The combination of chocolate and poppy seeds may sound odd, but these biscuits are great, not too sweet and with a lovely crunchy texture. Poppy seeds are not widely used in traditional British bakery or cookery, although their nutty crunch has long been recognised by bakers in Eastern Europe.

This recipe comes from a book edited by Elizabeth Craig, Cookery Illustrated and Household Management, which was published in 1936. The original recipe suggests adding the grated chocolate towards the end of the mixing but this makes them an unattractive speckly grey. They look better if you melt the chocolate in the hot milk.


Makes 150-175 biscuits


600g poppy seeds

750ml milk

300g dark chocolate

600g butter

600g sugar

800g flour

25g ground cloves

15g ground cinnamon

700g currants


1. Heat the milk. Pour it over the poppy seeds and leave them to soak.

2. Chop up the chocolate and put this in the hot milk and poppy seed mixture to melt.

3. In another bowl beat the butter and sugar to a cream.

4. Stir in the flour, sifted with the cloves and cinnamon.

5. Add the currants and the chocolate poppy seeds mixture.

6. Drop teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto buttered and floured baking tins.

7. Bake for 20 minutes in a moderate 180?C, then cool on a rack.