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Sedgemoor Easter biscuits

Updated: Sat, 2 March, 2024

Sedgemoor Easter biscuits, traditional English biscuits from Somerset in West Country, are like delicious shortbreads speckled with currants and glazed with vanilla icing.

sedgemoor easter biscuits

Bakes for Easter

My Easter baking repertoire has recently gained a valuable new addition: Sedgemoor biscuits. They are traditional, and English, joining the Easter brigade led by hot cross buns and Simnel cake.

They might not be on par with the sophisticatedly advanced bakes of colomba, Italian Easter dove cake or Greek tsoureki which houses actual, hard boiled eggs, but they are homely, easy to make and very delicious.

somerset biscuits

Where is Sedgemoor?

Sometimes called Somerset biscuits, they come from the West Country and appear in time for Easter, to be nibbled alongside chocolate eggs on Easter Sunday. That is of course if anyone is able to just ‘nibble’ at chocolate eggs.

Sedgemoor is the western part of Somerset, England, the bit of the country southwest of Bath which I don’t usually think of as Somerset but it’s probably just because my knowledge of geography is rather shoddy.

But I know that much: it's one of my favourite parts of the world, none the less because they have lovely food and drink there. Famous for Cheddar and cider already, it now turns out they do a good biscuit as well, and for Easter!

english easter biscuits

Wholemeal twist

This particular recipe uses a mix of wholemeal and plain white flours. I was initially slightly dubious about its authenticity as it comes from New York Times Cooking of all places. Do they even know it’s not about the Somerset, New Jersey?

But I compared it with some West Country recipes and the only modification discernible in the New York Times version was the small addition of wholemeal flour. Which I accepted and rightly so: it is a winner mix as the biscuits taste more interestingly crunchy and earthy, and less like something you might find next to your tea cup in an old-fashioned musty tea room.

As is the case with chocolate eggs at Easter, Sedgemoor biscuits too are often gifted to friends and family. They should be presented in stacks of three, tied with a ribbon which makes them look rather lovely.

iced and spiced easter sedgemoor biscuits

Easy to make

Sedgemoor biscuits are very easy to make and start their pastry life like shortbread: with butter rubbed into the flour mix. Spices and vanilla follow, and just one egg makes the dough come beautifully together.

sedgemoor biscuit dough

The spices are nutmeg, vanilla, mixed spice and cinnamon. Interestingly, it used to be oil of Cassia instead of cinnamon, because allegedly (and slightly morbidly) it was used in embalming Christ's body. But though it is sometimes available as an essential oil, it is much harder to find its cooking equivalent, suitable for consumption.

Traditionally the Easter biscuits are studded with currants. If you prefer seedless fruit, swap them for raisins. I actually like the crunch of the pips in these cookies though generally I am the raisin/sultana kind of baker.

The dough is nice to work with and rolls out well without the otherwise statutory chill in the fridge. It can be rolled out on a flour dusted surface straight after it comes together. Cutting round or scalloped biscuits is the tradition but if you fancy Easter bunnies, butterflies or little lamb shapes, go all out.

cutting sedgemoor biscuits

The icing also should be traditionally modest and simple, Somerset-style plain vanilla flavoured. But there is no reason why a drop of pink or yellow food colouring should not find its way to the glaze. Which, incidentally, should be applied twice, for glossier, brighter finish.

icing sedgemoor biscuits

More Easter recipes

Best hot cross buns ever: wholemeal, with tons of raisins, piped crosses and delicious sticky honey glaze. There’s no better spring breakfast than a buttered hot cross bun.

Colomba di Pasqua, Easter Dove is the traditional Italian cake baked for Easter in cases shaped like a dove. A gorgeous, almond studded and orange flavoured colomba is perfect for Easter Sunday.

Traditionally Simnel cake was a rich yeast cake, with marzipan layer inside and marzipan topping. This adapted Victorian recipe is made with yeast dough and homemade marzipan.

More biscuit recipes

Thin and super-crunchy, spicy and melting, old fashioned ginger snaps are a snap to make! Grab that jar of stem ginger from the back of the cupboard and put the syrup to good use.

Homemade egg white sponge fingers, aka ladyfingers or savoiardi, for your next trifle, tiramisu or chocolate mousse. Or they might just disappear on their own.

Petit beurre biscuits: the childhood throwback and a plain and simple accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. Easily made with a special stamp cutter.

somerset biscuits before icing

Sedgemoor Easter biscuits

Servings: 2 dozen biscuitsTime: 50 minutes


  • 100g (23 cup) dried currants
  • 20g (1 tbsp) brandy
  • 100g (1 cup minus 1 tbsp) wholemeal flour
  • 120g (1 cup) plain flour
  • 12 tsp salt
  • 110g (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  • 110g (12 cup plus 1 tbsp) caster sugar
  • 12 tsp cinnamon
  • 14 tsp nutmeg
  • 14 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • For the icing:
  • 90g (1 cup) icing sugar
  • 4 tsp milk


1. Place the currants in a bowl or a ziplock bag, heat up the brandy in the microwave and pour it over the currants. Seal the bag or cover the bowl.

2. Mix both flours with the salt, dice in the butter and mix with an electric mixer or rub in with your fingers until it resembles coarse crumbs.

3. Stir the spices and 1 tsp vanilla extract (leave the other tsp for the icing) into the caster sugar and add to the flour mixture. Add the egg and the soaked currants and mix on low speed until it all just blends together – it will look very much like wet sand. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead into a ball.

4. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Prepare a large baking sheet lined with parchment.

5. Roll the dough out to a disc about 112 - 2cm (34 inch) thick. Using a 6cm (212 inch) round cookie cutter (scalloped if you have one) cut the biscuits and place on the baking sheet. They can go quite close together as they only spread a little.

6. Bake the biscuits for 20 minutes until set and pale golden.

7. For the icing, mix the remaining vanilla extract into milk in a small cup, warm it up a little in the microwave and pour into a bowl with icing sugar, beating well until smooth.

8. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush them with the icing straight away. Leave them to set and brush another layer on top. Leave them to cool completely, and then tie them with a ribbon in stacks of three, if you like.

Originally published: Wed, 23 March, 2016

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Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Sydney - mixed spice is a blend you can buy in the UK, similar to gingerbread spice sold in other countries. To make your own, mix 1 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp allspice, 2 tsp grated nutmeg, 1 tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp ground coriander and a little ground mace if available.
5 years ago
what is the mixed spice consist of please?
5 years ago

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