The Trumpington Ladies’ Crunchy Chocolate Biscuits

I have recipe files within recipe files, and sometimes for entertainment, I take out a file and riffle through it as I “watch TV.”  That’s how I came across the recipe for the Trumpington Ladies’ Crunchy Chocolate Biscuits. I wish I could say I have a more purposeful and meaningful way of devising a post, but this is how it actually happens. Who are the Trumpington Ladies? As it turns out, Trumpington is a village near Cambridge, England. The ladies of Trumpington wrote a little recipe book that included this recipe, and their fame was forever assured, because this is an amazingly good little cookie. (The British call cookies “biscuits.”) First of all, it’s beyond easy, and if you really don’t like to cook, and really, really don’t like to bake, this is your recipe, because it’s an assembly job more than real cooking. And it isn’t baked. So if you need something easy  as a dessert on an incredibly hot day, this is also your recipe, because you don’t have to turn on the oven. None of this would matter if it didn’t taste good, but these “crunchy biscuits” are really something special. They are chewy, with dark toffee and chocolate flavors swirling around on your taste buds, and then there is the crunchiness of the graham crackers. So the Trumpington Ladies were on to something.

The Trumpington Ladies’ Crunchy Chocolate Biscuits

1 stick butter
3 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 pound of graham crackers, in small pieces
(this is 15 double crackers–see picture)

Melt the butter, sugar, and syrup in a pan over low heat (do not allow mixture to boil). Add cocoa and mix well. Remove from heat and stir in the graham crackers. Press mixture into a well-greased 8-inch-square pan and let sit in a cool place overnight to set. Cut into squares or thin fingers. Makes about 16 2-inch square.

Cooking notes: Be sure to use dark corn syrup, because it gives the biscuits their toffee flavor. How small should the graham crackers pieces be? See the photo–these pieces worked well. When you start mixing the graham cracker pieces into the butter and chocolate mixture, you will think they can’t be combined, but just keep mixing, crushing any of the large graham cracker pieces with your spoon. Also, it’s takes a few minutes to pack the mixture into the square pan. Press down firmly with a large spoon, smoothing the surface and edges.

It could be fun to try this with different crushed cookies. For instance, crushed chocolate or vanilla wafers or Salerno Butter Cookies or even cinnamon grahams. Or? You could also try dusting the surface of the cookies with fine graham cracker crumbs.

Speaking of something delicious, I just have to mention the Bumbleberry Pie my sister Janet made for a meal last Sunday. It was absolutely delicious, with a buttery, tender crust, and a tart, deliciously jammy filling. Janet’s pie-baking skills are awesome, and I had two pieces, along with vanilla ice cream. Janet notes that the crust recipe comes from Martha Stewart, and I have to say, it’s wonderful. (Sorry that the picture is slightly blurry, but I find this often happens to pictures of desserts I’m about to eat–I’m in a hurry!) Here are Janet and her daughter Anne dishing up the pie and ice cream, assembly-line fashion.

2 thoughts on “The Trumpington Ladies’ Crunchy Chocolate Biscuits

  1. I am so happy that you posted this recipe! Growing up, my younger sister demanded these cookies for her proper English Tea Party birthday parties. I have not come across this recipe for many years and am very grateful you have posted this recipe. I surprised my sister, who is now in her 40s, with a batch and she nearly started crying she was so happy! So, once again, many thanks for this post!

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