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Win Túath Glasses and Boozy Biccies!

Win 4 Túath Glasses and 5 Boxes of Boozy Biccies worth £60 and free delivery!

To celebrate the launch of our second round
of funding, you could win a set of 4 Túath
Whiskey Glasses and 5 Boxes of Boozy
Biccies!

With $13,000 raised so far, the cookie
factory is almost set for production. The
second round will secure the equipment
to complete the wrapping and sealing of
our whiskey, gin and Irish Stout cookies.

To enter, Tweet or post on Facebook or
Instagram #Irishcookiefactory and the
amount needing raised.

For details of the fundraising, visit https://gogetfunding.com/help-build-an-irish-alcohol-cookie-factory

Terms & Conditions

  1. The closing date for the competition is midnight on 28th October 2020.
  2. The competition is open to residents of the UK, Ireland, USA and Australia.
  3. You must be 18 or over in the UK and 21 or over in the USA.
  4. The competition is operated by Iconic Biscuits Ltd.
  5. By entering the competition you are agreeing to receive promotional emails from Iconic Biscuits. Your details will not be shared with any other parties. Every email includes the option to unsubscribe at any time.
  6. Winners will be notified by email or via their social media platform of entry.
  7. No purchase is necessary.
  8. The prize is as stated on the competition page or published platform.
  9. No cash alternative is available.
  10. Entry to the competition is open via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the Boozy Biccies website unless otherwise stated.
  11. Only one entry will be accepted from each entrant.
  12. The prize will be awarded within 30 days following the close of the competition.
  13. Results will be announced following the closure of the competition and successful notification of the winner.
  14. The winner will be chosen at random from the comments or Tweets posted.
  15. We reserve the right to publish the winners full name and with permission, their photograph.
  16. Employees of Iconic Biscuits Limited or their immediate family may not enter the competition, nor the employees or immediate family of any third party sponsor or prize provider.
  17. All prizes must be claimed within fourteen (14) days of the winner’s notification.
  18. We reserve the right to re-allocate a prize after this time period.
  19. All personal information provided to the promoter will be held in accordance with the Privacy Policy available at boozybiccies.com with the addition noted above in point 4 regarding contact from the prize provider. This is also available in writing by sending a stamped addressed envelope to Iconic Biscuits Ltd. 4 Blenheim Park, Hillsborough, BT26 6NY, United Kingdom.
  20. Winners agree that we may use materials featuring them for promotional purposes.
  21. No fees are payable to any entrant for participation in a competition.
  22. If a competition is not capable of running as planned for any reason, including but not limited to, technical failures, tampering, unauthorised intervention, computer malware, network failure, broadcast failure, fraud or any cause beyond our control which affects fairness, security, integrity or conduct of Iconic Biscuits or a competition, we reserve the right to terminate, modify or suspend a competition.
  23. Iconic Biscuits Ltd. may vary the terms of, or terminate a competition at any time without liability to any contestant or other person for any reason.
  24. The promoter will not award the prize if the competition is terminated.
  25. All our decisions relating to the competition or prizes are final. No correspondence or discussions with entrants or any other person will be entered into.
  26. Tiebreakers, disputes, conflicts, questions or concerns will be managed by us, and if required by law, an independent adjudicator.
  27. Competitions with a draw element will have a winner randomly selected. This decision is final.
  28. A failure by us or a third party to enforce any of these terms and conditions will not give rise to any claim or right of action by any entrant or prize winner, nor shall it be deemed to be a waiver of any of our rights.
  29. Except as specifically set out herein and to the maximum extent permitted by law, all conditions, warranties, representations expressed or implied by law are hereby excluded.
  30. To the fullest extent permitted by law, we hereby exclude and shall not have any liability to any entrant or prize winner in connection with or arising out of any competition howsoever caused, including for any costs, expenses, forfeited prizes, damages and other liabilities, provided that nothing herein shall operate so as to limit or exclude our liability for personal injury or death caused by our negligence. For the avoidance of doubt, this rule applies in respect of any prize provided by a third party provider.
    In the event that any provision of these Terms are held to be illegal, invalid, void or otherwise unenforceable, it shall be severed from the remaining provisions which shall continue in full force and effect.
  31. The competition is run in accordance with the governing rules of Northern Ireland, United Kingdom.

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House Rules for the Biscuit Tin

If you’re not from Ireland or Northern Ireland, you’re probably not familiar with the rules of the biscuit tin.
Note: Translating “biscuit tin” to “cookie jar” doesn’t do the tin justice. There are lots of jars out there, but biscuits purchased in a tin, are for special occasions and therefore subject to special rules.

Vintage biscuit tin

For those not familiar with “the tin”, it’s usually only purchased at Christmas or for special guests coming round to the house, i.e. not you and your brother. They are usually rectangular or round and temporarily sealed. Once this seal has been removed by an authorised person, i.e. your ma, then the rules come into force:

  1. No biscuits from the tin without permission (there’s a trick to getting around this, but more on that in another post)
  2. No biscuits until the guests have had their choice
  3. No accessing the bottom layer of biscuits until the top is empty
  4. No more than two biscuits may be removed at a time
  5. No two biscuits of the same type may be removed at one time
  6. Always put the lid back on
  7. If a dispute breaks out between you and your sibling on who gets what biscuit, your mother will have the final decision (don’t leave it to your da, he’ll eat the biscuit to end the argument)
  8. If your da doesn’t get the jammy dodger, everyone is in trouble
  9. Chocolate fingers, custard creams and bourbon creams always get eaten first (after you da’s scoffed the jammy dodger)
  10. The plain biscuits in the corner have to be eaten before the top layer can be taken away and the second layer opened
  11. No biscuits before dinner. No, not even one.

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Eco Friendly Packaging

100 percent recycable packagingDid you know 100% of our packaging is recycable?

Starting from the outside, our shipping boxes from Fellowes, are made in the UK with cardboard from responsible forest sources:

The post safe shipping boxes are registered with the Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, for mixed materials. Here’s the official definition:

FSC Mix – FSC-certified virgin material based on input from FSC-certified, controlled, and/or reclaimed sources, and supplied with a percentage claim or credit claim. FSC Mix material is only eligible to be used in FSC Mix product groups.

For more information, visit the FSC website, which explains mixed materials.: https://fsc.org/en/media/5378.

Next inside your delivery of delicious biscuits is the outer box. Both the cardboard box and the window film are 100% compostable, and my personal favourite, for being ecologically friendly. Hopefully one day soon, 100% of the packaging will be 100% compostable and not just biodegradable.

The outer box label is an adhesive label, made from fully recycable paper, but even this is due for removal in the future, with direct printing to the outer box, thereby eliminating the need for adhesives and additional paper.

The inner bag is 100% biodegradable. In the future I hope to move to a compostable bag, but until the technology becomes available, the inner bag is polythene, with an additive to break down the bag in under 12 months:

The additive – named TDPA (Totally Degradable Plastic Additives) and produced by EPI Environmental Technologies – is designed to manage the lifetime of polythene products so that, once their useful shelf life has passed, they will first degrade and then biodegrade into environmentally-benign products.

The good news is, this creates 100% recyclable layers of packaging, while ensuring food safety, shelf life guarantees and safety during shipping. The better news is, I’m always working with suppliers to identify the latest in compostable, eco friendly packaging and how I can change the product if necessary, to use the packaging with the least environmental impact.

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Dead Mans Fingers Hemp Rum

Dead Mans Fingers Hemp Rum

Dead Mans Fingers Hemp Rum
DMF Hemp Rum

If you’re familiar with my Black Tom’s Sea Biscuits, then you’ll no doubt be at least aware of Dead Man’s Fingers (DMF) rum.

It’s totally worth trying on its’ own or mixed with a cola. It’s a fantastic rum from Cornwall and contributes to making my favourite biscuit in the range.

More recently however, they have just released a 4th flavour (in addition to coconut, coffee and the original spiced). This time it’s hemp, or CBD. Once again, perfectly good on it’s own, or with a cola.

But what actually is Hemp?

Part of the Cannabis family, hemp or more specifically industrial hemp, is grown for it’s stem fibres. They’re incredibly strong and used to make room and fibreboard among other things. The seeds also contain oil, which can be extracted.

Our favourite DMF rum has been infused with the hemp oil to create an amazing experimental rum. Which leads to the next obvious question… could it work as a biscuit?

Could hemp oil work in a biscuit, or am I straying into “loaded cookies”?

Only the test kitchen knows for sure.

Dead Man’s Fingers Hemp Rum is available on Amazon, Ocado and in Asda stores.

 

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Quick Buck?

Quick Buck fortified wine biscuits

Quick Buck fortified wine biscuits
Quick Buck 140g

I get a lot of fun suggestions for biscuits flavours. There’s always the common ones of course, gin, sherry, port etc. Some of those are in development right now, but the one that caught my interest last year, was a particularly famous brand of fortified wine.

Instagrammer Eoin made the suggestion (and subsequently received the very first box in production). The tricky part, is it’s so famous, it can’t be named. I know, bananas, but it’s a legal thing. I can’t piggy back off another brands’ name. But I can tell you, the biscuits are called “Quick Buck”, and they’re made with a Fortified Wine that’s produced in Devon, England, and it has a worldwide reputation for being infamous.

It also has a great selection of colloquial names, such as “bucky/buccy/buckie”, “wreck the hoose juice”, “lurgan champagne”, “commotion lotion” and more locally in Ireland, “bottle of stuff”.

None of these names were particularly suited to a product label, and the term “champagne” is protected in law, reserved for select French wineries and thanks to an agreement from World War 2, a few wineries in California.

I had never tried the wine until it was suggested, but I was surprised by it’s pleasant caramel colour, which incidentally looks really well on the biscuits. (Any flavour which doesn’t require an artificial colour is always welcome). Oddly, the bottle declares a high alcohol content and a high caffeine content, but doesn’t provide any ingredients other than fortified wine.

For my early biscuits, the ingredients were straight forward, with a paper based analysis sufficient to provide all of the ingredient and nutritional values, subject to verification by a lab before launch. But these were different. These called for some specialist testing. So off they went, post shelf life testing, they were submitted to a food analysis lab for a nutritional break down.

The results weren’t particularly surprising, but the key element here is accuracy. I couldn’t find any paper based analysis which provided a breakdown of the wine. It has always been (and for the foreseeable future will remain) a drink with a little mystery about it.

And the taste? I can’t say I’d drink a full “bottle of stuff”, but the biscuits are definitely tasty, and just a little bit mysterious.

 

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The Test Kitchen

Black Toms Sea Biscuits, made with spiced rum

Black Toms Sea Biscuits, made with spiced rumI’ve always imagined test kitchens to be laboratories, with colourful liquids and expensive machines spinning tubes and outputting graphs.

My kitchen in the house doesn’t do any of those cool things, but apparently it is a test kitchen. The only thing that makes it different from other kitchens (aside from a really old dodgy Electrolux oven), is the detailed records of all biscuits produced.

Biccie lovers regularly ask if they can test the biscuits, try new flavours and suggest the next biscuit to be made, which I completely understand. It sounds glamourous, fun and scientific all at the same time. 

What lots of people don’t realise, is eating your way through several kilograms of biscuit dough (cooked and raw), is neither glamourous nor fun. But it is scientific, as long as you write everything down. 

Don’t get me wrong though, I’m not complaining. It’s a bit like fishing. You don’t know what you’re going to get until you see it. You have a plan for what you want and a plan to make it happen, but until you’ve got it in your hand, you really can’t be sure.

So where is the fun and glamour?
The fun (for me anyway), is in the planning and nearing the final result. In developing Black Tom’s Sea Biscuits for example, there was a selection of rums to try. (The fun part). Each rum was tasted straight – no mixers, just as they’re bottled.

The next stage is to pair them with the icing and the biscuit. This naturally changes the flavour, making it sweeter and changing the consistency, so it’s a completely new product. The secret is not stopping with a great new flavour. The secret is to keep testing, rebalancing the alcohol with the ingredients until the product is fully tested. A great product could be a tweak away from an amazing product.

It’s also equally possible that a great flavour turns into a rotten flavour, which is where the importance of paperwork comes in. Looking back through the notes and findings will identify the perfect biscuit, and exactly what’s required to recreate it. 

Sadly, making the biscuit is the easy part and typically takes around 4-6 weeks. With the ingredients and design decided upon, lots of biscuits are produced to test scaleability. You’ll notice the cool pirate arm with the rum bottle I designed doesn’t actually appear on the biscuits you buy. Sadly the process to add the arm wasn’t repeatable at scale without some extremely expensive machinery. The test biscuits are then bagged and packed away in a cupboard for shelf life testing. If you want three months shelf life, you need to store and test for a minimum of three months. If you want a year, it’s store and test for a year, assuming the product hasn’t spoiled during that time.

The hard part is the packaging.

Packaging has so many requirements, it’s a world of study all on it’s own. Obviously the first product is the hardest, but every new product requires a new label and nutritional values calculated. Bagging and boxing are slow processes, unless you have tens of thousands of pounds spare, so it’s a cheap and painfully slow process to get started.

You can design the most beautiful box or packet for your biscuits, but if it doesn’t handle well in transit (in delivery vehicles, boats and aircraft, shop cages, shelf packers and so on), then it’ll never see a shop shelf. If you want scaleability, the pack also has to fit inside another box (an outer), which can fit securely onto a pallet when stacked. 

The label is yet another field of study, from product naming to ingredient lists; there’s an encyclopedia of regulations to determine what you can and cannot write or display on your label. But getting back to the fun, there is the naming and graphics to be chosen. Personally, I’m a fan of my research, and basing my products on historical details. Black Tom for example, is a rarely documented pirate, who is thought to have hidden his treasure in Dunluce Castle, a couple of hours north of my kitchen. (Spoiler alert, in Northern Ireland, anywhere in the entire country is no more than a couple of hours away, unless there’s sheep walking up the road). So with a local pirate, a delicious Cornish rum, and a new biscuit, we’re all set for a new product.