Wartime Spiced Biscuits – Recipe No. 189

Dear all,

I found this recipe online from a woman who wrote that this was her Grandmother’s recipe she used during the war for a special treat. At the moment I’m finding most of my untried wartime recipes online as all my cookbooks remain up north under my sons’ bed at his flat. It may be a month or two before I’m able to collect them too due to our current pandemic restrictions.

These biscuits came out quite soft, almost scone-like but delicious nevertheless. Grated carrot (or grated lemon or orange rind) would have been nice to include too so I will bear that in mind next time!

BOOK UPDATE: “The Pandemic Pantry cookbook is about half completed now. It is taking longer than I thought mostly because I’ve been using the nice weather to work in the garden to try and prepare for planting a victory garden. With no job and an uncertain future right now I HAD to put this first and make it a priority knowing that the nice weather wouldn’t be with us forever (we are forecast nearly two weeks of rain starting tomorrow). I feel that our food supply is important especially if prices rise over the coming months and hopefully, a garden of sorts will help my economic situation a little if times get tough…. hope you understand. I’ll be catching up with the book this week. Thanks for all the great recipes and messages. It’s been AMAZING!” C xxxx


  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon mixed spice (I used 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 dessertspoon dried egg
  • 180g margarine or butter
  • 4 tablespoons chopped sultanas plus raisins (I used mixed fruit instead.
  • 1 dessertspoon milk, or more if needed


  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C / Gas 5. Grease a baking tray or use baking paper.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the dried ingredients. Rub the margarine or butter into the mixture until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the fruit and then the milk to form a dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured board and roll out to 1cm thickness.
  3. Cut into rounds using a fluted biscuit cutter. (I actually put dollops on the tray as the mixture was quite moist so this could be why mine was more cake like – see photos) Arrange on the baking tray.
  4. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool and serve.

Makes around 15



20 thoughts on “Wartime Spiced Biscuits – Recipe No. 189

  1. Hi Carolyn, Just a quick note to let you know how much I am enjoying your return to posting on this blog. I also follow you elsewhere, but I particularly enjoy the blog as a place – and resource – to return to again and again. I am thoroughly enjoying trying out your recipes during this quarantine. Good luck with the Victory garden – it’s looking splendid!


    • Thank you Nora, am enjoying having the time too. There are positives to not having a job right now, being able to do what I truly have a passion for! Appreciate the comment I really do, thank you xxxx


  2. Hi Carolyn,
    A biscuit recipe, for a family to keep kids occupied.
    500gm Margarine. (table spread will do fine)
    1 cup of sugar
    1 tin condensed milk
    5 cups self raising flour.
    Cream marg and sugar, add condensed milk and blend.
    Add flour and mix very well.
    Roll into small balls and press down with a fork.
    Bake in a moderate oven 15 mins.
    This makes about 100 biscuits.
    When I made it I divided the mix into about six parts. and added
    Ground ginger about 2 teasp.
    Sultanas, a hand full
    Choc chips, (go for your life there)
    rolled some in coconut
    Your imagination is the best thing. It is a very forgiving recipe, and keeps well in a closed container.
    PS they spread so keep them apart,
    Love to all. Valerie


  3. Hi, these do look very much like rock cakes. Not sure if cocoa powder was available during the war but if you substitute 25gm of cocoa for the 25gm of flour you can make a chocolate version.


  4. Pingback: Celebrating VE Day - The Not Forgotten

  5. I lived in York for a few years in the 1990’s & became quite attached to ‘Betty’s Tearooms’ & their Fat Rascals, which are very large rock buns for greedy appetites. Here’s a recipe for 6 large Fat Rascals (or smaller ones if you prefer) like scones these are best eaten on the day they are baked.
    300g self raising flour (sifted with)
    1 1/2 tsp ground mixed spices
    100g chilled dripping (or a mix using lard or butter)
    100g soft sugar (I prefer brown)
    150g mixed dried fruits of choice
    zest of 2 citrus fruits of choice
    50g buttermilk
    2 eggs
    I chill the fats and grate into the flour mixture then rub in to make a crumb. Stir in the sugar & dried fruits. Beat the eggs, buttermilk & zest together then add to the flour mixture and stir together. Use a spoon to heap up & form mounds of the mixture (they should look a bit rough) onto a prepped tray then decorate with almond & cherries if liked (Betty’s make a face with cherries for eyes and almonds for a smiley mouth), they can also be brushed with egg-wash or milk before baking @ 200oC for about 15-20 minutes.


    • this sounds really good, citrus zest would be available for sure, my mother, born in the Depression lived near her step grandfather who had orange trees, chickens and an oil well in the back yard. Oranges in California were very plentiful during the war and of course, even now. Most of us have a lemon tree or 2 in our back yards so fruit juices are available (our mandarins on the tree are ready but they look so pretty I like to leave them til they are ready to fall(. I made a cake like object with oatmeal using diced up California apricots (I can’t stand the bland Turkish kind) so I will be doing the same using this recipe, thank you for posting.


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