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Friday 17 May 2013

Gluten Free: Bourbon Biscuits

In my first job after university, it was up to me to make the teas and coffees for my colleagues in the afternoon. I soon learned who liked what biscuits and made sure the biscuit tin was always stocked. Sandy, a rather formidable (but hilariously funny) co-worker, loved Bourbons and it didn't take long to win his favour by bringing a couple of the chocolatey wonders to the office with his coffee. I haven't eaten a Bourbon biscuit since going gluten free, but every time I see them in the supermarket I still think of Sandy and smile.

Bourbons are so easy to make and since discovering how to bake them I've been making up for lost time. They bring out the perfectionist in me and I make no excuses for the fact that I cut these with a pizza wheel and a ruler, my Bourbons measure exactly 3.5cm x 6cm when they go into the oven. You don't have to be as much of a pedant as I am to make these brilliant biscuits, I promise!

Bourbon biscuits (makes about 12)
You'll need:
For the biscuits:
  • 75g dairy free spread (I use Vitalite Dairy Free)
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 150g gluten free plain flour mix
  • 25g cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • up to 1 tbsp cold coffee
For the filling:
  • 50g dairy free spread
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp cold coffee
Make it!
  1. Preheat you oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2.
  2. Cream the dairy free spread, sugar and golden syrup together until smooth.
  3. Sift the flour mix, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda together and mix into the creamed fat and sugar. You'll have a crumbly dough at this stage.
  4. Add the coffee, a teaspoon at a time, and knead until you have a soft dough.
  5. Wrap the dough in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  6. Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper to ¼ cm thick and cut into rectangles. (They don't have to be exactly 3.5cm x 6cm, but they should be roughly the same size so you can make them into sandwiches later on). Aim to make an even number, but don't worry if you don't, eating the spares is a cook's perk!
  7. Transfer the biscuits on to a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. They won't change colour as they bake, so test they're done by pressing on a biscuit. They should be firm to the touch when they're ready.
  8. Leave to cool before filling.
  9. Beat all of the filling ingredients together to make a smooth paste. If it's too thick, add a little more coffee, a drop at a time. If it's too thin, add more icing sugar, a tablespoon at a time.
  10. Spoon about ½ teaspoon of filling on to a biscuit and gently press another biscuit on top to make a sandwich. Repeat with the rest of the biscuits and filling.
  11. Leave to set for half an hour before serving. (Although, this isn't really essential. It just stops the two halves of the Bourbon from separating when you bite into them.)
I accidentally made these dairy free – I was too impatient to wait for butter to soften – but if you want to use regular margarine or butter instead of dairy free spread, then you go ahead and do so.


  1. I am the worst for waiting for butter to soften, usually only discovering that it's not soft enough halfway through mixing.

    We don't have a microwave (why does this shock people so much?) so now I cube it and put it in a bowl of warmish water - that seems to work. Delia Smith tip, that.

    1. That's a great tip! I'll try it next time I'm too hungry to wait for butter to soften.

  2. These are fantastic!!! Thanks for posting this recipe :~)


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