By Keighley’s Mike Armstrong, an award-winning master baker with a big passion for baking...

WHO can remember a biscuit called gypsy creams?

I certainly can, and it takes me back to my childhood from the seventies.

They were made by McVitie's, who have been producing biscuits since 1839.

If you don't know what gypsy creams are, or you haven't had the chance to eat them, these biscuits were made from two round-topped oat biscuits sandwiched together with buttercream.

They were very addictive, buttery and crispy biscuits I recall, and came in a red packet which sadly disappeared from production in 2005 for some unknown reason. This particular version was made from oats and vanilla buttercream which was unique to the UK; other countries called them Romany biscuits and they were made from chocolate and coconut biscuits sandwiched together with chocolate buttercream.

Oats are hugely popular in the UK for making biscuits and are a well-used ingredient, and they're also popular in Australia and New Zealand, where a version of the biscuit was called Anzac after they were sent overseas to solders who fought in the First World War.

About the gypsy cream name, if you search on the internet you will find gypsy with a 'y' but the images of the original packaging I seem to recall had an 'i'. It is perhaps not ethical to call a biscuit 'gypsy' nowadays but as it is a retro recipe, we have to call it by the same name. If we considered renaming them oat biscuits or sandwich biscuits, no one would know what we were talking about!

I think these biscuits were so special, because they satisfied your taste buds and were strong enough to have a good dunk in your tea! This is how I remember them, without the politics surrounding them today. So gypsy cream lovers, don't be sad. If they are not produced now so what, I have the perfect recipe for you to recreate them at home!



Makes 16


55g/2oz butter or margarine, softened

55g/2oz lard or vegetable shortening

85g/3oz caster sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon golden syrup

1 tablespoon boiling water

110g/4oz plan flour, sift

55g/2oz porridge oats

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4 and line 3 baking trays with baking paper.

2. Cream together butter, lard and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add the syrup, boiling water and vanilla and mix well, then add all the dry ingredients and stir until combined.

4. Roll into small balls x 32 and place 9 balls onto the baking trays leaving plenty of room to spread.

5. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden, and allow to cool on the trays before sandwiching them together with buttercream.

6. I made my buttercream with 55g/2oz butter, 110g/4oz icing sugar, 1 tbsp milk and 1/4 tsp vanilla. Add 1-2 tbsp cocoa powder if you opt for chocolate filling.