I watched this season’s British Bake-Off premiere last week & was blown away by the talent per usual. This year the bakers jumped right into biscuit week. Rid your mind of fluffy buttery American style biscuits. These are British biscuits, or hard cookies (think shortbread or Biscoff cookies). British biscuits are always crunchy & oft enjoyed with a cup of tea for dunking.
The show was exciting & lovely as ever even if I missed the traditional cake week which usually kicks off the new season. The episode made me want to share a classic British biscuit with you. Soooo, I set out to develop one for this week’s British bake. I went with the Hobnob. These British biscuits are a classic around these parts. These go particularly well with a cup of tea. Personally, I think the cup of tea is mandatory for any biscuit. The dunk slightly softens the crisp biscuit without completely sogging it out. Perfect match.
So what exactly is a Hobnob, you ask? Hobnobs are slightly sweet oat cookies. That’s basically it. Pretty simple & very nice.
Hobnobs get their flavor from oats and a lovely ingredient called golden syrup, a British baking staple. Golden syrup is an invert sugar (like corn syrup) that prevents sugar crystals from forming, so they’re used in caramel and candy-making. Like its name indicates, golden syrup has an amber, golden color. Golden syrup, unlike corn syrup, has a rich flavor that’s not pure sugar; it tastes caramel-y and buttery which makes it a great addition to baking recipes. While golden syrup used to be super difficult to find in the US, it’s pretty easy to find online or at higher-end stores (I think possibly because of the popularity of Bake-Off). If you can’t find it, you can absolutely substitute a mild honey. That said, I do think it’s worth the effort of finding the golden syrup.
The base of the biscuit is made up of a combination of quick-cooking oats, all-purpose flour, & whole wheat flour. This trio gives the cookie a rich flavor and nice texture without being too mealy or dry.
What a better way to celebrate the new season–whether its the newest season in the UK or the US Netflix series of
Bake Off The Great British Baking Show–than with these Hobnobs?. Side note: the new season available on US Netflix is the season I watched here in the UK last year. Let me tell you, it’s a good one!
If you like these Hobnobs (AKA Crunchy Oaty Cookies), you might also like:
Hobnobs (AKA Crunchy Oaty Cookies)
These Hobnobs are a classic British biscuit. They're full of oats & have a rich flavor with a caramel-y, buttery sweetness. They go splendidly with a cup of tea!
- 1 cup quick cooking oats
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons golden syrup (or honey)
- 1/2 tablespoon milk
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In a food processor, pulse 1/2 cup of the quick cooking oats until they are closer in texture to oat flour, but not completely broken down. This will probably be around 7-10 pulses. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the processed oats, the other 1/2 cup of oats, all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, and kosher salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium-high speed with an electric hand mixer until lighter in color and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the golden syrup and milk and mix until incorporated. Using a wooden spoon or a heavy-duty rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. It will take a bit of folding to come together. It will look really dry and crumbly but keep folding and it will come together!
Once it's combined (there may be a few stray crumbs in the bowl & that's fine!) scoop the cookie dough. I use a medium cookie scoop to portion the dough, but you could also use heaping tablespoon. As you portion the dough, roll each piece quickly into a ball and place on the prepared cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between the cookies. Once you've filled one cookie sheet with ten cookies, lightly flatten the cookies with your fingers until they are each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The edges might split a little as you do this because it's a dry dough. That's ok. You can press the edges back together if you want or just leave it if you can't be bothered.
Place this tray of cookies in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes and continue portioning and flattening the remaining dough. Once your done with the remaining dough, place it in the fridge to chill while your first batch bakes.
Place the first tray of cookies in the oven and bake for 18-22 minutes, rotating halfway through baking. Allow to cool on the tray for five minutes, then remove cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely.