NOTE: when I say biscuit in this post, I’m referring to the British word for cookie. I think of a biscuit as a certain type of cookie: one which is thin and always dry and crunchy, never soft or chewy. What I do not mean by biscuit is a scone-type-thing. Okay. Cool. Let’s proceed.
Whenever I go abroad, I bring a packet of HobNobs with me. In fact, when I was in New York a few months ago and I FORGOT to bring them with me, I coerced my friend who was visiting me into buying some in the airport. I had to ration them out for that month, keeping them in the fridge due to the fact it was regularly getting to 30 degrees in the apartment. But a cold hobnob pairs perfectly with a cup of Earl Grey tea (that’s another thing I bring with me always. Tea bags.).
Why am I so fanatical about these biscuits?? Because they’re probably My Favourite Tea-Dipping Biscuit. A sturdy, oat base flavoured simply with golden syrup and held together with a coating of chocolate. Once dipped the chocolate melts and the biscuit doesn’t become utterly soggy – it retains some bite. Okay so you may read this thinking I’m crazy but the dunkability of a biscuit is SERIOUS business in England. There’s nothing more disastrous than dipping a biscuit into your cup of tea and watching it disintegrate as it falls to the bottom of the mug.
Cue Kate Doran’s (a.k.a. The Little Loaf) new cookbook Homemade Memories*. I flicked through the pages and this hobnob recipe caught my eye immediately. How hobnobs were made had always been a mystery so I was keen to give the recipe a go. I have to say, I was incredibly tempted to make the soft-serve frozen yogurt (which uses egg whites to create the right texture…oooh) and the jam-packed doughnuts, too.
The hobnobs turned out amazingly well, probably even better than the shop-bought version because these used butter (not palm oil) so had even more flavour! They’re oaty, crisp and dunkable! As chocolate hobnobs usually have a kind of cross-hatched drip pattern on them (not sure how else to describe it so take a look) which I couldn’t recreate, I just drizzled them with extra chocolate for a decorative effect. That step is completely optional, as is actually coating them with chocolate – plain HobNobs are a thing – but, to be honest, why would you go for plain if there’s a chocolate option?
-recipe adapted slightly from Homemade Memories by Kate Doran*
– I also made these biscuits using Hjorthornssal (a.k.a. Baker’s Ammonia) instead of the baking powder. It made even lighter, crisper biscuits but I know it’s a weird ingredient to find. I’m just letting ya know so if you happen to have some in your cupboard you can use it here!
– In case you’re wondering how my biscuits all look so even: while the biscuits were still hot from the oven, I used a pastry ring to cut each one into a perfect circle. This is just me being weird and it’s totally unnecessary.
- 125 g (4.5 oz / 9 tbsp) unsalted butter
- 80 g (2.8 oz / ⅓ cup plus 1 tbsp) light brown sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 80 g (2.8 oz) (1 cup) quick cooking oats
- 4 tbsp wheat germ (or use more oats)
- 100 g (3.5 oz / 1 cup minus 2 tbsp) wholemeal flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ tsp baking powder OR bakers ammonia
- ½ tsp salt
- 100 g dark (plain/semi-sweet) chocolate, chopped
- 1 tsp coconut oil or butter
- Preheat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Line two baking trays with baking paper.
- In a large bowl with a wooden spoon or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachments, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until pale and smooth. Add the golden syrup and beat to combine. Stir in the oats and wheatgerm followed by the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- Take about two teaspoons of dough and roll into a ball. Place onto one of the prepared trays and press down lightly in the middle so that it spreads to about 4cm wide. Repeat with the remaining dough, leaving a few centimetres between each ball as they will flatten and spread as they bake.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and the kitchen smells like toasty oats. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack. Don't worry if the biscuits feel slightly soft; they should firm up and become crunchy as they cool.
- Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Spoon a little bit of chocolate onto the top of each biscuit and use a palette knife, butter knife or the back of a spoon to spread it over the surface. Set them aside to harden. Place any remaining chocolate into a sandwich bag and cut the tip of one corner off. Use like a piping bag to drizzle chocolate over the chocolate-coated biscuits in a cross hatch pattern. Leave to set again.
- Store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.