Thursday 2 June 2016

Rich Traveller Biscuits

Since I moved to Reading (nearly 19 years ago now...) I've been aware of the three B's that form a large part of it's heritage. Beer was produced by Symonds Brewery, Bulbs were grown by Suttons Seeds, and Biscuits were made by Huntley and Palmers. Even thoguh H&P are no longer in town, it would be easy to think they are, as there is a prominent, and still branded building in the town centre.

I came across a post by the Museum of English Rural Life that listed off the (industrial scale) list of ingredients for one of H&P's biscuits, and a scaled down volume (down to 1 egg). I tried to see if I could find a picture of Rich Traveller biscuits, but had no joy, but thought it would be interesting to see if I could recreate the biscuits.

My initial thought, when I looked at the list, was that it would be a "melt" type biscuit, similar to a cookie...they normally have egg. I decided to go through a process of creaming the butter and sugar, adding the liquids (egg and milk), and then adding in the dry was pretty clear once the dough was formed that this would be a rolled-and-cut type biscuit, as the dough was very firm.

My default rolling thickness is 5mm, however these were a little thicker due to the chunks of orange and lemon peel. I did some at 7cm diameter, and some at 6cm diameter, and with no idea of shaping etc, just left them as plain circles.

They actually taste really the standards of modern biscuits they are a little firm (most recipes I see these days have a raising agent in to give a more crumblier texture), but the zest gives them a refreshing flavour. Definitely a worthwhile experiment, though I'd love to know how close I got to the real thing!

H&P Rich Traveller Biscuits


  • 400g plain flour
  • 140g softened butter
  • 330g caster sugar
  • ½tsp mixed spice
  • ¼tsp nutmeg
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g lemon peel
  • 100g orange peel (I used a 200g tub of mixed candied peel to represent both the peels)
  • 1 egg
  • 30ml milk

1) Put the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix until well creamed. You may need to scrape the sides down

2) Add the milk, lemon juice and egg, and mix thoroughly until very soft

3) Sift the flour, almond and spices, and add them to the butter and egg

4) Change the paddle to a solid metal one (the mixture is very firm), and mix in the flour and spices

5) Add the peel to the mixture, and stir in

6) remove the dough, form it into a flat disc, wrap it in cling-film and chill for half an hour

7) Pre-heat the oven to 170'C

8) Line 3-4 baking trays with baking parchment

9) Take the chilled dough, and roll out to 6-7mm thickness on a floured surface

10) Cut rounds (I used a 6 or 7cm cutter), and place them on the baking trays, slightly separated

11) Bake each tray in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until biscuits are turning golden

12) Remove from the oven, and allow the biscuits to cool on the tray for 2-3 minutes

13) remove the biscuits to a wire rack to cool completely