The holidays are about many things (family, friends, gratitude…), and cookies are most certainly one of them.
My family didn’t grow up doing the whole Christmas cookie exchange thing, and to be honest, my love for holiday baking has really only developed over the last few years when I’ve joined friends in their more typical celebrations. But in that short time, I’ve picked up on some favorites: my co-worker’s unbelievable pumpkin truffle cookies, my bestie’s seven layer bars, and another friend who bakes the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet.
At my office this year, we’re doing a Christmas cookie exchange where everyone brings in a batch of their favorite cookies to share. And not just with the people in the office; we’re packing up cookie boxes to mail out to our team members who live in different parts of the country. My colleagues have been brainstorming which cookie captures their essence; we’ve chatted about buckeyes, a midwestern classic, and others are creating variations on the classic sugar cookie. I’ll be bringing in a batch of the one cookie that embodies my childhood: the Bourbon biscuit.
Bourbon biscuits don’t actually contain any bourbon in them. And no, I don’t know why they’re called bourbon biscuits, I just know that I love them. Every time we’d go to the Indian store on the other side of Houston, my mom would let my brother and me pick out one packaged sweet treat from the snacks aisle. Sometimes we’d pick plain tea biscuits to dip in chai, other times we’d go for something coconut-y, but bourbon biscuits were the one cookie that I never had any regrets about choosing.
This is a sandwich cookie: two chocolate shortbread-like biscuits are sandwiched together by chocolate buttercream. They’re crisp and snap when broken in two, and the filling is soft and sweet, making them a delicious tea time snack (or midnight munchie, or, let’s be honest, any time indulgence.)
They’re easy to make and satisfy that chocolate craving when it strikes. I improved upon the original recipe by using chocolate hazelnut spread instead of buttercream for a more flavorful cookie. These bourbons will be a staple in my cookie box this season, and if you happen to catch me in the holiday spirit, I might just share. Scroll on for the recipe.
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar (110 g)
- 1 1/2 cups of flour (195 g)
- 2 tbsp of milk powder
- 5 tbsp cocoa powder
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp espresso powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp of milk
- chocolate hazelnut spread for filling
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the softened butter and powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy, until the sugar has combined with the butter.
- Sift together the flour, milk powder, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and salt. Add to the whipped butter and sugar in two parts. The dough should be crumbly at this point. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Mix on low speed and add the milk one tablespoon at a time. The dough will come together, scrape down the sides again. The dough will stick together, but shouldn't be sticky on your hands. Remove from the mixing bowl and shape the dough into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Store in fridge for at least an hour, but a few hours is better.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Remove the dough disc from the plastic wrap and place between two sheets of parchment paper. Roll the dough between the parchment until it is about 1/8 inch thick. You can make thicker cookies, but they will be softer and less crunchy when baked.
- Cut the dough into rectangles about 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 11 - 12 minutes. Any longer and the bottoms of the cookies start to take on too much color.
- Remove from oven and let cool.
- When cooled, spread a layer of chocolate hazelnut filling between the cookies and sandwich together. Enjoy!