Bourbon Biscuits

In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s all about tea at my house… this new fixation has come about because I’m hosting a series of High Tea events in conjunction with my good friends at Birregurra Provedore. Consequently, as well as having a pantry stocked with wonderful T2 varieties, I have been sorting and cataloguing like a mad woman – recipes, table linen, crockery and silverware – every aspect of my kitchen life is being called upon to do service for these special afternoons.

Along with all the treats you would expect from a hand made high tea, I have been searching for biscuit recipes and came across this one in several of my old cook books, along with a re-invented version in the Primrose Hill Bakery book (for those of you not familiar with the offerings from these two talented Mums in London – you have been warned)…

Anyway, the name of the biscuit in no way alludes to the liquor of the same name, but was bestowed on the biscuit as a tribute to the house of Bourbon, one of the great families of France, by the manufacturer Peek Freans, in 1910.

This is a simple, comforting combination of two crisp biscuits sandwiched together with a chocolate buttercream filling.  They are simple to make, have very good keeping abilities, and taste delicious – what’s not to love?


Two crisp chocolate biscuits sandwiched together with chocolate buttercream


For the biscuits

  • 225g unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 225g golden caster sugar
  • 4 heaped teaspoons golden syrup
  • 340g self raising flour
  • 115g cornflour
  • 115g cocoa powder
  • ⅘tablespoons warm water
  • For the Icing
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 4 teaspoons warm water
  • 115g unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 tablespoons pure icing sugar
  • ½ teaspoon good quality vanilla extract


To make the biscuits

  1. Put butter, sugar and golden syrup into a bowl and beat with a stand mixer or hand-held mixer for several minutes until colour becomes lighter and texture becomes lighter and more aerated.
  2. Sift the flour, cornflour and cocoa powder into a separate bowl and then add to the mixer bowl, along with the water.
  3. Bring together and then remove from the bowl onto a work surface.
  4. Knead gently until the mixture comes together in a smooth, pliable ball.
  5. At this point, you can use the dough immediately, or it can be refrigerated for several hours or overnight, removing from the fridge to allow the dough to soften if this is what you choose to do.
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 celsius (170 fan forced) and line several baking trays with baking paper.
  7. Lightly flour a work surface and roll out the dough to a thickness of 3-4mm. Use your favourite shaped cutter to cut the dough (for the biscuits in these photos I used a 5cm plain round cutter, but you could use squares, hearts or any shape you choose).
  8. Lay the biscuits onto the trays, leaving a small space in between (although these biscuits don't spread too much).
  9. Bake for 10-12 minutes until biscuits harden - but take care not to overcook. Allow to cool.

To make the icing

  1. Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl, add the warm water and mix thoroughly, making sure you get all the lumps out.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat the butter until smooth using an electric hand mixer or stand mixer. Add the icing sugar and vanilla essence, beating in thoroughly.
  3. Add the cocoa and warm water mixture and beat well.
  4. Sandwich two of the biscuits together with a thin layer of the icing, then dust with icing sugar.
  5. Store in an airtight container, where they will keep for several days, softening slightly after a day or two but flavour is not affected.


Make sure you thoroughly sift both icing sugar and cocoa - those lumps can be stubborn!
If you use a smaller cutter, adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 5477 Fat: 301g Saturated fat: 186g Unsaturated fat: 93g Trans fat: 11g Carbohydrates: 705g Sugar: 288g Sodium: 4403mg Fiber: 59g Protein: 69g Cholesterol: 731mg