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How to Make Nearly Bourbon Biscuits

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According to the Edited Guide, some H2G2 Researchers believe the Bourbon Biscuit to be 'the single most perfect object known to man'. The Bourbon Biscuit consists of two hard biscuits1 containing cocoa, each stamped with the word Bourbon, with a chocolate cream filling sandwiched between them2. The biscuits were first produced in 1910 by Peek Freans3.

That said, given that supply sometimes fails to meet demand, here is a passable homemade version, which makes 14-16 biscuits.


For the biscuit parts:

  • 50g (2oz) high quality butter or margarine
  • 50g (2oz) caster sugar (superfine granulated)
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup (a reasonable substitute would be a light corn syrup)
  • 110g (4oz) plain flour (all-purpose)
  • 15g (½oz) high quality cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • flour for dusting the surface while rolling out the dough
  • Lard, vegetable shortening or butter for greasing the baking tray (in descending order of preference)

For the filling part:

  • 75g (2½oz) icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
  • 50g (2oz) really high quality butter or margarine
  • 1 tablespoon high quality cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon coffee essence or cold-brewed coffee syrup (desperate substitute: ½ teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in 1 teaspoon water)


For the biscuit parts:

  1. Heat the oven to warm - Gas Mark 3, 325°F, 160°C.

  2. Prepare a baking sheet by covering the bottom with greased parchment paper.

  3. Cream the butter and sugar together very thoroughly until the mixture is smooth, then beat in the syrup.

  4. Sift the flour, cocoa and baking soda together.

  5. Gradually add the powder mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until it forms into dough.

  6. Knead the dough well, then roll it out on a lightly floured surface until it is less than ½cm thick.

  7. Cut the dough into two pieces approximately 6cm wide by 28-32cm long.

  8. Place the pieces on the baking sheet.

  9. 'Dock' the dough (pierce it with a docking roller, skewer or fork) every centimetre (this helps prevent cracking during baking).

  10. Bake the pieces for 12-20 minutes (until cooked through, but not burning at the edges).

  11. Let the tray cool for one minute.

  12. Cut the pieces, while still warm, into 28 to 32 identical, rectangular fingers, approximately 6cm by 2cm, then leave them to cool.

For the filling part:

  1. Sift the icing sugar.

  2. Beat the butter until it is soft, then add the sugar, cocoa and coffee.

  3. Beat the mixture until it is smooth.

Assembling the Biscuits

  1. Keeping the 'docked' sides out for a more attractive biscuit, cover the surface of one biscuit finger evenly with a layer of the filling.

  2. Take another finger and press it lightly onto the layer of filling.

  3. If necessary, warm the biscuits up enough for the cream filling to soften so that the layers settle in and adhere to each other.

When the biscuits are completely cool, store them in an airtight container4. When you're ready, make a nice cup of tea or coffee and enjoy eating a Nearly Bourbon Biscuit using your preferred Bourbon-Biscuit-eating method.

1'Cookies' in the USA.2Sometimes, biscuits aiming to imitate Bourbon Biscuits have a (white) vanilla cream filling instead - pleasant enough, but not the same as the original and best.3A biscuit company in London also known for the Garibaldi biscuit.4They will keep for three or four days before starting to go soft.

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