"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' Wizard Wheezes
Before Fred and George Weasley's early departure from Hogwarts to open their joke store Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, they 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 twin because there was a good chance it was hexed in some way.
What are Canary Creams?
Weasleys' Canary Creams are a play on the custard cream biscuits (or cookies, if you prefer) that are popular in the U.K. and Ireland. Custard creams contain a creamy vanilla custard filling sandwiched between two rectangular 'biscuit' layers, which are often stamped with an ornate design that says 'custard cream.'
Thankfully, my adaptation of Weasleys' Canary Creams will not turn the consumer into a bird. Instead, I've kept the vanilla custard biscuits and creamy vanilla custard filling traditional to the classic biscuit and swapped the stamped rectangle design for a Weasley-inspired 'canary' bird cut-out with a sparkly yellow sanding sugar belly. These custard cream biscuit cookies are a fun addition to any Harry Potter-themed event with their recognizable 'canary' shape.
What ingredients do you need to make Weasleys' Canary Cream Biscuits?
- All-purpose flour
- Custard cream powder -- I like to use this one, aptly from Bird's brand
- Baking soda
- Kosher salt
- Unsalted butter
- Caster sugar
- Egg yolk
- Vanilla extract
- Whole milk
- Powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar)
- Yellow sanding sugar -- I used this one
What is the difference between granulated sugar, caster sugar, powdered sugar, and sanding sugar?
When you see a recipe with 'sugar' simply listed as an ingredient, it generally refers to granulated white sugar. Made from sugarcane or sugarbeets, granulated sugar has a medium grind well-suited to 'most' baked goods or desserts, which is why it is most commonly used.
Caster sugar is simply a finer ground version of granulated sugar. The finer grind allows it to dissolve more readily into batters, often leading to a finer texture for baked goods. For some things like smooth dough (like these biscuits have), meringues, or simple syrups this is an advantage. For other baked goods, like biscuits or shortbread, you may prefer a coarser sugar.
Don't have caster sugar on hand?
You can make it from granulated sugar with a quick blitz in your food processor or blender. Just make sure to seal the lid super securely!
Also known as 'confectioner's' sugar or 'icing' sugar, this is simply sugar that has been ground into a fine powder. It dissolves in liquid really well, so it is typically used in icings and frostings, but you'll often see it sprinkled over baked goods to finish them as well. This type of sugar is more likely to clump when added to batters. so a bit of cornstarch is often added into the mix to help prevent this. However, depending on the recipe, you may still benefit from sifting powdered sugar for ultra-smooth results.
Sanding sugar is large sugar crystals that are most often used for decorating as they are able to reflect light well, giving them a sparkly appearance. They are also great for decorating because they do not melt easily and are often found in a rainbow of colors (like the yellow used in these Canary Creams!)
How to create a canary-shaped biscuit cookie
I used this bird-shaped cookie cutter to cut the primary shape of the Canary Cream biscuit cookies and used a 1 ½ inch round pastry cutter, like this one, to cut out a small circle in each biscuit cookie top (half of the biscuits). This exposed belly will allow some of the custard cream filling to peek out, which I like to dust with sparkly yellow sanding sugar.
Pro Tip #1
To create a uniform look, remember to flip the other half of the biscuit cookies (each bottom half that hasn't had a belly circle cut out) onto the opposite side than the tops when baking. The side of each biscuit that is touching the pan will bake flatter than the exposed side. While your biscuits will not be ruined if you bake them all facing the same direction, if you bake the bottoms flipped to the opposite side than the tops, this will allow the flat side to end up sandwiched on the inside of the cookie, and the rounded tops to stay on the outer sides when you press them together, creating a more professional-looking biscuit cookie.
Pro Tip #2
Chill cut cookie biscuit dough for 30-minutes in the refrigerator after rolling before you bake them to help them better hold their distinctive bird shapes.
What tools do I need to make this recipe?
- A kitchen scale (or measuring cups for less precise results)
- Measuring spoons
- A large mixing bowl
- A small mixing bowl
- A whisk
- A rolling pin
- A dough scraper or thin metal turner (nice to have but not essential)
- (2) baker's half sheets
- Parchment paper
- A canary biscuit/cookie cutter
- A 1 ½ inch round pastry cutter
- A piping bag (nice to have but not essential)
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Weasleys' Canary Creams may not turn the consumer into a canary, but these custard cream biscuit cookies are a fun addition to any Harry Potter-themed event with their recognizable 'canary' shape.
For the Canary Cream biscuit cookies:
- 180 g (about 1 ½ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more to dust surface
- 60 g (about ½ cup) Bird's custard powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- ⅛ tsp Kosher salt
- 113 g (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, grated or finely diced
- 100 g (about 7 tbsp) *caster sugar
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the vanilla custard cream filling:
- 50 g unsalted butter, room temperature
- 120 g powdered sugar, sifted
- 16 g (2 tbsp) Bird's custard powder
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp whole milk
- pinch Kosher salt
- 2 tbsp yellow sanding sugar, or as desired
For the Canary Cream biscuit cookies:
- Line 2 baker's half sheets with parchment paper and reserve to the side.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, custard powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the cold butter (grated or finely diced) and work in with your fingertips until the mixture is gravelly and resembles breadcrumbs.
- Add the caster sugar, egg yolk, milk, and vanilla extract and stir with a wooden spoon to combine. I find that once the mixture is semi-combined, it works best to combine the rest by hand, working the mixture until it is a smooth dough. At first, it will seem like you need more liquid, but don't be tempted to add any. As you keep working the dough, it should come together.
- Lightly flour your rolling surface and your rolling pin, then roll the dough out to approximately 3-4 mm (about ¼ inch or just under).
- Using the bird biscuit/cookie cutter, cut the first 12 cookie biscuits out of the rolled dough (You may need to roll the dough more than once to do this). Transfer the cookies to the first sheet pan. Using the 1 ½-inch round biscuit cutter, cut a hole in the "belly" of each bird. Remove the circle of dough from each of the birds "bellies" and return it to the remaining dough on your counter to use for the other half of the cookie biscuits.
- You will need to roll, cut, and reroll the dough several times, but should end up with an additional 12 bird-shaped cookie biscuits (24 total cut cookie biscuits from the dough). Place the remaining 12 cookie 'bottoms' "face-side-down" on the second tray. This helps create a uniform look to the biscuit cookies (**see notes below). Do not cut a circle in these.
- Transfer both baking sheets to the refrigerator for 30-minutes. This will help the cookie biscuits hold their shape when baking. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F / 175 degrees C so that it comes to temp while the cookie biscuits chill.
- Transfer the chilled cookie biscuits to the oven and bake for 12-16 minutes or until they are just beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Allow the biscuit cookies to cool fully before removing them from the baking sheets.
For the vanilla custard cream filling and to assemble:
- In a small mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, sifted powdered sugar, custard powder, vanilla, milk, and salt, whisking until smooth, pale, and creamy.
- Flip the cooled Canary Cream cookie biscuit bottoms over so that the side touching the pan is exposed. The bottoms and the tops should all now be facing the same direction.
- Fill a piping bag with the vanilla custard cream and snip a small hole in the end. You don't need to do any fancy piping but I like to use a piping bag because it helps me fill the irregular shape of the birds easier. Pipe filling into each bird 'bottom' half then place the bird 'top' halves (with the circles cut out) on top of each, gently sandwiching each cookie.
- While the filling is still fresh, top each bird 'belly' with a sprinkle of the yellow sanding sugar.
- Store leftover Canary Cream biscuit cookies in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge for up to 3 days.
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.
7/29/22 This recipe was updated and may no longer fit specified dietary preferences from previous versions of this post.
* Don't have caster sugar on hand? You can make it from granulated sugar with a quick blitz in your food processor or blender. Just make sure to seal the lid super securely!
** To create a uniform look, remember to flip half of the biscuit cookies (each bottom half that hasn't had a belly circle cut out) onto the opposite side than the tops when baking. The side of each biscuit that is touching the pan will bake flatter than the exposed side. While your biscuits will not be ruined if you bake them all facing the same direction, if you bake the bottoms flipped to the opposite side than the tops, this will allow the flat side to end up sandwiched on the inside of the cookie, and the rounded tops to stay on the outer sides when you press them together, creating a more professional-looking biscuit cookie.
- Serving Size: 1 biscuit / cookie (filled + sandwiched)
- Calories: 271
- Sugar: 21 g
- Sodium: 101 mg
- Fat: 11 g
- Saturated Fat: 7 g
- Carbohydrates: 38 g
- Protein: 2 g
- Cholesterol: 45 mg
Keywords: harry potter, weasleys, canary creams, custard creams, biscuits, cookies, custard powder