Homemade custard creams cookies are so much better than the store-bought variety. These classic British biscuits literally melt in your mouth.
These custard creams are the most delicious, “melt in your mouth” cookie you’ll probably ever have!
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It’s pretty amazing to me, how almost every single Brit I know (especially ex-pats) become ecstatic over certain types of iconic British food, including savories, sweets, candy, and yes, even junk food.
Quintessential British Food
In fact, there are two Facebook pages that I follow which are devoted solely to British food: Quite Peckish and Fat Englishman. One of these pages will post a photo like the one below, and the frenzied comments begin with “Oh, I miss my ___ so much!” or “I’d kill for a ____!” and proclamations of adoration for one candy bar or another.
People will get into heated arguments about which type of biscuit (cookie) or beverage is better–it’s rather funny, actually, and it even happens on another British Facebook group I belong to which has nothing to do with food!
The reason I’m telling you this is that it seems that we are all extremely fond of the foods that we grew up with, and I think part of the reason is because they hold strong memories of our youth. For those of us now in the US, I must say, British chocolate is definitely a lot better than the average American candy bar, which isn’t even allowed to be considered real chocolate in some places (due to the lack of enough cocoa butter).
You could mention some iconic biscuits to an ex-pat Brit and almost bring them to tears, such as Jammy Dodgers, Penguin bars, bourbon biscuits and custard creams, which mean absolutely nothing to most Americans or any non-Brit. As a matter of fact, I’ve learned that they are referred to as custard cookies in the US.
What are Custard Creams?
Custard creams are cookies (US equivalent to our biscuits) that Brits buy at the supermarket, much the same as Americans would buy Oreos. They’re a classic, along with the others I named above. They are made with Birds Custard Powder, which is another British classic. This is the typical pattern when you buy them from the grocery store in the UK, however the photo below is mine (homemade) using a special biscuit stamp/cutter! How cool is that?
What is the Custard in Custard Creams?
The custard in custard creams refers to Bird’s custard powder, and it is only used in making the dough. It is NOT used in the filling (given that it is flavored corn starch, it should be cooked before eating).
What is Bird’s Custard Powder and do I Need it for Custard Creams?
This is essentially a vanilla flavored corn starch which gives the custard creams their melt-in-your-mouth quality. Custard powder was invented during the war when whole foods were in short supply, so Britons could make their beloved custard without eggs. It became a favorite and everyone still uses it. In order to make these classic Custard Creams, I wouldn’t recommend it without Bird’s Custard Powder. They just won’t taste the same (do not use the kind in the paper packet).
Recently, I met and had dinner with the SORTED Food guys (Mike, Jamie, Ben and Barry), four friends from England who have huge following their YouTube food channel and who were passing through LA on their #lostandhungry tour.
A “rule” during their travels is that they can’t eat anything that isn’t suggested or given to them, so I knew they’d appreciate a “taste of home”, and surprised them with Penguin chocolate bars, and a packets of HP Sauce (a very popular British steak sauce which I happen to carry in my purse).
The Custard Cream’s partner in crime: Bourbon Biscuits!
Mind you, they’d only left home a week before, but you can see the look of happiness and excitement on each of their faces as soon as they spotted the Penguin bars!
Given this phenomenon with British people, I’m going to give you a recipe which will allow you to surprise and delight any of your ex-pat friends from the UK, which is a recipe for custard creams. Do you need to be from the UK to appreciate these wonderful biscuits (cookies)? Absolutely not, because they are so crunchy, yet creamy (melt in your mouth) and deliciously tasty, you’ll be a fan after your very first bite. I bet you a Penguin bar, you will!
*Edited 3/2017: my daughter knows me so well and bought me these biscuit cutters for Christmas! They work perfectly to make each of four classic British biscuits in their iconic shapes. It includes cutters for custard creams, bourbon biscuits, Jammy Dodgers and Party Rings. Click here to buy them on Amazon.
Custard creams can be a part of your holiday baking as they make a great choice for cookie swaps. Check out this list of 60 Christmas cookie ideas which includes custard creams.
Reader, Andrea Hampton, made them into Easter themed biscuits using this adorable bunny mold, too!
Custard Creams Recipe
recipe from an old Lofty Peak cookbook makes 2 to 3 dozen depending on the shape/size
FULL PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
Make the Custard Creams Biscuits
Sift the flour, custard powder and baking soda into a bowl and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes, then add the sifted flour, custard and soda and mix well.
Roll or Cut the Biscuits (depending on if you have the biscuit stamps or not)
Form into rounds, about the size of a walnut. Place on a lined baking tray, leaving room to expand. Press with a fork into the top of each round, twice: once horizontally, and once vertically, to look like a cross-hatch.
NOTE: if using the biscuit cutters mentioned above, roll out the dough to about ¼” thick, on a lightly floured surface, instead.
Dust a litte flour into the stamp/cutter, then press the custard cream cutter into the dough.
Release, and gently remove the biscuit, shaking the cutter a little if necessary.
Ta dah! Repeat to use all the dough, continue to dust with flour if needed.
Place on parchment paper or a silicone lined baking tray.
Bake near the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes. The cutter style may only need 14 minutes or so, until the bottoms just begin to slightly color. Remove from tray and allow to cool completely on cooling rack.
Make the Custard Creams Filling
Mix the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy (you may need to add a few drops of milk if you want to pipe the filling).
Next, use the buttercream to sandwich two of the custard creams together. Use a piping bag if you really want perfect results, but you really can just spread the filling with a knife, as well.
Repeat until all the biscuits have been filled.
I like to match up evenly sized biscuits (the rolled ones) before starting to sandwich them together.
And, the final biscuit cutter custard cream. Which do you prefer?
You’ll love the buttery, custard flavor, and the crispiness of the biscuit. However, just wait until it melts in your mouth!
Store in an airtight container for up to a week. Most people in the UK have some sort of biscuit tin.
I bet they don’t last even half that long! (Here’s a cute apron with the same text as my tea towel!)
- 1 1/3 cup (6 oz) flour
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) custard powder (Bird’s Custard Powder-available on Amazon and in British shops)
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) powdered (icing) sugar
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 stick (1 oz) butter
- 1/2 cup (2 oz) powdered (icing) sugar
- a few drops of vanilla extract
- (add a few drops of milk or water if you want to pipe the filling)
Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C)
- Sift the flour, custard powder and baking soda into a bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar for about 3 minutes, then add the sifted flour, custard and soda and mix well.
- Form into rounds, about the size of a walnut and place on a lined baking tray, leaving room to expand. Press with a fork into the top of each round, twice: once horizontally, and once vertically, to look like a cross-hatch.
- Bake near the middle of the oven for 15 to 18 minutes until the bottoms just begin to slightly color. Remove from tray and allow to cool completely on cooling rack.
- Mix the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until creamy.
- Then use the buttercream to sandwich two of the Custard Creams together. Repeat until all the biscuits have been filled.
- Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1 filled cookie
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165Total Fat: 10gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 1g
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