Bourbon biscuits are a family (and British) favourite. They consist of two chocolate-flavoured biscuits sandwiched together with a chocolate buttercream icing. They aren’t the quickest thing to bake, but boy do homemade Bourbon biscuits far outstrip the (albeit very tasty) shop bought Bourbon biscuit!
Bourbon biscuits were originally named “Creola” and were introduced in 1910 by the Peek Frean biscuit company in London. Peeke Frean, founded in 1857, was the first mass producer of biscuits and created other well-known biscuits such as the Garibaldi. The company also made a six-foot tall wedding cake for Queen Elizabeth II! Peeke Frean was the centre of the community and employed generations of residents of Bermondsey, earning the area the title of “Biscuit Town”. The factory was like a mini-town, with a bank, post-office, fire service and access to medical services. The factory closed in 1989.
The Creola biscuit was renamed in the 1930s. This new name was taken from the House of Bourbon, a European royal house of French origin. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty had held the throne in France, Naples and Sicily. Indeed, Spain and Luxembourg currently have Bourbon monarchs.
I mentioned at the start that Bourbon biscuits are more time-consuming than some other bakes. This is because I take a long time attempting to get the biscuits a uniform shape. I say “attempting” because however much time I spend cutting them out, they never seem to come out of the oven very uniform. They always seem to have a mind of their own. I have resorted to cutting a rectangle out of a piece of paper and using it as a template to cut around. However, you can save yourself time by not bothering about being accurate and just cutting them out by eye. They’ll taste just as delicious either way.
- 100g plain flour
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 15g cocoa powder
- 50g butter
- 30g sugar
- 1tbsp golden sugar
For the filling:
- 20g chocolate
- 30g icing sugar, sieved
- 1tbps water
- Pre-heat the oven to 170c and grease a baking tray
- Sieve together the flour, baking powder and cocoa powder
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- Beat in the golden syrup
- Stir in half of the flour mixture
- Keep adding the flour mixture little by until it forms a dough. You may not need to use all of the flour mixture
- Turn out onto a work surface lightly floured with any leftover flour mixture
- Knead slightly then roll out thinly
- Cut into rectangles about 2.5cm x 6cm, lift carefully and place on baking tray
- Prick the surface of the biscuits with a fork
- Bake for about 12 minutes
- Leave to cool on a wire rack
For the filling:
- Gently melt the chocolate with the water in a saucepan over a low heat
- Remove from the heat and beat in enough icing sugar to form a thick buttercream
- Spread over half of the biscuits and sandwich the remaining biscuits on top
Storage: store in airtight container for 3-4 days