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Great British Bake Off's Miranda Gore Browne's Chocolate Bourbons

Epilepsy Action Tea Break - Friday 21 October

Miranda Gore Browne's Chocolate Bourbons

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“Intensely chocolatey and hugely addictive, these biscuits look gorgeously retro and have a nostalgic taste about them. I have friends who beg me to make bourbons and I’m sure you will be inundated with requests too. Make lots and store them in the freezer. These are biscuits to impress.”

Makes about 16 biscuits


For the biscuits:

  • 110g unsalted butter, softened
  • 110g soft light brown sugar
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 ½ tbsp golden syrup
  • Granulated sugar, for sprinkling 

For the filling:

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 5 tsp cocoa powder
  • 75g unsalted butter, softened
  • Half tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp boiling water


  • Cream the butter and brown sugar. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cocoa powder and salt. Add these sifted ingredients and the syrup to the butter mixture and combine until a dough forms. Bring it together with your hands, then divide it into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a long sausage shape about 2.5cm in diameter.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C/Gas Mark 3 and line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
  • Place a sausage of dough between two sheets of cling film (I prefer not to use flour because it marks the surface of the biscuits) and roll out to about 3mm thick. Chill in the fridge while you repeat this process with the remaining dough.
  • Transfer the chilled pastry to a chopping board and use a pizza wheel or sharp knife to straighten the edges. When you have a neat shape, slice each piece into eight ‘fingers’. Traditional bourbon biscuits measure 6 x 3cm, so if you want to create the perfect size, cut the fingers slightly smaller than this as they spread a little in the oven.
  • Using a palette knife, lift the biscuits onto the prepared trays, spacing them at least 2cm apart. Now use a fine skewer to make shallow holes along the top of each biscuit – two rows of five if you’re a bourbon perfectionist.
  • Bake for 10 minutes, until the biscuits look dry on top, then carefully check one with a palette knife. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and press it in gently with the back of a spoon. If ready, it will be fragile but should lift cleanly and neatly away from the lining paper. If not, bake for a few more minutes, then check again. When the biscuits are done, leave them on trays for about 15 minutes, then use a palette knife to transfer them carefully to a wire rack. They will harden as they cool.
  • To make the filling, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a bowl. (It is so tempting to miss out this step, but sifting is essential if you want a smooth butter cream.) Add the butter, vanilla and boiling water and beat well with a fork or hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Keep the butter cream at room temperature until you are ready to fill the biscuits.
  • When the biscuits are completely cold, use a palette knife to spread the filling onto the underside side of one biscuit and gently press another biscuit on top. Sandwich all the biscuits in this way.

Why has this recipe been donated to Epilepsy Action?

A cup of coffee and a piece of cake can make a real difference for people with epilepsy.

Epilepsy Action’s network of coffee and chat groups can provide a life line to people who might be feeling isolated because of the condition. Coffee and chat groups give people affected by epilepsy an opportunity to come together and share their experiences.

Text ACT NOW to 70700 to donate £5, the cost of a cup of coffee and piece of cake, to Epilepsy Action. Together we can make sure no-one has to face epilepsy alone. Terms and conditions.

Want to hold your own Tea Break?

Each year in October, Epilepsy Action holds a fundraising event called Tea Break, asking people to pop the kettle on, make a brew, bake a cake and have a cuppa with us! The money raised goes towards helping everyone affected by epilepsy in the UK! 

Holding a Tea Break really is a piece of cake! Whether it’s a cup of tea and a cake in your kitchen or a tea party at your workplace, you can hold your Tea Break anywhere and invite anybody along to share the fun. In the past, we have had Tea Breaks registered all over the UK; from Cornwall to Scotland, in schools, homes and workplaces.  

If reading this recipe has inspired you to hold a Tea Break for Epilepsy Action, why not register for your free fundraising pack now and bake a difference?

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