Hobnobs revisited


Note: since I originally wrote this post, I have tried the method recommended by Judy in the comments, and it made a dramatic difference. So I have updated the post to reflect her method. The biscuits came out thin and crispy, with a nutty flavour just like the “real thing”, and didn’t spread as much.

When I was partnered with Ivy for Taste & Create, I decided to try making her hobnobs. Noting her problem with oozing butter, I adjusted the recipe a little, but still had to add loads of flour. The end result was quite nice, if not much like hobnobs. But the mixture was still sloppy and spread hugely in the oven, so I ended up with big, squishy slabs that were more like cookies than biscuits. So I ended up making her carrot cupcakes instead (and they were fab).

I was still curious about the hobnobs though. I followed Ivy’s recipe back to its source and noted that everyone who tried it had the same problem. Then I did some googling and found this. The ingredients and method made it seem as if it must be the original, but — quelle surprise — somewhere along the line someone had converted the ounces to cups and completely messed up the proportions. Easily done!

So I eventually got around to trying it again — with much more success! They came out a bit thick — I might add a smidgin more liquid next time. Maple syrup is not traditional, but I like the taste, so I used it instead of golden syrup. Optionally, you can add other flavourings such as cardamom, vanilla, orange, or lemon zest. Or even dip them in chocolate for chocolate hobnobs!

Makes about 30 biscuits

225 g self-raising flour
225 g sugar
225 g porridge oats
225 g butter
1 tbs golden syrup or maple syrup
1-2 tbs water
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbs boiling water

Mix the flour, oats and sugar in a bowl, and melt butter, syrup and water in a pan. Put the bicarbonate of soda in a small glass and add the tablespoon of boiling water, Now stir this and the hot melted butter mixture into the dry mix.

Then mix well; if the mixture is a bit crumbly add a little more water so that it will hold together. Divide into four equal pieces. Take each piece and form it into a log about 4-5 cm in diameter. Wrap the logs in waxed or greaseproof paper and put in the fridge for at least 2 hours, until they are very firm.

To cook, preheat oven to 180C.. Cut 0.5 cm slices from the log with a sharp knife and place them on a greased tray. If the mixture is a bit crumbly and falls apart when you cut it, just press it together again. Press lightly with a fork to flatten them further. Put in the oven for 15 mins, until pale gold rather than brown, and cool slightly on the tray before moving to a wire rack.

Store cooked biscuits in an airtight tin. You can freeze the logs of dough and just take them out and slice off what you want.


5 thoughts to “Hobnobs revisited”

  1. You’re so Awesome! I love that you have been able to fix this recipe. You’re like a recipe detective. 🙂
    Can I be your assistant-it seems so fun to test recipes out and make them perfect.

    Have a great day!

  2. LOL! When I make a recipe the first time, I always try to follow it as closely as possible, but then 5assuming it’s not a complete flop) I start tinkering to try and improve it 🙂 Once I’ve got it perfect I move on to something else! You are welcome to assist me 🙂

  3. This recipe has been handed down from at least my great-grandmother (born 1865). We always called them refrigerator oatmeal cookies – didn’t ever hear the name hobnobs until I bought a roll of McVities’ Hobnobs. They tasted just the same!

    Anyhow, butter has to be HOT; the soda has to be dissolved into boiling water. The cookies have to be VERY COLD when put into the preheated oven or they ooze (as you found).

    We always formed them into logs wrapped in waxed paper or parchment paper; then refrigerated until solid – or frozen until needed. You could probably scoop them out onto a sheet and refrigerate until very firm before squashing them down (or freeze them for later – cook as many as you need). I always like the look of the oat flakes when they’ve been sliced from a log. The texture is better too. I especially like them sliced wafer-thin – the oats toast up so nicely – taste very nutty.

    I found this post when my son asked for the recipe for his new bride – after he had introduced her to McVities’s Hobnobs. None of the recipes on the net mention melting the butter or dissolving the soda in boiling water. That was the most important part of the recipe when my Mom taught me how to make them – and that I’ve taught my own children. Besides – that way, they already are almost cooked and the frozen logs taste just like the inside of O Henry bars. We don’t always cook them.

  4. That’s really interesting — thanks Judy. And sorry for the delay in finding and approving your comment! I will definitely try these again, incorporating your instructions. I especially like the log idea.

  5. i absolutely love hob nobs. they’re quite nice when dipped in milk and crumbled as topping for plain yoghurt.

    i tried making them today. my mixture was not crumbly at all, but greasy, i ended up adding more flour.

    i wonder what dissolving bicarb soda in hot water does, as opposed to just adding it to the dry ingredients.


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