Perkins – Scottish Biscuits

5/5 - (1 vote)

An old-fashioned Scottish biscuit that is full of flavour with a lovely texture too. 

I recently came across what seemed to be a lovely recipe for a spiced biscuit(cookie).  It was on the National Trust For Scotland website .  The biscuits are called Perkins, and the the recipe is very simple.  I believe the biscuits have been around for a very long time, so they are quite old fashioned.  But, having made them and tasted them, I can say they are certainly worth making.

The recipe is very simple indeed and contains oats, flour and spices, as well as the butter, egg and sugars.  Although the recipe I link to above specifies oatmeal it doesn’t say what they mean by that.  So for mine I assumed rolled oats processed to be much finer would probably work very well.  

The recipe contains golden syrup and I did read, in a another recipe, that it is important for the flavour to use that syrup, rather than corn syrup or maple syrup.  Golden syrup is readily available in the UK and is available elswhere though more expensive than here.  There are several video tutorials on Youtube on how to make your own golden syrup, which is actually very easy indeed and is probably much cheaper than buying it unless you are in the UK.  But if you don’t have golden syrup, and don’t wish to make it you can use honey instead.

In the video below I show how to make the biscuits, but I have changed the recipe below, in one respect.  That is that, having shaped the mixture into balls I now recommend flattening them by about half before baking.  That is because they don’t spread as much as I expected, and I used a spatula to flatten them once they came out of the oven.  My sister Margaret, who lives in Canada, made them after I had done mine and took the recommendation to flatten them first and it worked very well.

My biscuits turned out very well, with a nice crunch to the exterior and a soft chew inside.  The spices flavoured them very well indeed and the texture was perfect.

For another old-fashioned but very tasty biscuit try Grantham Gingerbread.

Perkins – Scottish Biscuits

                           Perkins – Scottish Biscuits Recipe – Video


  • 250g(1 2/3 cups) plain flour – based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup measure
  • 250g (2 1.3 cups + 2 tbsp) rolled outs, processed to make them much finer
  • 125g(9 tbsp) unsalted butter, chilled
  • 180g(1 cup – 1 1/2 tbsp) caster sugar
  • 180g(1/2 cup + 1 tsp) golden syrup
  • 1 medium egg(large in USA)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
  • 60 blanched almonds(or 30 sliced in half)
  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/140C Fan/325F.
  2. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper.
  3. Place the flour, baking soda, sugar and spices as well as the oats into a food processor(or a large bowl if doing everything by hand), and mix together.
  4. Add the butter and process(or rub in) until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs, and still very dry.
  5. Tip the mixture into a large bowl and add the golden syrup and the egg and stir around until everything begins to clump together.
  6. Continue mixing, using your hands, until the mixture has come together into a single large clump.  It should still be quite dry, but a little sticky.
  7. Take small spoonfuls of the mixture(about 17-18 grams) into your hand and roll into a ball.
  8. Place on the baking sheets, leaving a good gap between each one,  and press an almond onto the top.
  9. Press the balls to flatten them by about half.
  10. Bake in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until they have taken on an even brown colour.
  11. Remove from the oven and leave on the baking tray for a few minutes to firm up, flatten a little more if you wish as soon as they come out of the oven.  
  12. Transfer to a wire rack to cook completely.


  1. My mum is Scottish but lives in London and was forever bemoaning the fact she can’t find Perkins anywhere. Now that she’s found this recipe she has become an avid baker!
    Every time I go round there are Perkins in the tin and they are delicious. Thanks Geoff!

    • My mixed spice has 40% ground cinnamon, 38% ground coriander, 4% ground nutmeg and the remaining 18% is a mixture of ground caraway seeds, ground ginger and ground cloves. Clove is a very strong flavour, so very little of that is required.

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