You know that version of the song ‘Lady Marmalade’, where Christina Aguilera pumps out that EPIC note as she begins her verse? What a MOMENT, right!? That’s what these melting moments remind me of.

The slightly bitter tang of the marmalade in the buttercream is enough to splice through the richness of the biscuit and filling, and as it melts on your tongue, you’ll find yourself having a moment, too. I’ve adopted the custard powder of the classically Aussie yo-yo biscuit, because I like the colour and flavour it provides. Most melting moments recipes use cornflour (cornstarch) — either of these additions stop the flour and fat binding too tightly, which means the biscuit will, quite literally, melt in your mouth.

Makes about 25 filled sandwiched biscuits


1/3 cup (40 g) icing (confectioners’) sugar
250 g (9 oz) unsalted butter, softened
11/2 cups (225 g) plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
1/2 cup (75 g) custard powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt flakes

Marmalade buttercream

100 g (31/2 oz) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (85 g) icing (confectioners’) sugar, plus extra for dusting
zest and juice of 1/2 orange
1 heaped tbsp orange marmalade


Line two light-coloured (see Tips, page 265) baking trays (ideally biscuit trays) with baking paper.

If your icing sugar is lumpy, pop it into a food processor and blitz, or into a zip-lock bag and mash with a rolling pin.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the softened butter until uniformly soft, then add the icing sugar and beat until the mixture is pale and creamy (more is more here).

Sift together the flour, custard powder and baking powder. Add to the butter mixture, along with the salt, and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.

Use a teaspoon measure dusted with a smidge of flour to scoop out 2 level teaspoons (5 g) of the mixture, rolling into walnut-sized balls between your hands. If your hands are hot, pat a little flour onto them to stop the mixture sticking. Evenly space the balls out on the baking trays. Don’t worry if they’re a bit mangy; you can always smooth them out once chilled.

Pop the trays in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes, or even overnight.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F). Use a floured fork to press each dough ball into a 2 cm (3/4 inch) disc. Bake for 15–18 minutes, until the biscuits are set enough to be dislodged with a gentle prod, are custard-yellow in colour and the bottom is still blonde. Allow to cool for

10 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack before filling.

Make your buttercream in the stand mixer by creaming the butter and icing sugar together until super pale. Add the orange zest, juice and marmalade and beat until incorporated.

To fill the biscuits, either transfer the buttercream to a piping bag and squeeze it over half the biscuits, or spread a teaspoon of filling over them. Pop the unfilled biscuits on top of the filled ones like hats, squashing ever so slightly to more evenly distribute the filling.

Give the whole lot one last dusting of icing sugar as a final flourish.

The biscuits will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days. They can also be frozen (filled or unfilled) for up to 3 months; thaw for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Place any left-over dough on a piece of baking paper, roll up into a log (twisting the edges so it looks like salami) and stash in the freezer. When you have a hankering, simply slice off 1 cm (1/2 inch) pieces and bake as normal.

There are entire books and blogs dedicated to tweaking the various variables on the biscuit/cookie caper, but some tricks of the trade are so tried and true that you simply must capitulate — after all, it’s science!

For evenly coloured biscuits, using an aluminium or lighter-coloured biscuit tray will make all the difference — the darker the tray, the more heat it absorbs, which leads to toasty bottoms (not in a good way, sadly). Biscuit trays are also almost entirely flat, which means that the heat can access each side of the biscuit evenly.

The more butter/fat you add to the dough, the ‘shorter’ your biscuit will be, meaning the more easily it crumbles.


You can use cornflour (cornstarch) if you don’t have custard powder; if so, add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste PLUS an extra 1 tablespoon icing sugar to your biscuit mixture.

Amazingly, gluten-free flour is just as good here!

Recipe riffs

You can mix and match these riffs, but just remember, whatever goes in must come out — so if it’s dry, pull back on the flour and sugar. For aromatics such as vanilla or citrus and the like, watch that the flavours play well together, and add just enough to make them sing without shouting.

Biscuit flavours:

Chocolate — sub in 1/4 cup (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder for some of the flour
Pistachio — use 1/4 cup (35 g) blitzed pistachios instead of some of the flour
Go floral with 1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
For a citrus twist, add 1 teaspoon grated zest — anything from lemon to Tahitian or makrut lime to yuzu would be sensational.

 Buttercream options:

1 tablespoon passionfruit pulp
Zest + juice of 1 small lemon
1 tablespoon cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon milk
Chocolate hazelnut spread (+ hazelnut meal in the biscuit dough)
1 tablespoon fresh raspberries or mulberries
Peanut butter (+ raspberry jam to sandwich the biscuits together).

Melting moments are essentially shortbreads, so there’s no real need to sandwich with icing if you’re not in the mood. Just serve with a cuppa, or spread the filling on just one biscuit.

Recipe from The Joy of Better Cooking by Alice Zaslavsky


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