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Classic British biscuit recipes

There’s no denying that a good cup of tea and a biscuit is a British institution. Whether crumbly, chewy, super-sweet or rich and buttery, there is a classic biscuit to suit every taste. Have a go at making some of our favourite biscuit recipes below, from custard creams to sticky coconut macaroons.

  1. Custard creams

    A bright yellow custard cream is sure to brighten up any tea break. This classic bake is made with two shortbread-style biscuits sandwiched together with a rich buttercream filling, both flavoured with sweet vanilla and custard powder for that nostalgic taste. Have a go at making your own homemade custard creams and decorate as you like: keep things simple with plain biscuits or stamp out patterns and words before baking.

    Custard creams
  2. Ginger nuts

    With their crackled tops and fiery heat, a good ginger nut biscuit is hard to beat. Unlike traditional chewy Christmas gingerbread, ginger nuts are characterised by their crisp texture, which probably explains why they are often also called ‘ginger snaps’. It also makes them excellent choices for dunking! For a twist, try adding a sweet cream cheese filling for these extra special ginger snap sandwich biscuits.

    Ginger nuts
  3. Jammy dodgers

    Crumbly, buttery shortbread stuck together with sticky, sweet jam – what’s not to like? The classic dodger is a round biscuit with a shape cut out of the top layer to show the jam peeping through the middle. Ring the changes by making your own and filling with your favourite flavour of jam or trying different designs on top, such as these personalised alphabet jazzy jammy dodgers.

    Jammy dodgers
  4. Shortbread

    Made simply with just flour, butter and sugar, traditional Scottish shortbread may seem like a deceptively plain recipe, but in fact is wonderfully rich with a delicate crumb. The secrets to this crumbly texture are the high butter content and in not working the dough too much when mixing and rolling. Although delicious on its own (cut into petticoat tails, fingers or rounds), shortbread makes a great base for other flavours – you could add chocolate chips, chopped nuts or dried fruits, or have a go at this unusual sweet-and-savoury combination of lemon and rosemary shortbread.

  5. Viennese whirls

    Although they might sound a bit exotic, Viennese whirls are in fact one of Britain’s favourite biscuits, often sandwiched with buttercream and jam or dipped in dark chocolate. The melt-in-the-mouth texture comes from using icing sugar and cornflour in the rich, buttery shortbread, which is whipped together and piped into decorative swirls. For an all-out retro recipe, we love the cherry and chocolate combination of these Black Forest Viennese whirls.

    Viennese whirls
  6. Coconut macaroons

    Definitely one for those with a sweet tooth, a chewy coconut macaroon may well conjure up childhood memories of these simple treats. Originally from France (although very different from delicate, almond-based macarons), these snowy mounds are usually made with sweetened coconut, which is bound together with whisked egg whites, and can be dipped in chocolate or even topped with jam, as in this strawberry and coconut macaroons recipe.

    Coconut macaroons
  7. Malted milks

    A hot, malty bedtime drink is a true British comfort classic, and our love of malted flavours extends to popular biscuits flavoured with it too. Malted milks are usually plain biscuits but with a distinctive tangy malt flavour and crumbly texture that makes them good for dunking. Malt flavouring also works particularly well with chocolate as in these clever chocolate chip malted-milk cookies.

    Malted milks
  8. Iced party rings

    A party just wouldn’t be a party without a stack of vibrant ring biscuits to nibble on. Definitely the most colourful of our favourite biscuits, these crisp vanilla bakes are topped with bright, feathered icing designs, making them stand out from the crowd. If making your own at home, just be sure to let the icing dry to a crisp, sugary crust before serving. For a bit of added flavour and texture, try these tasty coconut party rings.

    Iced party rings
  9. Jaffa cakes

    One of the biscuit world’s most hotly debated subjects, is it a biscuit or a cake? Whichever side you follow, it can’t be denied that the sponge, jelly and chocolate combination of a jaffa cake is one of the nation’s favourite snacks with a cuppa. Why not super-size this treat with a giant jaffa cake for an impressive pud, or a simple chocolate-orange traybake for afternoon tea.

    Jaffa cakes
  10. Savoury oatcakes

    We do love a savoury biscuit as well, whether plain as a snack, dunked in dips or served with cheese, and a true British classic is the Scottish oatcake. Hearty and robust, oatcakes have a distinct texture from the knobbly oats and wholemeal flour used, and can be plain or flavoured with herbs and spices such as in these fragrant thyme oatcakes.

    Savoury oatcakes
  11. Chocolate bourbons

    Chocolate bourbons are an all-round favourite for those with a sweet tooth. Despite their name, bourbons have nothing to do with whisky and are the perfect afternoon treat for dunking in your tea. Sandwich together two chocolate biscuits with rich chocolate buttercream for a double-decker treat that's so easy to make from scratch. Have a go with this simple recipe – you'll never want store-bought again!

    Chocolate bourbons