No, the pattern is not purely for decoration.
You may not have questioned this about bourbon chocolate biscuits before because they usually straight from the package into your mouth, but if you take the time to really look at one of these soft, chocolatey cookies you’ll see—along with the signature “bourbon” inscription—that there are two rows of holes on the top and the bottom of the biscuit. You may dismiss these holes at simply a decorative pattern for the biscuit, but not so fast. There’s actually good reason for those holes being there.
According to the Independent, Mark Greenwell, a manager at the Pladis factory—a biscuit company that produces the bourbon chocolate biscuits— appeared on Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped and explained why the holes are there: The softer biscuits need holes in them so that during the baking process, steam can escape, preventing the cookie from cracking or breaking.
“If the holes weren't there, steam would build up inside the biscuits,” Greenwell explained. “The biscuit would collapse back down.”
He says that getting the steam out of the biscuit also gives it an even texture—and you’ll notice that the bourbon biscuits do have a smooth surface.
That’s not the case for a cookie like a ginger snap, as the Independent rightly points out, which is actually crunchy and should snap in half when you break it, and also has a cracked, rougher texture.
“Because the steam stays inside the biscuits, the trapped heat caramelizes the sugar,” the show’s host, Kate Quilton adds. “The sugar becomes a glass-like structure like you find in a boiled sweet, and that's what gives a ginger [cookie] its characteristic snap.”
Does this revelation about the bourbon chocolate biscuit change the way that you eat it? No. Will it heighten your appreciation of the squishy little sandwich cookie? Maybe! What you can know for sure next time you open a package is that even the simplest, most innocent looking cookie is hiding some secrets.
Britannia the Original Bourbon Chocolate Flavoured Cream Biscuits, 13.7 Oz, $10 on amazon.com