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Traditional English Fork Biscuits - a very easy and delicious cookie recipe

Updated on September 29, 2013

The most wonderful, buttery, melt in the mouth, traditional English Fork Biscuits/Cookies.

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Light Crisp Mouthfuls of Deliciousness

Delicate, crumbly and buttery biscuits
Delicate, crumbly and buttery biscuits

I've been told that in America biscuits are considered to be small dough creations that look like our English Scones, and are mainly a savoury thing served with dinner and covered in gravy. And what we call biscuits the Americans call cookies, I mean we do have cookies in Britain but for us cookies are a thicker type of biscuit with a rough appearance and slightly domed in the middle. Whatever anyone wants to call them I don't really mind as long as they understand that they're for sharing.

A few years ago I tried making a number of different biscuits and found them sadly unappetising and a great let down, worse still was that I would look at the fabulous photographs, read the hype about how good they were and then I'd make an inordinately huge amount of them only to find that the really didn't live up to their promise and I was stuck with a large pile of biscuits that tasted mostly like the cardboard boxes from the supermarket, such a waste and such a disappointment.

For me there are a number of essential elements to creating the perfect biscuit and they depend on what type of biscuit my mouth is wishing for. Butter or fork biscuits must first of all be made with butter, margarine is not wanted here, they must be light, and crumbly and very, very buttery, and after that I don't mind which flavours go into the biscuits as long as they complement the butter taste, I'm looking for something that enhances rather than masks the buttery taste.

Oat and raisin biscuits are another huge favourite of mine, normally with a sprinkling of sugar that adds a slight toffee flavour to those wonderful oats, now these must be crumbly, they must have a delicate snap to them and again still be buttery, buttery little mouthfuls of excellence.

So having tried lots of recipes I would love to pass them on to you, they are perfect for teatime, elevenses with a cup of tea, or baked moments before your friends arrive and descend on the tea plate piled high with freshly baked biscuits, or cookies, as you prefer.


200g of Unsalted Butter (225g = 1 cup)

100g of Caster Sugar (115g = ½ cup)

300g of Self-Raising Flour (345g = 1 cup)

Rind of 2 Organic Lemons or 2 Organic Oranges, unwaxed

Note: I used a website converter to get the cup measurements, they don't seem right to me somehow but I don't quite understand the cup measurement system, hopefully someone will be able to advise me.

This recipe will make approximately 24 biscuits.

  • Heat your oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4.
  • Making sure that your Butter is soft, whisk the 200g of Butter until pale and creamy.
  • Add the 100g of Caster Sugar and continue whisking for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the grated rind of 2 Lemons or 2 Oranges.
  • Add the 300g of Self-Raising Flour.
  • Using a wooden spoon stir the mixture together as much as possible and then using your hands bring it all together by lightly kneading it just so that it becomes one ball of dough. This is a soft buttery delicate dough and although it doesn't look like it will hold together it will, as you can see in the photograph below.

  • Line a shallow baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Now pull a piece of dough off the ball and lightly squeeze into a rough ball shape.
  • Place on the tray and flatten out (but not too thinly).
  • Now the reason for their name becomes apparent, using a fork, press the tines into the top of the biscuit leaving stripes, now make a second fork impression so that it looks like little raised squares, as you can see in the photograph below.

  • Now place them in the oven for between 10-15 minutes. Everyone's oven cooks at different temperatures and mine often cooks at different temperatures between batches, so keep a close eye on them, you want them to be a soft golden colour.
  • Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Delicious with a glass of milk, and perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. Bet you can't eat just one!

And just to prove how simple these really are to make my 12 year old daughter decided to make some last night, I promise I didn't help, hers were much bigger than mine but they were decorated beautifully, here's a photo to show you how well they came out - very proud of you baby x

And they are scrumptious!
And they are scrumptious!

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    • Eileen Goodall profile image

      Eileen Goodall 3 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      Hi Farha, no idea what you did wrong but these have always come out beautifully for everyone who has tried them, make sure you use the best ingredients you can as it always makes a huge difference. I hope you try again and wish you luck x

    • profile image

      Farha 3 years ago

      Hi! I made these. Without the lemons and oranges. The cookies tasted bitter with a horrid metallic after taste! I can't guess what went wrong!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Sure thing! I'm making them tonight for dinner guests. : )

    • Eileen Goodall profile image

      Eileen Goodall 5 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      They are, I just love homemade biscuits - kids get a bit sad when there's only store bought in the tin lol - would love to know what you think of them once you've tried them

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 5 years ago from Peru, South America

      Your biscuits/cookies sound melt-in-your-mouth. I especially like the addition of oranges. I've marked this so I can come back and try it. Thank you!

    • Eileen Goodall profile image

      Eileen Goodall 6 years ago from Buckinghamshire, England

      @homesteadbound I have now written in what I think are the cup measurements but if you think they're wrong according to your conversion charts please let me know - many thanks.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      They look like my peanut butter cookies, but they sound oh so much better. After I get out my calculator, to figure out the ingredient conversions, I just might give these a go this weekend. I love short bread, so if they are anything like that, I'll be hooked!

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 6 years ago from East Cackalacky

      We Americans call them "butter cookies." You're right, the American biscuit is a savory shortbread. Only Southerners know how to make 'em right.

    • profile image

      lostwithinmyself 6 years ago

      They look Delicious. Thanks for sharing. x