The Great British Bake Off's most scrumptious recipes: Eight brilliant biscuits you MUST try

MILLIONAIRE'S SHORTBREAD  

These indulgent squares have a buttery shortbread base, topped with luscious, slightly salted caramel and dark chocolate.

Makes 16 squares

These indulgent squares have a buttery shortbread base, topped with luscious, slightly salted caramel and dark chocolate

These indulgent squares have a buttery shortbread base, topped with luscious, slightly salted caramel and dark chocolate

For the shortbread

  • 125g (4½oz) plain flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 125g (4½oz) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 50g (1¾oz) icing sugar

For the caramel

  • 125g (4½oz) caster sugar
  • 75g (2¾oz) golden syrup
  • 50g (1¾oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 250ml (9fl oz) double cream
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 75g (2¾oz) unsalted butter
  • Pinch of sea salt flakes
  • 25g (1oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped

For the topping

  • 125g (4½oz) dark chocolate, at least 70 per cent cocoa solids, finely chopped
  • 50g (1¾oz) white chocolate, finely chopped
  1. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4 and line the base and sides of the baking tin with baking paper.
  2. Start by making the shortbread base. Tip the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a food processor. Add the diced butter and rub into the flour using your fingertips or the pulse button on the food processor. When there are no visible specks of butter remaining, add the icing sugar and mix again to combine. Continue pulsing or rubbing in until the dough just starts to clump together.
  3. Tip the shortbread mix into the prepared tin and press level using your fingertips or the back of a spoon.
  4. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  5. To make the caramel, tip the caster sugar, golden syrup and light muscovado sugar into a medium-sized saucepan. Add the double cream, vanilla bean paste and unsalted butter. Set the pan over a low heat and, stirring frequently, melt the butter and dissolve the sugar.
  6. When the mixture is smooth, pop a sugar thermometer into the pan and raise the heat slightly to bring the caramel to the boil. Keep cooking steadily, stirring from time to time to prevent the caramel scorching. When the caramel reaches 120c (250f) or just over the soft ball stage, slide the pan off the heat. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer, you can test the caramel by dropping ½ tsp into a cup of very cold water — it should set into a firm ball.
  7. Remove the thermometer from the pan and, when the bubbling stops, add the chopped chocolate and sea salt flakes. Stir to combine and pour the caramel into the tin over the baked shortbread. The caramel should cover the shortbread in a smooth layer. Leave until cool and set firm.
  8. Tip the dark chocolate for the topping into a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl. Set over a pan of barely simmering water — do not allow the bowl to touch the water or the chocolate may scorch. Stir until smooth and completely melted, then remove from the heat and leave to cool for ten minutes.
  9. Pour the chocolate over the top of the caramel and spread into an even layer with a palette knife. Leave until set firm. Melt white chocolate in the same way. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly before spooning into a disposable piping bag. Snip the end into a fine point and pipe lines over the dark chocolate. Draw the point of a cocktail stick through the lines to feather. Leave to set, then cut into squares.

LEMON BUTTER COOKIES

Fresh looking and tasting, these lemon biscuits are very pretty when iced in contrasting colours, making them ideal for children’s parties.

Makes about 30 biscuits

Fresh looking and tasting, these lemon biscuits are very pretty when iced in contrasting colours, making them ideal for children’s parties

Fresh looking and tasting, these lemon biscuits are very pretty when iced in contrasting colours, making them ideal for children’s parties

Kit you’ll need

  • 2 baking sheets, lined with baking paper
  • 7cm (2¾in) and 2cm (¾in) round fluted cookie cutters
  • 3 disposable piping bags

For the cookie dough

  • 125g (4½oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 125g (4½oz) caster sugar
  • Finely grated zest of ½ unwaxed lemon
  • ½ tsp lemon extract
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • 200g (7oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 30g (1oz) cornflour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt

For the icing

  • 500g (1lb 2oz) royal icing sugar
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice
  • Food colouring pastes in assorted colours
  1. Cream together the butter and caster sugar until pale and light. This is most easily and quickly done using a free-standing mixer fitted with a creamer/paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer — but can also be done by hand using a wooden spoon and mixing bowl.
  2. Add the lemon zest and extract, and mix well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, add the egg and mix again until thoroughly combined.
  3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt and gradually add to the creamed mixture. Mix until smooth and bring the dough together into a neat ball using your hands. Flatten into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 2 hours.
  4. Line two baking sheets with baking paper and lightly dust the work surface with flour. Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 2mm (1/16 in) and, using the larger cutter, stamp out as many rounds from the dough as you can. Arrange on the prepared baking sheets, then use the smaller cutter to stamp out circles from the middle of each biscuit. Gather the dough off-cuts into a ball and re-roll to make more shapes. Chill the biscuits for 30 minutes and then preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas.
  5. Bake on the middle shelf for about 12 minutes, until the edges of the biscuits are lightly golden and firm to the touch. Leave to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Tip the royal icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add the 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice and enough cold water to make an icing that is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, whisking continuously until the icing is glossy and the right consistency. Divide the icing between three bowls and tint each a different colour using food colouring pastes. Add the paste gradually on the point of a cocktail stick or wooden skewer until the desired shade is reached.
  7. Dip the top of each biscuit into icing to coat, allowing any excess to drip back into the bowl, and return the biscuits to the cooling racks. Spoon 1-2 tablespoons of each coloured icing into disposable piping bags and snip the end of each bag into a fine point.
  8. Pipe fine lines across each biscuit in contrasting colours, then drag a clean cocktail stick or wooden skewer through the icing in opposite directions to feather. Leave until the icing has set before eating.

VIENNESE WHIRLS 

These delicate, melt-in-the-mouth sandwich biscuits can show off your piping skills.

Makes 18-20 biscuits

These delicate, melt-in-the-mouth sandwich biscuits can show off your piping skills

These delicate, melt-in-the-mouth sandwich biscuits can show off your piping skills

Kit you’ll need

  • 2 baking sheets
  • Baking paper
  • Large piping bag with large star nozzle

For the biscuits

  • 250g (9oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 100g (3½oz) icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 250g (9oz) plain flour
  • 30g (1oz) cornflour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp milk

For the buttercream filling

  • 75g (2¾oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or ½ tsp vanilla-bean paste
  • 175g (6oz) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  1. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Tip the butter into the bowl of a food mixer fitted with a creamer attachment and beat for 2-3 minutes until pale, light and soft. Alternatively, cream by hand using a bowl and wooden spoon. Add the icing sugar and vanilla and beat again until smooth.
  3. Sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and salt into the bowl and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the milk and mix for another 30 seconds.
  4. Spoon the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large star nozzle and pipe 10-12 tight rosette spirals, each 5cm (¼in) in diameter, on to each baking sheet, leaving space in between to allow for spreading during baking. Chill the biscuits for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 170c/150c fan/gas 3.
  5. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 10-12 minutes, until pale golden at the edges. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then use a palette knife or fish slice to carefully transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. To make the buttercream filling, beat the butter until pale and really soft, add the vanilla and mix again. Gradually add the icing sugar until the buttercream is pale, light and soft.
  7. Spoon the buttercream into the clean piping bag fitted with the star nozzle. Turn half the biscuits upside down and pipe a rosette of buttercream on each. Spread the underside of the remaining biscuits with a little jam and sandwich the halves together. Lightly dust with icing sugar to serve.

CHOCOLATE DIGESTIVES 

Chocolate digestives are especially good when home-made. You can use dark or milk chocolate – but always use 70 per cent cocoa solids.

Makes 30 biscuits

Chocolate digestives are especially good when home-made. You can use dark or milk chocolate – but always use 70 per cent cocoa solids

Chocolate digestives are especially good when home-made. You can use dark or milk chocolate – but always use 70 per cent cocoa solids

For the biscuits

  • 175g (6oz) plain wholemeal flour
  • 100g (3½oz) medium oatmeal
  • 75g (2¾oz) plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g (7oz) chilled unsalted butter, diced
  • 80g (2¾oz) soft light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 225g (8oz) milk or dark chocolate
  • 1 tsp sunflower or groundnut oil
  1. Sift the wholemeal flour, oatmeal, plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl. Any bran left in the sieve can be tipped back into the bowl. Add the diced butter and rub into the dry ingredients using your hands. You can also do this with a free-standing mixer fitted with the creamer attachment. When there are no visible flecks of butter remaining and the mixture is the texture of coarse sand, add the soft light brown sugar and mix well to combine.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the mixture, add the milk and use a palette knife to bring the dough together into clumps.
  3. Very gently knead the dough in your hands, just to bring the dough into a neat, smooth ball. Try not to overwork the dough otherwise the resulting biscuits will be tough rather than crisp and crumbly. Now, flatten the dough into an even disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour until firm.
  4. Now line the two baking sheets with the baking paper.
  5. Lightly dust the work surface with plain flour and roll the chilled dough out to a thickness of 2-3mm (1/16-1/8in). Using the cutter, stamp out as many rounds from the dough as you can and arrange on the prepared baking sheets, leaving space between each one. Gather any scraps and off-cuts together into a ball, re-roll and stamp out more biscuits. Prick each biscuit a couple of times with a fork and chill for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 170c/150c fan/gas 3.
  6. Bake the digestives on the middle shelf of the oven for about 11 minutes, until firm and light gold in colour. Cool on the trays for about 3 minutes then transfer to a wire cooling rack until cool and crisp.
  7. Chop the chocolate into chunks and tip into a heatproof glass or ceramic bowl. Add the oil and place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water to melt, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Stir occasionally until smooth and then remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.
  8. Dip the underside of each digestive biscuit into the melted chocolate, allow any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl.
  9. Place the digestive, chocolate side uppermost, either back on the wire rack or on a sheet of baking paper. Before the chocolate sets dip the flat side of the tines of a fork across each biscuit to leave ripples in the chocolate. Leave until the chocolate has set before serving or storing in an airtight container.

JOYOUS JAMMY DODGERS 

These crumbly sandwich biscuits can be stamped with whatever shape takes your fancy — just make sure you can see the jam and they are dusted with icing sugar.

Makes about 24

These crumbly sandwich biscuits can be stamped with whatever shape takes your fancy — just make sure you can see the jam and they are dusted with icing sugar.

These crumbly sandwich biscuits can be stamped with whatever shape takes your fancy — just make sure you can see the jam and they are dusted with icing sugar.

Kit you’ll need

  • 2 baking sheets
  • 6-7cm (2½-2¾in) round cookie cutter
  • 2cm (¾in) shaped cookie cutter

For the biscuits

  • 100g (3½oz) blanched hazelnuts
  • 250g (9oz) plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • 225g (8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 100g (3½oz) caster sugar
  • 50g (1¾oz) icing sugar
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4-5 tbsp good-quality raspberry jam
  • Icing sugar, for dusting
  1. Tip the hazelnuts into a food processor, add 1 tbsp of the flour and whizz until finely ground. Adding the flour will prevent the nuts becoming oily as they are ground.
  2. Cream together the butter, caster sugar and icing sugar until pale, light and fluffy — this will be quickest and easiest using a free-standing mixer fitted with a creamer/paddle attachment. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl using a rubber spatula. Add the egg yolks one at a time, mixing between each, then add the vanilla and mix until combined.
  3. Sift the remaining plain flour, baking powder and salt into the bowl. Add the ground hazelnuts and slowly mix into the creamed mixture until smooth. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill for one hour. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  4. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half of the dough to a thickness of 2mm (1/16in). Stamp out biscuits using the larger cookie cutter. Re-shape any leftover dough into a ball, re-roll and cut out more biscuits. Repeat with the second portion of dough.
  5. Arrange the uncooked biscuits on the lined baking sheets and, using smaller cutters, stamp out shapes from the middle of half of them. Chill again for 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 170c/150c fan/gas 3.
  6. Bake the biscuits in batches on the middle shelf of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes or until they are a pale golden brown. Cool on the baking sheets for two minutes and then carefully transfer to a cooling rack.
  7. Once the biscuits are completely cool, spread jam sparingly on to the solid biscuits, leaving a 1cm (½in) border around the edge. Dust the biscuits for the top of the sandwich with icing sugar and press on to each jam-covered biscuit.

SPONGE FINGERS

Also known as ladyfingers or savoiardis, these light-as-air biscuits owe their shape to being piped.

Makes 36 biscuits

Kit you’ll need

  • 2 baking sheets
  • Baking paper
  • Large piping bag
  • 1cm (½in) plain piping nozzle

For the sponge fingers

  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 125g (4½oz) caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • ½ vanilla pod, slit lengthways and seeds scraped out or ½ tsp vanilla-bean paste
  • Pinch of salt
  • 60g (2¼oz) plain flour
  1. Line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Tip the egg yolks into a bowl and add half of the caster sugar and all of the vanilla (seeds or paste). Using a hand-held or free-standing mixer, whisk on high speed until thick, pale and the mixture will hold a ribbon trail when the whisk is lifted from the bowl.
  3. In another, spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the salt until stiff but not dry. Add the remaining caster sugar in three batches, whisking well between each addition, until the egg whites are silky smooth and glossy. Using a large metal spoon, fold the egg whites into the yolk mixture. Sift the flour into the mixture and fold in until thoroughly combined.
  4. Fill piping bag with the mixture and, using the nozzle, pipe even lengths, roughly the size of your finger, in neat lines on to the baking paper. Keep the biscuits 2cm (1/16in) apart to allow enough space for them to spread. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave for 15 minutes as you preheat oven to 170c/150c fan/gas 3.
  5. Bake the biscuits in batches on the middle shelf of the oven for about ten minutes, until crisp and pale golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheets.

FLORENTINES 

The fruit and nut combination in these elegant biscuits can be varied, but choose a bright combination for a jewelled look.

The fruit and nut combination in these elegant biscuits can be varied, but choose a bright combination for a jewelled look

The fruit and nut combination in these elegant biscuits can be varied, but choose a bright combination for a jewelled look

Makes 16 biscuits

Kit you’ll need

  1. 2 baking sheets
  2. Disposable piping bag
  3. Baking paper

For the Florentines

  • 75g (2¾oz) glacé cherries, preferably naturally coloured
  • 75g (2¾oz) chopped candied peel
  • 50g (1¾oz) blanched almonds
  • 25g (1oz) shelled and unsalted slivered pistachios
  • 25g (1oz) flaked almonds
  • 25g (1oz) unsalted butter
  • 50g (1¾oz) demerara sugar
  • 1 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 25g (1oz) plain flour
  • Pinch of ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt

For the chocolate coating

  • 175g (6oz) dark chocolate, 70 per cent cocoa solids
  • 75g (2¾oz) white chocolate
  1. Preheat the oven to 170c/150c/ fan/gas 3 and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  2. Prepare the dried fruit and nuts first. Rinse the glacé cherries to remove any sticky syrup and pat dry on kitchen paper. Quarter the cherries and tip into a bowl with the candied peel. Chop the blanched almonds and add to the cherries along with the slivered pistachios and flaked almonds. Mix and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter, demerara sugar and 1 tbsp honey in a small pan over a low heat, stirring continuously to prevent the sugar catching on the bottom of the pan. Add the double cream, mix to combine and pour into the bowl of fruit and nuts. Mix well.
  4. Add the plain flour, ginger and salt, and mix until smooth.
  5. Spoon level dessertspoons of the mixture on to the prepared baking sheets, leaving plenty of space between each mound. Next flatten them slightly with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 12 minutes or until the edges of the Florentines are tinged golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheets until crisp.
  7. Melt dark and white chocolate separately in heatproof glass or ceramic bowls by setting each over separate pans of barely simmering water. Stir gently until smooth before removing from the heat and leaving to cool slightly. Now dip the underside of each Florentine biscuit into the melted dark chocolate so they have an even layer.
  8. Spoon the melted white chocolate into a disposable piping bag, snip the end into a fine nozzle and pipe a rough criss-cross design over the dark chocolate. Leave the Florentines until the chocolate has set and hardened before serving. 

CUSTARD CREAMS 

These old-school favourites have a double hit of custard in the biscuit dough and the buttercream filling.

Makes 20 biscuits

These old-school favourites have a double hit of custard in the biscuit dough and the buttercream filling

These old-school favourites have a double hit of custard in the biscuit dough and the buttercream filling

Kit you’ll need

  • 2 baking sheets
  • Baking paper
  • 5cm (2in) square biscuit cutters

For the biscuits

  • 225g (8oz) plain flour, plus extra for rolling out
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 50g (1¾oz) custard powder
  • 50g (1¾oz) icing sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 175g (6oz) unsalted butter, chilled and diced
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the filling

  • 50g (1¾oz) white chocolate, chopped
  • 100g (3½oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • 50g (1¾oz) icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp custard powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Sift the flour, baking powder, custard powder, icing sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor and whizz for 30 seconds to combine. Add the diced butter and process until it has been completely rubbed into the dry ingredients. You can also do this using a free-standing mixer fitted with a creamer/paddle attachment or rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your hands.
  2. Add the milk and vanilla extract and mix again just until the dough starts to clump together. Tip the dough into a large mixing bowl and use your hands to squeeze and very lightly knead the dough into a smooth ball. Don’t overwork the mixture or your resulting biscuits will shrink and toughen as they bake. Flatten into a disc, cover with cling film and chill for one hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/gas 4 and line two baking sheets with baking paper.
  4. Lightly dust the work surface with plain flour and roll out the dough to a thickness of 2mm (1/16in). Stamp out shapes with biscuit cutters and place on the lined baking sheets. Gather scraps of dough together and shape into a ball, then re-roll and stamp out more biscuits. Press decorative indent patterns into the top of each (try using the lemon-zesting side of a grater) and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for ten to 11 minutes, or until firm and starting to turn very pale golden at the edges.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave the biscuits to rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare the custard filling. Melt the white chocolate in a small heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Remove from the heat, stir until smooth and leave to cool. Beat the butter, icing sugar, custard powder and vanilla extract together until smooth, pale and light. Add the cooled, melted white chocolate and stir until smooth.
  7. Use a palette knife to spread the underside of half of the biscuits with buttercream and sandwich with the remaining biscuits, making sure the pretty sides are on the outside.

 

The comments below have not been moderated.

The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.

By posting your comment you agree to our house rules.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now