Hokey Pokey Biscuits

Gather and Graze, Hokey Pokey Biscuits

There are some places in the world that eat into your very soul and become a part of who you are. Places of near impossible beauty, both in their surrounds and in their essence.

I left behind a sizeable chunk of my heart to such a place. I wasn’t ready to leave (perhaps I never would have, if given the choice), but love of another kind and duty dictated it to be so. I believe that one day we will return, my heart and I, to piece it back together and be whole once again.

Aotearoa (New Zealand) is where I’ve most felt at home over the years. I’ve moved A LOT, but here was a place that finally fitted like a glove, that made me feel creative and alive! It is a food-lover’s paradise, thanks to the rich, fertile land. Some of the most phenomenal ‘sauvignon blancs’ and ‘pinot noirs’ in the world are produced here (which happen to be my favourite whites and reds). Their art, design and architecture leaves one awestruck. However, as is often the case… at the heart of it all, are the people. The people you chance upon and are lucky enough to form friendships with. My heart really lies amongst them.

So, with my fondness for old recipes… Nana-style recipes you might say… I’d like to share the following tasty morsels with you. They come from a kiwi cookbook by Alexa Johnston, called ‘A Second Helping – More from Ladies, a Plate’. Alexa has gathered up a great many of New Zealand’s classic biscuits, slices, cakes and sweets and tested a variety of tried and true recipes, all in the quest of finding the very best way of preparing them. She has done a superb job!

Hokey Pokey is the New Zealand term for honeycomb toffee, so you will find that these biscuits have a slight fizz on the tongue (from the addition of baking soda to the golden syrup). They go deliciously well with a cup of tea.

After making these, I’m sure I felt a little bit more of my heart skip across the sea.

Hokey Pokey Biscuits

  • Servings: Approx 30 Biscuits
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 115g/Just under ½ Cup Unsalted Butter (softened)
  • 115g/½ Cup Caster Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Full-Cream Milk
  • 2 Teaspoons Golden Syrup
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 170g/1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Plain Flour (sifted)


    Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.

    Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

    Place the milk and golden syrup into a small saucepan and bring just to the boil over medium heat. Add the baking soda and stir it in quickly. When the mixture froths up, remove from the heat and scoop it into the bowl with the butter and sugar. Stir to combine.

    Add the vanilla extract and then the flour and stir until it all comes together. It should be a fairly soft dough.

    Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto baking trays, allowing some room for spreading. Press down gently on each one, with a fork.

    Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

    Cooking Notes:

    • There is a suggested option of adding ¾ Cup of chocolate chips to the dough (at the same time as you add the flour).
    • I decided to test out a tray or two of biscuits with some caramel chips added and they certainly weren’t as pretty to look at as the originals, but really were quite delicious!

  • Recipe from Alexa Johnston’s ‘A Second Helping – More from Ladies, a Plate’

22 thoughts on “Hokey Pokey Biscuits

  1. Chica Andaluza

    I love this recipe – I made an ice cream with eringue the other day and my mum suggested I try it next with honeycomb (hokey pokey) now I need to try the biscuits!

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks – lovely to hear from you! Hokey Pokey ice-cream is such a wonderful thing, particularly when it’s a good home-made one! I need to get back in the groove of making ice-cream on a regular basis – so many delicious ingredient options to stir into it!

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      It’s certainly a peculiar name for a type of sweet, isn’t it?! Language in all it’s shapes and forms is such a wonderful and intriguing thing.

  2. ohlidia

    I would love to visit New Zealand Margot, lucky you that you actually got to live there. And I would love to try these hokey pokey biscuits… they look divine and I just love their name! As would my daughters.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Thanks Lidia! It’s such a beautiful place – absolutely breathtaking! If they didn’t experience quite so many earthquakes it would be perfect! I’m so pleased you like these quirky-sounding cookies! 🙂

  3. jothetartqueen

    the name of these biscuits have a fun ring to them. they do look good though I never had them but I do love honeycomb!

    oh and hokey pokey ice cream? I would love to have some of that!

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      It is a rather quirky term isn’t it?! You’ll have to give them a try Jo… as well as the ice cream – hopefully a supermarket in your area will have some in stock! Little chunks of sweet honeycomb through a vanilla/honey flavoured ice cream – so delicious in a waffle cone! 🙂

  4. Johnnysenough Hepburn

    Ha! Loving that you’re into these Nana biscuits and things. I didn’t grow up with this type of biscuit as none of my Grandparents were alive. So for me it’s purely out of curiosity. Which reminds me, tea cakes! Must make 🙂

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      I didn’t really have grandparents around much when I was growing up either Johnny. 😦 It was more my mum who used to make these sorts of biscuits and cakes. I guess that’s why I’m so keen for my own children to have that experience too! Ooooh, a good tea cake – now that would be lovely! I’ll be looking forward to it! 🙂

  5. apuginthekitchen

    I’ve always always wanted to visit New Zealand, even more so than Australia, the pictures I have seen of the lush land is just too beautiful for words. I think your hokey pokey biscuits sound delicious, they look really moist and chewy.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      It really is a unique and beautiful country Suzanne, I hope you get to visit there one day! Please come and see us here too though… Australia has some amazing flora and fauna as well!
      The Hokey Pokey biscuits may be a little deceptive in the photos – they are actually quite a light and crisp little biscuit, which I think would also be fabulous crushed over a good vanilla ice-cream.

  6. saucygander

    Haha, Nana recipes 🙂 Hokey pokey has also made it across the pond to Australia, I think, as I’m sure I remember that flavour from ice creams or something else sweet. That brings back good memories, 🙂

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Hmmm, indeed it has made it’s way across the ditch! In fact we have a small tub of ‘Serendipity Hokey Pokey’ ice cream in the freezer at the moment… Sooo yummy! 🙂

  7. sam @ nourish

    Hi Margot, I agree New Zealand is such a beautiful place (and my birthplace!). What amazed me most when I returned to visit as a South Australian, water-frugal adult was the amount of water!!! Glorious water, everywhere…no wonder all is so lush and green and growing! I will enjoy sharing these little biscuits, along with your story, with my kids. They look delicious 🙂

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      That’s very kind of you Sam, thank you! Isn’t the lush greenery just amazing! We particularly loved taking the kids on forest/nature walks in the different regional parks… listening to the cheerful Tui’s in the trees, looking out for wetas and tuataras… such an awesome place to bring up kids! Oh dear… I’ll get a little emotional if I keep going! Cheers, Margot

  8. ChgoJohn

    Some places will alway feel like home and some dishes will always be synonymous with comfort. Biscuits/cookies definitely fall into the latter category. These sound delicious, Margot, and the fact chocolate can be added to good effect, makes them all the better in my book! Thanks for sharing a bit of your personal history, as well as this great recipe/

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      John, isn’t it reassuring to know that there’s a place that feels like home out there somewhere – even you can’t be there right now. The biscuits are worth trying at least a few in their original state (before scattering them with choc-chips), to make you sure you get that full Hokey Pokey experience! I hope you enjoy them.

    1. Gather and Graze Post author

      Sorry to do that to you Karen – you really do come from an a spectacular country though! Hate to admit it, but I also have some Hokey Pokey ice-cream in the freezer at the moment too! 🙂


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