Confession time: I am addicted to bourbons. Not the liquor, of course, I’m nowhere near that rock’n’roll, but the chocolate sandwich biscuits. Admittedly I have a hearty appetite, but with bourbons it’s something else entirely – I will eat as many as there are in my vicinity. When I was a child I would munch my way through half a packet quite comfortably before my parents noticed and confiscated the chocolatey treats, and it’s only due to extreme self-discipline that I don’t do the same now. I simply gaze longingly at the packets in the supermarket, but never allow myself to purchase any.
Even when I got The Primrose Bakery Book and saw this recipe many moons ago, I managed to restrain myself and lasted a good eight months before crumbling and baking a batch for myself. I suppose it was foolish of me to think that I would maintain any decorum in the baking process: I love sneaking bits of raw batter or dough when I bake, and I love bourbons. Obviously bourbon dough is a thing of unimaginable beauty. It must be the golden syrup, making the dough so sweet, soft and pliable. So a fair bit of the dough didn’t exactly make it to the oven, but the biscuits I did make were really lovely. And I didn’t even eat the whole lot by myself in one sitting, which shows a surprising amount of generosity and restraint. How I’ve matured!
For the biscuits:
225g vegan margarine/spread
225g golden caster sugar (I just used standard caster sugar)
4 heaped tsp golden syrup
340g self raising flour
115g cocoa powder
4 tbsp water (more if needed)
For the filling:
2 tbsp cocoa powder
4 tsp warm water
115g vegan margarine/spread
6 tbsp icing sugar (more if needed)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Make the biscuits first. Preheat the oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Cream the spread, sugar and golden syrup together in a bowl.
2. Sift the flour, cornflour and cocoa powder into the bowl, add the water and beat together. I added a splash more water, you may need to do the same – but be cautious as it can turn sticky quite quickly. Bring it together and knead it into a thick dough. You can either chill it in the fridge or use it straight away. If you are a fan of unbaked dough (and who isn’t?), let me tell you that it is absolutely insanely delicious at this stage.
3. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a thickness of 3-4mm.Cut out 5cm circles – I’d recommend flouring the cutter to avoid the misshapen circles I ended up with.
4. Place the circles on the prepared baking tray, leaving a little space between them as they spread a bit. Bake for 10-12 minutes – obviously they are already dark, so don’t let them overcook, take them out when they have firmed up but are not completely solid.
5. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool.
6. Meanwhile, get started on the icing. Stir together the cocoa powder and warm water to form a paste. In a separate bowl, beat the spread, icing sugar and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the cocoa paste. (I chilled it for a while here, but if you live in a cooler climate this may not be necessary.)
7. Sandwich 2 biscuits together with a thin layer of icing. Devour them, if you are like me, immediately.