Bristol Easter Biscuit Recipe

10 oz plain flour

7 oz butter

5 oz castor sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)

2 oz currants

1 or 2 egg yolks

6 – 8 drops oil of Cassia

Mix all of the ingredients together adding a little milk if too dry.  Roll out to about  ⅜”/1 cm thick and cut with a fluted cutter.

Bake at 160˚C (conventional oven) for 10-15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Sprinkle with caster sugar as soon as you remove the biscuits from the oven, then cool on a rack.


The original recipe said 6 drops of oil of cassia, my mother-in-law has now increased this to 8, but do count the drops carefully as too strong a flavour of cassia ruins the biscuits.

Likewise, according to my husband, the biscuits are RUINED if they are cooked for too long.  According to him, they should retain some substance in the middle and not be too biscuity.  He does have some technical description of the degree of resistance to snapping the biscuits should have, but it is a bit too complicated to explain – let’s just say they shouldn’t snap too easily!

20 thoughts on “Bristol Easter Biscuit Recipe

  1. …and very nice they are too. Agree that only 7 drops of Cassia needed and we baked at 150 in a microwave combi for 13 mins.

  2. Thank you so much for this recipe Suzanne. I have such fond memories of my mother making these every Easter from the 1950s to the late 90s. We lived just north of Bristol. For some reason they came into my mind this year and I found your recipe. Delicious!

  3. Thanks so much for the recipe. My Somerset born and bred mother-in-law made these delicious biscuits every year. I searched for the recipe but couldn’t find it at first as most recipes use cinnamon which doesn’t taste the same. DELICIOUS! 7 drops of oil are plenty.

  4. My lovely mum always made these biscuits at Easter but never used a recipe that I could find. I have tried all different recipes using mixed spice, cinnamon Tec., but I always remember the oil of caddis bottle in the cupboard (part of my inheritance!) just couldn’t find the recipe. Thank you so much for reminding me of my childhood and for making my husband a very happy man as this was my mums legacy to him!!!!

  5. This recipe or very similar was used for years by my Aunt Olive and she would make a huge amount to be wrapped in threes and sold to raise money for her church….in BRISTOL. so I wonder at the origin of the name given!
    Happy Easter!


  6. This is far the best recipe I’ve found. As the shop bought Easter biscuits are changing their recipe and not including chassis oil. We made loads last year and now preparing for a marathon bake. With our new family secret recipe :) we found 8 drops in this amount was fab for us, and no definitely don’t cook them to much at all xxxx thank you xx

  7. If you live in or near London, Brixton Wholefoods has cassia oil – the only place in London I’ve found that does.

    1. Greetings from Keynsham! Boots still sell cassia oil and i currently have a batch of Easter biscuits in the oven making my house smell delicious!

  8. I am so excited to find this recipe. I kept many of my mother’s recipes, some committed to memory, but this one I lost. I have found some oil of cassia on Amazon so I am hoping it is the genuine thing. I came from Midsomer Norton in Somerset and the aroma of the baking of Easter biscuits infused with oil of cassia was as much a part of the celebration of Easter as hot cross buns. Looking forward to passing this on to my own grown up family now.

  9. Love these, missed them when I moved from Somerset. My great, grandad was a baker and used to make these every year but died never telling anyone how he made them, so happy to have found this recipe though. I have worked out what spices my grandad used but I definitely prefer the oil. My go to every single year now and I always make them for work colleagues. This year I am sending my team some as we are all at home during coronavirus.

    1. Fantastic, I’m so pleased to think that these unique Bristol Easter Cakes will be cheering people up as they work at home during Coronavirus. I hope they enjoy them.

  10. Where can I buy cassia oil please? I now live near Burnham-on-Sea in Somerset and have always wanted to make Easter Biscuits using cassia oil. I am a bit dubious about buying it online as concerned it’s not the right thing. I tried the link mentioned but it doesn’t work. Many thanks 😊

    1. Dear Yvette,
      Several people have reported buying cassia oil in Boots and searching online a Health Food shop called Kyffins in Burnham on Sea is another possibility. It is probably too late now to buy online, although I wouldn’t be afraid to use this option in future. Finally The Good Earth in Wells definitely sells it, so you could ring them to see whether they could send you any. 01749 678600.
      Good Luck,

      1. Thankyou Suzanne – that’s fabulous. I have left it too late now I think but I will definitely try the places you recommended – thanks so much. Happy Easter xx

  11. I learnt how to make Easter Cakes from my mother in law from Radstock, we think the recipe came from her mother in law, whose husband worked in the Co-op bakery at Radstock. The mixture could be very sticky because of the high proportion of butter so they are best chilled in the fridge before rolling out.
    We now live in the Midlands buy my husband always makes several batches to her recipe. They have to be ‘ melt in the mouth’, not biscuity, and are bigger round than most biscuits 9.5 cm diameter, rolled to the thickness of the currant.
    We bough the last bottle of oil of cassia from Clements Chemist in Radstock, supplied by Toppfit in Weston Super Mare.

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