)
(makes approx. 14 biscuits)
For the biscuits
50g unsalted butter, softened
50g soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp golden syrup
110g plain white flour
20g cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Few drops milk
1 tbsp golden caster sugar, for sprinkling
For the filling
50g unsalted butter, softened
75g icing sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 – 2 tsp bourbon
For the biscuits
Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with non stick baking paper.
Cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the golden syrup, then sift in the flour, cocoa, salt and bicarbonate of soda and beat to combine. Add a little milk, a few drops at a time, until a soft, even dough is formed.
Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead for about one minute. Roll into a rectangle about 3mm thick then cut into 24 even rectangles, approx. 5cm x 3cm. Dot holes into the dough with the end of a skewer (or any other pattern you like), then sprinkle with the caster sugar and transfer to your prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the filling
Cream the butter until light and fluffy, then add the icing sugar and cocoa powder and continue to beat until combined. Beat in the bourbon.
To assemble the biscuits, take a heaped teaspoon of chocolate bourbon cream and spread over the underside of one biscuit, smoothing right to the edge then sandwiching together with a second biscuit. Repeat until all your biscuits are filled, then store in an airtight container.
56 RESPONSES TO Real Bourbon Biscuits
These are adorable! I love the idea of a wee bit of the hard stuff to make these biscuits put hairs on your chest…
Oooooh, bourbons have always been my favourite teatime biccies. It’s always fun when you find you can recreate childhood favourites – thanks for the recipe
what a nice treat for the Carnivorous Boyfriend and friends!
They look yummm! Funny enough I was thinking of baking some Bourbon myself. I was going to follow a recipe by Kate Shirazi from Baking magic book, but I think this recipe has an edge! p.s. I enjoyed reading the informative part too.
I made the baking mad recipe last night, disaster! Says to put them in for 15 mins which was too long and the ‘dough’ was sandy and crumbly!
I’m slightly confused by your comment – this isn’t a baking mad recipe?! If there’s anything I can help you with on my recipe, please do let me know 🙂
I just love this idea. They look fab and bourbons are one of my fav biscuits. How cool to make your own, There is no question I’m going to have to try these out. Thought the post was very well written too.
I love the idea of real bourbon biscuits. I’m sure the boys loved them.
YES, YES, YES. My actual favourite biscuits have never looked better. Utterly fantastic. Loaf, this must be one of my favourite recipes ever.
I love bourbon biscuits – they are all I eat in India 😀
Yours look perfect and delicious!
Choc Chip Uru
Oh yum! Why does adding booze to things always make them better? 🙂 I think these would be great as the outer pieces of an ice cream sandwich.
North South Food – it’s amazing how much flavour you get from a tiny teaspoon of alcohol. Makes you realise how strong a whole shot is!
Things My Belly Likes – my pleasure, I love recreating childhood classics 🙂
Trials in Food – I did get a lot of lovely compliments 🙂
Oi You Food – I hope these live up to expectations, enjoy!
Fleur – thank you 🙂
Jules – they did. I fear I’m going to have to put alcohol in all their baked goods now… 😉
Frugal Feeding – glad you like them!
Choc Chip Uru – if you eat them all the time you should definitely try making your own 🙂
Marissa – haha, I agree, a little booze can be a brilliant addition to desserts.
oh wow… i have just GOT to make these!!!!
Wow these look amazing…just like the real thing…and nice to hear they’ve got a bit of Bourbon in them too! 🙂
Genius idea! I love how much these look like the real thing. Glad you didn’t try a more ‘authentic’ version of Garibaldi biscuits using real squashed flies though…
I’m trying to figure out how to write this comment without sounding like a gushy nutjob but honestly, I really think you are my blogging HERO. Well, heroine, but you know what I mean! I love the ideas you have, the pictures and so enjoy seeing what you’ve created in each new blog post. One of the bestest blogs on the interwebs.
These are great lol I’m sure my man will love these biscuits and you’re so profressional they look like they’re store bought! 🙂
Yum these turned out perfectly 🙂
you’re the perfect girlfriend a boy can ask for. I mean, you’re not coming with the boys, you’re packing bourbon into their bags and you’re bringing them crazy treats?! I wish I’m a guy right now. No. I wish I’m your long lost sister. Maybe you can share with me one of these biscuits. i love british biscuits and more than that, I love how you made it kinky!
OMG! This is still my favorite childhood treat. I can’t help but grab two packets whenever I’m at the Indian store… I never knew Bourbon, the drink, till I moved to the US (and thus learned all Indians had been mispronouncing ‘bourbon’ the entire time). This is amazing, I can’t wait to try this!
Sylvan Somethings – enjoy!
Laura – thank you.
Elly – haha, nope, don’t think those would have gone down quite so well 😉
Kavey – awww, thank you so much, you’re too lovely 🙂
Daisy – thank you!
Leslie – thanks 🙂
Pencil Kitchen – I’d send you one if I could! 🙂
Amrita – enjoy!
Ooh an adult’s only biscuit sounds very exciting! 😀
What a fab idea to include a little bourbon in your biscuits! You’ve given me a craving for something sweet now! I need to find some biscuits!
I’m all for adding booze to baked goods wherever possible!
I’ve often wondered what the origin of some of our biscuits are. I love the idea of a ‘real’ bourbon biscuit. Grown up sweet treats! GG
Lorraine – indeed!
Ruth – thank you. Go find those biscuits! (or make some of these!)
Kathryn – haha, good call 🙂
Glamorous Glutton – exactly!
Now these are proper bourbons, genius idea and I bet they taste amazing. My dad’s favourite biscuit is a garibaldi – unfortunately for him he’s called Gary and he’s going bald.
I’ll take the boozy ganache option please! They look fantastic, what a great idea!
I feel like an entire volume could be dedicated to explanations of British biscuits, seriously! There’s so many, all with their little subtleties. Also, chocolate and bourbon cookies? You are evil. But awesome 🙂 Yum.
Those look amazing!
What a fabulous sounding cookie. Chocolate and Bourbon, how can you go wrong. My fiance would absolutely adores these given the addition of bourbon.
My brother and I used to be addicted to bourbon biscuits when we were kids! We stuck them in ice creams, milkshakes and even slushies. And the best way to eat a bourbon, is to take the biscuits apart, lick off the cream and then finish the biscuits.
Laura – oh dear, very unfortunate!
Becs – you can’t go wrong with a boozy ganache 🙂
Laura – British biscuit eating is definitely an art form…
Nicole – thank you.
Jennifer – my boyfriend is the same 😉
Amrita – agreed!
I need to make these. Stud is OBsessed with Bourbons from his childhood
I made these today without the bourbon and replacing half the butter in both the biscuit and the filling with smooth peanut butter. They’re simply delicious! Such a great childhood classic 🙂
Nic – definitely do try them 🙂
Kat – ooh, that sounds incredible. Definitely one to try!
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Made some of these today! Delicious!
Ooh yey, so glad you enjoyed them!
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Right now I’m having a pan with biscuits in the oven, and they taste great!!
At first I was a little worried because it has no eggs, but then I started eating raw batter and didn’t worry anymore!!
But I had to bake them for 18 minutes, and they weren’t completly made
Anyway, they taste fabulous, thanks for the recipe! 🙂
My pleasure 🙂 Sometimes different ovens works at slightly different temperatures but glad they turned out ok!
Oh, thanks, I though I was doing something wrong or something like that, jaja
I made the biscuits for a little party and they were a great succes, thanks for posting this recipe! 🙂
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These sound fun. We have Whisky in various guises but not bourbon. Do I need to buy bourbon or would other Whisky do?!
Any other whisky would be absolutely fine, just don’t tell anyone it’s not bourbon! 😉
Thank you for sharing this fab recipe, I chilled the dough then rolled it between cling film which made it much easier to deal with. Might have to try it with a drop of Baileys next time…
Ooh, a Baileys version sounds brilliant! And yes, cling film rolling is a great tip, I often do it with fragile doughs.
I’m a late comer to your blog but wow! These biscuits are amazing. Made them minus the bourbon to keep the family friendly. I made Justin Gellatly’s custard creams the other week. They’re fab too. Have your book on my wish list. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!
Ah, thank you so much! The Justin Gellatly book is brilliant isn’t it? Xxx
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thank you for the recipe, these cookies took me back to childhood. I would like to surprise my sister with these, do I need to store them in the fridge because of the butter in the filling?
No they should be fine in an airtight container on the counter for a couple of days, unless you live somewhere incredibly hot? Xoxo
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