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Bourbon Biscuit: the first biscuit on the moon

The bourbon biscuit is an oblong biscuit sandwich created by two chocolate flavoured biscuits with a chocolate butter cream filling. A popular tea accompaniment, the bourbon is a favourite biscuit among many.


Bourbon biscuit etymology

Bourbon biscuit, also referred to as Bourbon cream at times, does not get its name from the popular whisky by the same name – Bourbon. Although many may be tempted to think this is the source. And no, the biscuits do not contain any whisky either. Neither does the name hail from the French-Italian ruling dynasty – House of Bourbon. Though many sources site this as the origin of the name, it is not; the biscuits hail their name from a contraction of two names: Bourneville and Bonn. The significance of these two names shall be discussed later on but first, focus shall be on the man who invented this biscuit.

Country of Origin and Usage of bourbon biscuits

The Bourbon may be a popular biscuit delicacy but the treat was actually invented by a German – Dr. Hans Zehnloch in the 1930, while working for Cadbury’s R&D department. The professor came up with a trademark on the biscuit whereby each would bear 10 holes; drawing from the fact that Zehnloch literally translates into ’10 holes’. On to where the term Bourbon actually came from, it is a contraction of their place of invention – BOURnville and professor Zehnloch’s hometown – BONn. As a result, the biscuits were originally known as Bourbonn creams, but the second ‘n’ was dropped in 1963 and so the biscuit came to be known simply as Bourbon.

A popular snack taken during high tea in the evening, the biscuit can also be eaten on its own owing to the fact that it has a fondant filling and is not cracker-dry. The appearance of the biscuit is ‘rich’ making it popular as a snack during cocktails; and being high in sugar content, it could be taken as dessert too.

Sample Bourbon Recipe

bourbon biscuit 2


The biscuits:
• 110gof all purpose flour
• ½ tablespoonful of bicarbonate soda
• 50g of packed sugar – brown
• 20g of cocoa powder
• 50g of softened and unsalted butter
• 1 tablespoonful of golden syrup
• ¼ tablespoonful of salt
• 2 tablespoonfuls of milk
• 1 tablespoonful of golden castor sugar
The filling
• 50grams of softened unsalted butter
• 75grams of icing sugar
• 1tablesponful of cocoa powder
• 1 tablespoonful of the coffee essence


1. Heat the oven to 160⁰ Celcius and line the baking sheets with non-stick baking paper -parchment paper is okay.
2. Sift the bicarbonate of soda, flour, salt and cocoa together in a bowl.
3. In a separate large enough bowl, cream the brown sugar and butter ensuring the result is light and fluffy. Add the golden syrup and mix well.
4. Work the flour mix into the creamed mixture until a stiff paste is achieved. Add a little milk in small drops till soft even dough is arrived at.
5. Working on a floured surface, knead the dough, roll it out to a thickness of about 3mm and cut out the bourbon biscuit shapes with an appropriate cutter. Ideally, a bourbon biscuit is 5cm x 3 cm or thereabout.
6. With a skewer, dot holes into the cutouts. This will ensure that the inside cooks well. Then transfer to the lined baking sheets. Sprinkle some caster sugar atop each biscuit.
7. Bake for around 10-15 minutes on average, but it will depend on the quantity where more biscuits will require longer cooking.
8. Allow your biscuits to cool on a wire rack as the filling is being prepared.
9. To prepare the filling: cream some butter until fluffy. Then add some sifted icing sugar and cocoa powder and beat very well. Add coffee essence and give the mix a final beating.
10. To fill the biscuits: working on the underside of one Bourbon biscuit, spread a heaped teaspoon of the filling cream over it. Smooth the edges and sandwich with a second biscuit.
11. Store biscuits in airtight biscuit tin.

Bourbon Biscuit Fun Facts

bourbon biscuit 3

Even for the ardent self-proclaimed bourbon biscuit lover, there are a lot of fun facts unknown to them. Some are strange and downright ridiculous, others are fairly credible. All the same, they sure are entertaining. Just to mention a couple:
like all biscuit varieties, the bourbon too has an addictive ingredient – biscuitine. Normally, the amount contained in each bourbon biscuit is 1.4mg. At least this goes to explain the wide spread popularity of the biscuit.

Proudly, the bourbon stands at being the very first biscuit to be consumed on the moon by Edwin Aldrin. Of course, Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on the moon, but he was not the first to enjoy a biscuit delicacy on the moon.


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