“It’s all right,” he said. “I haven’t done anything to them. It’s the custard creams you’ve got to watch–” Neville, who had just bitten into a custard cream, choked and spat it out. Fred laughed. “Just my little joke, Neville…” […] Just then, Neville caused a slight diversion by turning into a large canary. “Oh– sorry, Neville!” Fred shouted over all the laughter. “I forgot — it was the custard creams we hexed–” Within a minute, however, Neville had molted, and once his feathers had fallen off, he reappeared looking entirely normal.” He even joined in the laughing. “Canary Creams!” Fred shouted to the excitable crowd. “George and I invented them– seven Sickles each, a bargain!” – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Weasleys’ Canary Creams
Before Fred and George Weasley’s early departure from Hogwarts to open their joke store Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, they created and tested many of their joke products on other Hogwarts students. Weasleys’ Canary Creams made their first appearance in Harry’s 4th year during the Tri-Wizard Tournament when Fred gave Neville a hexed custard cream that temporarily turned him into a large canary. Though no harm was done, Fred and George’s classmates began to think twice before accepting food from either of them because it was likely hexed in some way.
Traditional Custard Creams
Traditional custard creams are a type of biscuit (or cookie, if you prefer) popular in the U.K. and Ireland. They contain a creamy vanilla custard filling sandwiched between two biscuit layers, which are often stamped with an ornate design that says ‘custard cream.’
A lemony update
Because the Weasleys’ Canary Creams of the Harry Potter universe are hexed to turn the consumer into a large canary, I decided to really lean into that description when creating my version. I’ve chosen to use a lemon shortbread for the biscuit dough and a lemon cream cheese buttercream filling rather than the traditional vanilla. The biscuits are each cut into the shape of a bird using this cookie cutter, and rather than stamping the tops with a fancy design, I’ve opted to expose the filling in their canary bellies, by cutting out a small circle on the top layer of each biscuit, using the 1 1/2 inch round of this pastry cutter.
This recipe utilized both lemon zest and juice, so I highly suggest making it easy on yourself and using a microplane/zester to prep the lemon zest. This is the one I currently use and it makes the work of zesting citrus so much easier.
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I’m going to level with you: These are not the type of biscuits that you can easily make loads of, stack in a storage container, and transport to-and-fro to the bake sale. If you do this, you will likely end up with a bunch of broken (albeit delicious) biscuits and a Jackson Pollock-esk container filled with buttercream. Aka a bake sale fail.
The shortbread is gluten-free and egg-free, and as a result, it’s delicate. I find that the thicker the shortbread, the less likely it will be to break on you so keep that in mind when rolling your dough. It’s also important to allow the cookies to cool FULLY before even trying to move them somewhere else.
The filling isn’t the traditional glue and spackle strength that you might get from other biscuit fillings, it’s a fluffy, creamy, smooth buttercream that will not tolerate a large amount of weight. Though it will firm up slightly when refrigerated, I find that Weasleys’ Canary Creams are best served in the same place that you’ve prepared them. They’re the fancy biscuit version of a good buttercream cupcake.
A note for special diets
This recipe for Weasleys’ Canary Creams is grain-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free, low-carb, and friendly for Keto diets at 8 net carbs per large cream-filled biscuit stack.
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Weasleys’ Canary Creams may not turn you into a large canary, but Harry Potter fans will enjoy these shortbread biscuits with creamy lemon centers.
For the biscuits:
- 2 cups almond flour
- 1 tbsp arrowroot flour
- 1/2 cup Stevia in the Raw (or other 1:1 alternative sweetener such as Monkfruit)
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
For the buttercream filling:
For the biscuits:
- Combined all ingredients in a food processor or by hand in a large mixing bowl. If you choose to mix this by hand, you can cut the ingredients together with a fork or pastry cutter, but you will eventually need to mix by hand, literally, to get the dough to form properly. The end result should resemble a ball of play dough.
- Reserve to chill in the refridgerator for a minimum of 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking liner and reserve to the side.
- Roll the chilled dough between two sheets of parchment paper with a rolling pin. I rolled my dough 1/2 inch thick for these. If you choose to roll your dough thinner, the cookies are more prone to breakage.
- Cut into desired shapes. I cut 18 biscuits out using this bird-shaped cutter, then used the 1 1/2 inch circle of this pastry cutter to cut a center hole into half of the bird biscuits. These belly-less birds will eventually go on top.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the shortbread is lightly golden. Allow to cool FULLY before you even think of touching the cookies. These beauties are delicate.
For the buttercream filling:
- Cream the cream cheese, butter, stevia, and lemon juice, together with a hand mixer until fluffy. If you choose to use food coloring, add this last, blending until evenly incorporated.
- You can fill a piping bag with a fine tip to pipe. Alternatively, you can also fill a flat-bottomed ziplock with the buttercream, snipping just the end of the tip to pipe if you do not have a piping bag.
- Pipe the buttercream evenly over the 9 bird biscuits without the center hole. Then gently lay the 9 belly-less bird biscuits over the top. Fill each belly circle with additional buttercream.
- If you’d like to add eyes or other adornments to the Canary Creams, black icing, chocolate mini chips, and black sprinkles all make great options.
- Serve immediately and store leftovers in the refridgerator.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: 1 Canary Cream
- Calories: 267
- Sugar: 2 g
- Sodium: 84 mg
- Fat: 23 g
- Saturated Fat: 8 g
- Carbohydrates: 10 g
- Fiber: 2 g
- Protein: 8 g
- Cholesterol: 36 mg