These tasty orange biscuits come from a collection of 215 recipes compiled by a professional baker, Fredrick Vine, in his book Biscuits for Bakers: Easy to Make and Profitable to Sell, which was published in 1896. He recommended selling these biscuits at 1 shilling a pound. In today’s terms that’s about £8 for a kilo or £3.90 a pound.

Makes around 200

small biscuits

1.8kg/4lb self-raising flour 675g/1½lb butter 1.1kg/2½lb caster sugar

450g/1lb candied orange peel (finely chopped)

6 eggs

360ml/a generous ½ pint milk


1. Rub the butter and sugar into the flour.

2. Stir in the peel.

3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and mix in the egg.

4. Add a little milk to form a firm dough.

5. Break off pieces about the size of an acorn and place them onto a greased baking tray. The pieces should be slightly rough, like rock cakes, so that the sugar dredged over them later will find somewhere to settle.

6. Cover them with sugar before baking for 10- 15 minutes at 180?c/350?F until they are nicely browned.


=== Did you know? ===

l Victorian bakers used a variety of strange substances to lighten cakes and biscuits. The original recipe for these orange biscuits uses "volatile", otherwise know as ammonium carbonate or "baker’s ammonia". Its strong smell meant that it was also used as smelling salts. It is not used in modern baking powder.

l The first self-raising flour was patented by Henry Jones of Bristol in 1845.