These iconic chocolate sandwich biscuits filled with dark chocolate buttercream are one of the most popular biscuits for dunking into a cup of tea. Now you can make your own Bourbon biscuits at home.
It’s been over a month since my last blog post and, while I am sure no one noticed my absence, I have missed it. I have been travelling and living out of a suitcase for the last four weeks and as much as I tried to find time to blog, in the end I couldn’t.
I travelled from Poland to London , then to Rwanda and Tanzania, and back to London. As I type this post, I am sitting at Luton Airport waiting to fly back to my new home in Wroclaw, Poland.
These biscuits were the last thing I baked in my kitchen in London, before I packed up my home and shipped all my belongings to Poland. I actually made the biscuits for my leaving party, so they bring bittersweet memories.
A bit like these biscuits: they are sweet and overloaded with chocolate, but also bitter from the dark cocoa powder used in the dough.
I don’t claim to have created the recipe. The merit goes entirely to Leah Hyslop (Food Director at Sainsbury’s magazine) who published the recipe in her Made in London cookbook. It is absolutely perfect as it is and doesn’t need any tweaking.
If you live in Britain, you will know exactly what a bourbon biscuit is. It is, after all, the fifth most popular biscuit in the UK to dunk into tea! However, not everyone outside of the UK has heard of or tasted them. My mum, for example, had no idea what bourbon biscuits were when I sent her a photo…she thought they were made with whisky (fair enough, but in reality the name is a reference to the royal family House fo Bourbon)!
The bourbon biscuit is formed of two thin rectangular dark chocolate biscuits sandwiched with a filling of chocolate buttercream.
Hyslop’s recipe comes with instruction to make the the filling, but I used chocolate spread from Le Chocolat Alain Ducasse shop. It is made with dark chocolate and milk chocolate, caramelised almonds and hazelnuts pralines. It had the right texture to hold the biscuits together and it saved me a bit of time in the prep.
I will leave you with this recipe now and I hope you will love it as much as I did!
Makes about 50 biscuits.
For the biscuits
- 200g soft unsalted butter
- 80g caster sugar, plus extra to scatter (optional)
- 20g soft dark brown sugar
- 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
- 300g plain flour
- 100g cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
For the filling
- 50g dark chocolate, chopped
- 100g soft butter
- 150g icing sugar
- 50g soft dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp milk
- 20g cocoa powder
- 250g good quality chocolate spread
For the biscuits, cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until soft and fluffy. Alternatively, use an electric mixer.
Mix in the eggs, then sift in the flour, cocoa and baking powder, and stir to combine until the mixture comes together into a smooth dough (it’s easiest to use your hands at the end). If the dough feels a little sticky, add more flour, but try not to add too much or the dough will become tough. Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C. Line 3 baking trays with baking paper.
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Try to make a rectangle shape about 3mm thick. Trim away any rough edges, then use a sharp knife or pastry cutter wheel to cut the dough into small rectangles. I used a measuring tape to make them all the same size: about 7cm long and 3cm wide.
Transfer the biscuits onto the lined trays, leaving a small gap between each one. Use a fork or a cocktail stick to make little dots along the length of the biscuits, in the classic Bourbon pattern, and pop in the fridge for about 15 minutes to allow the dough to firm up.
Put the trays in the oven and cook for 10-12 minutes, until the biscuits are just firm to the touch and not soft. Scatter over a few teaspoons of caster sugar, if you like, and leave to cool on the trays.
To make the filling, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of just-simmering water. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool slightly.
Beat the butter in a large bowl with a wooden spoon until really soft, then gradually sift in the icing and brown sugars, beating until you have a fluffy consistency (add a teaspoon of milk to bring the mix together if necessary). Sift in the cocoa powder, pour in the melted chocolate, and stir to combine.
Sandwich the cooled biscuits together with the chocolate filling. Enjoy with a cup of tea.