Bourbon biscuits are one of our favourite biscuits here at Nibble My Biscuit. The classic bourbon biscuit is a rectangular sandwich biscuit featuring a delicious chocolate flavoured cream interior, sandwiched between two chocolate flavoured slabs of biscuit. The traditional design also features the name ‘BOURBON’ stamped into the surface of each biscuit together with a number of holes (10, if you go by the classic Crawford’s Bourbon). Some less salubrious manufacturers change the shape of a bourbon from the elongated rectangle into a squarer design like the biscuits in the picture above. Bourbons are often classically covered in tiny delicious sugar crystals – whilst this might just be down to sloppy baking it does make them extra tasty in our humble view.
History of Bourbon Biscuits
The bourbon biscuit was first made in 1910 by the company Peek Frean & Co., according to this BBC article. Originally named ‘Creola’, the name was changed in the 1930s in tribute to the Royal House of Bourbon in France and Spain, descended from an area of central France known as Le Bourbonnais. The name has no relation to the American whisky which was named after Bourbon County, the place where it was made.
Why do Bourbon Biscuits have holes?
A question often asked by biscuit fans when munching on a delicious biscuit is “why does my lovely biscuit have holes in it?“. The answer is quite straightforward – the holes are put there by the baker during the manufacturing process. The holes let hot steam escape from the biscuit during baking them, keeping a nice smooth finish on the surface of the biscuit and preventing it cracking apart like a ginger nut.
Bourbon biscuits are not designed to snap – the consequence of leaving steam inside the biscuit is that the sugar begins to caramelise, becoming brittle and more suitable for snapping apart. The placement of the holes varies depending on the individual manufacturer.