Tudor Jumbles

Jumbles or knot biscuits were popular at feasts in Tudor England, along with alphabet biscuits, flavoured with rosewater and spices.

Clara Peeters, Still Life (Flemish, 1607). Private Collection. Image Public Domain.

Here’s a recipe from Thomas Dawson’s The Good Huswifes Jewell (1597) –

“To make Iombils a hundred: Take twenty Egges and put them into a pot both the yolkes & the white, beat them wel, then take a pound of beaten suger and put to them, and stiree them wel together, then put to it a quarter of a peck of flower, and make a hard paste thereof, and then with Anniseeds moulde it well, ane make it in little towles beeing long, and tye them in knots, and wet the ends in Rosewater, then put them into a pan of seething water, but even in one waum, then take them out with a Skimmer and lay them in a cloth to drie, this being don lay them in a tart panne, the bottome beeing oyled, then put them into a temperat Oven for one howre, turning them often in the Oven”

And here’s a modern version of this recipe:


  • 2 eggs
  • 100g sugar
  • 15 aniseed or caraway
  • 175g plain flour


  • Beat the eggs
  • Beat in the sugar and then the aniseed
  • Add in the flour to form a stiff dough
  • Knead the dough into rolls of about 1cm diameter by 10cm in length
  • Tie these into a simple knot
  • Plunge the knots into a pan of boiling water, until they swell and float for about a minute
  • Lift them out and allow to drain
  • Put the knots onto a lightly oiled baking tray and bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees C (350 F)
  • Turn over and bake for a further 10-15 minutes

Let me know if you try it out!

Published 7/06/2020