Did You Know The Holes In Bourbon Biscuits Have A Purpose?


I’m going to be honest, I’m not the kind of person who’s presented with a cookie and thinks too much about it. Normally I eat it as quickly as possible, enjoy it a whole heck of a lot and then move on with my day. But it looks like some people take their cookies much more seriously than me and this time, these inquisitive minds are turning their thoughts towards one of our favourite cookies, the bourbon biscuit.

If we were looking at which cookie is the best cookie of all time, the bourbon has to be up there with the best of the best. Probably about as excellent as custard creams, infinitely better than rich tea, but maybe not quite as good as jaffa cakes. The jury is still out about where the bourbon stands when compared to the hobnob, but I’m sure it would perform excellently in any sort of cookie Olympics. But we’re not looking at how good the bourbon biscuit is as a cookie today, we’re going to take an analytical look at this one.

Anyone who’s even eaten a bourbon biscuit has noticed the little holes around the sides of the cookie, but have you ever thought much about them? If you’re anything like me, the answer to that question is a firm no. If anything, I’d just assume that they’re a design choice and forget that the question was ever asked. Well, it turns out that they’re there for a reason and that those cookie makers are pretty smart cookies themselves!

Apparently, the little holes in the sides of your bourbon biscuit are there to reinforce the structural integrity of the cookie. During the baking, the tiny holes in the cookie help the moisture in the cookie dough to escape, helping the cookie to keep it’s shape more easily. Without these holes, the cookie would crumble and break easily, making it a lot less like the delicious cookie we know it to be.

This secret trick to cookie structure has been revealed by Mark Greenwell, one of the managers of the United Biscuits factory in Carlisle. This mainly makes cookies for one of our favourite biscuit brands, McVities… Do you think they have any jobs available? I’d make a great cookie taster!

Mark Greenwell was interviewed on British TV show, Food Unwrapped, about the bourbon biscuit and had this to say… “If the holes weren’t there, steam would build up inside the biscuits. The biscuit would collapse back down and you wouldn’t have a controllable product. You’re trying to get steam out of the biscuits to have an even texture. If you’re wondering why other biscuits don’t have holes then that’s because they’re designed to have a ‘snap’”. Cookies are serious business, people!

Oh, and while we’re on the subject of delicious cookies, we have another piece of news for our British friends that may have them jumping for joy. The limited edition white Twix, that was around for a short time last year, has reappeared in America. That means it should only be a matter of time before it heads back over to British shores, which should have white chocolate fans cheering with happiness.

What do you think about the holes in bourbon biscuits now? What’s your favourite cookie of all time? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share this article with your friends, family and any cookie lover you may know!

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