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Crunchy biscuits

Sat, 17 December, 2016

Dunk it in your tea or not, everyone likes a biscuit with a crunch, when it melts into sweet and buttery tenderness in your mouth, plain, simple and sublime.

crunchy biscuits

In the last BBC edition of the Great British Bake Off, a few years back, Mary Berry announced that a biscuit must be crunchy.

Must biscuits always be crunchy?

Excuse me: what about cookies? macarons?? lady fingers???

Biscuits are not crunchy by definition, at least not in the wide meaning, and apart from cantuccini they are not normally baked twice.

Jaffa cakes? Digestives? Gingerbreads?

And that’s even before we go over to America and inspect what they call ‘a biscuit’ there. Crunchy it isn’t.

I’m all for a good biscuit (although I don’t dunk), crunchy or not, but let’s not make sweeping generalisations. It’s as if someone said that all steaks must be made with fillet beef.

Crunchy is good

But I don’t make the impression that I belittle crunchiness in general. There's time and place for crunchy, as much as soft in the biscuit world.

Crunchy should not mean hard and tooth-breaking though. Crunchy is perfect when it melts in your mouth and tastes of butter and sugar - which is basically all a crunchy biscuit should be made of.

That taste takes me back to when I was a kid and used to love eating raw crumble mix before it went onto the fruit and into the oven. My Mum would frown and threaten of tummy ache but to this day I believe that uncooked biscuit dough or cake batter is one of the finest things in life.

Plus, as I was happy to discover, some seriously talented bakers share my view that you must sample raw cake batter: if it’s tasty raw, it will bake well.

And a good crunchy biscuit reminds me fondly of that raw flour/sugar/butter combo.

crunchy plain sweet biscuits

Crunchy biscuits copied from Fox’s crunch creams

I set out to make a replica of Fox’s Crunch Creams which I consider one of the best shop-bought biscuits, without question. Just the biscuit though, as the filling is where shop-bought would beat my buttercream on eat-by date (with lots of E-numbers).

But if you wanted to do the full works, the sandwich biscuits filling is pretty simple: it’s basically just thick icing with added melted butter. Dive here (not just on Valentine's Day) for the filling recipe.

How to make a copy of Fox’s Creams?

By trial and error they came about. I made the first batch with the addition of some egg as the dough wouldn’t come together but it was wrong. The resulting biscuits had not enough crunch, not enough melt.

The second time round I only added a bit of lemon juice to help the dough gel - and the result was spot on.

Because the truth is as said above: good biscuits are a combination of sugar, butter and flour in perfect proportions.

perfect plain biscuits

Do biscuit dough need to chill?

It depends how you want to handle it. The simplest way is to shape a long dough sausage and slice it into rounds. For that it needs to be chilled, otherwise you’ll end up with squashed shapeless cookies instead of perfect discs.

But if you fancy cutting shapes, roll out the dough straight after it’s made. Cut your shapes, arrange them on the baking trays and only then chill them while the oven is heating up. What’s important is that they go into the oven cold – that’s the guarantee of the crunch and the ‘short’ texture.

Biscuits for desserts

There is nothing lovelier (or more British) than a biscuit alongside your cup of tea or coffee, and these play the part perfectly. But you can use them in various puddings, trifle first and foremost, which is not my favourite hence I don’t even have a recipe for it.

Crumble a biscuit over vanilla ice cream or serve two or three with chocolate mousse, panna cotta or lemon posset.

crunchy biscuits with lemon posset

Sandwich them with lemon curd for a quick treat, or with any leftover buttercream that you prudently stored in the freezer for such an occasion.

More British biscuit recipes

Classic shortbread is the ultimate crunchy biscuit, surely. Good shortbread has a melting crunch; a bad one explodes into dry crumbs.

Another classic: ginger snaps. They are never gingery enough in my experience!

And the most easily recognisable: milk chocolate digestives. Yes, you can make them at home.

digestive biscuits

More biscuit recipes from all over the world

Crunchy biscuits from across the Atlantic are called sugar cookies: like snickerdoodles for instance.

And in France they are called ‘sablé’ – sand biscuits. Here with cocoa nibs and a chocolate drizzle.

The Italian version is truly crunchy: no wonder, as they are baked twice, in the true meaning of the word ‘biscotti’.

Crunchy biscuits

Servings: 3 dozen biscuitsTime: 30 minutes plus chilling pastry
Rating: (6 reviews)


  • 100g (1 stick minus 1 tbsp.) butter, slightly softened
  • 100g (12 cup) caster sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200g (123 cup) plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. light corn syrup (use golden syrup or honey as an alternative; each will alter the taste slightly)
  • 2 tsp lemon juice


1. Cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy, add the vanilla extract. Stir the flour with the baking powder into the mix, add the corn syrup and mix everything into soft dough, adding the lemon juice to help the dough come together.

2. Roll it up into a sausage about 4-4cm in diameter, wrap it in cling film and chill for at least an hour until firm.

biscuits dough

3. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/gas 5. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment.

4. When the dough has chilled, slice it with a sharp knife into 3mm thick discs, place them on the baking sheets well-spaced out and bake for 8 minutes until light golden around the edges. Cool on the wire rack.

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Your comments

Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Christopher - they will firm up as they cool.
7 months ago
christopher chorley
@google chrome
hi just finished baking these biscuits, firstly for 8 minutes, but still doughy, gave it another 5 minutes baking, came out still doughy, i have followed recipe to the letter. what am i doing wrong or will the biscuits firm up after resting??
7 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Perhaps they think that this free content is worth scrolling past a few adverts which help keep it free.
9 months ago
whatever keeps viewers on a webpage with SO many irritating pop up adverts?
9 months ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Jon - pleased to hear you liked them. Mind you, if you use less sugar it will change the texture: they will be very crumbly. Cutting back 1/4 should be ok.
3 years ago
Jon Eaton
Great and crunchy, the texture is brilliant, just what I wanted. Too much sugar for me though. I'm going to make them again but with half the sugar. I've been living in Poland for the past 18 years so I am not used to the English sweet tooth anymore (: Thanks
3 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
I'll have to make my own batch to test it! Thank you for the comments!
3 years ago
Lorraine Thomas
Thanks for your reply. However, I made the correct number of biscuits so the thickness/size must have been correct. My oven was heated to Corre t temperature.
3 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Lorraine - I'm pleased you liked them. Perhaps you cut them thicker or the oven took longer to heat up. They usually set whilst cooling so yours must have been very well baked when they came out.
3 years ago
Lorraine Thomas
Biscuits are nice enough. However, following the recipe, they were uncooked after 8 mins, I ended up cooking them for 19 minutes. Nothing wrong with my Neff oven.
3 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Andy - that's a very good question. In my experience the best way to achieve a lighter crumb while keeping it crunchy is not to overbake them. I take my biscuits out when barely coloured around the edges. The longer you bake, the harder they become.
4 years ago
Nice i'll give it a try
4 years ago
Andy Lowdon
Hi and thanks very much for sharing your recipe. I'm hoping it's a very close match indeed to Fox's butter crinkles. They are one of my all-time favourites but it would appear they are no longer available to buy, hence my search for a decent recipe. My first impression when I saw your recipe was that it very closely resembles my ginger snap recipe, minus a couple of spoonfuls of ground ginger. However, when I've made them before, I have found them to be a lot harder than any pre bought ones. I guess what I'm trying to ask is what is the best way to produce a lighter crumb whilst keeping it crunchy, I'm of the Mary school of thought regarding crunchy biscuits but very much value my teeth.
4 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Anna - I'm really happy to hear that!
4 years ago
Anna Sayer
At last a recipe that works. I have tried sooo.. many biscuit recipes and only a few have worked. I bake all the time, but biscuits are my nemesis! I made some that were perfect, made them twice more and they were different each time? Thank you for this recipe.
4 years ago
Kelly c
Hi! Anna, thank you for reply. I will try out first using cookie cutter, if its spreads I'll try to reduce some syrup/honey . I'll update u soon.
4 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Kelly - yes it is but it spreads quite a little while baking so the shapes may lose their shape a bit!
4 years ago
Kelly C
Hi! Do u think this cookie dough suitable for cut out the shapes with cookie cutter?
4 years ago
This is a very good article. Thank you for sharing. I look forward to publishing more such works. There are not many such articles in this field.
4 years ago
Anna @ CuisineFiend
Hi Mick - if it's just briefly, the syrup probably doesn't get hot enough to affect the texture. But don't forget it doesn't melt with the butter and sugar immediately, in fact the dough should be chilled before baking. Generally solid ingredients and chilling make for crisp or crunchy texture while liquid or melted - for softer. Hope this helps!
4 years ago
Mick Cammish
When making basic crunch I stand the syrup tin in hot water briefly to make it more viscous and manageable to gauge 3 tsp. My wife tells me this is wrong. My argument is that the syrup is immediately mixed with sugar and butter and melted. Any comments please?
4 years ago

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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