Canary Creams

A magical twist on a traditional British custard cream cookie!


I’m joining up with a couple of blogging friends today for a Harry Potter themed Virtual Dinner party.


Just in time for Halloween, we’re sharing meals and treats inspired by everyone’s favourite wizard. Check out the rest of the delicacies here:

This collaboration is right up my alley! I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m a huge book nerd, especially children’s literature. We even named the tables at our wedding after favourite books, and used library pockets as our seating chart. Our head table was labelled with a book series special to both me and my husband – Harry Potter! When we started talking about a virtual Harry Potter dinner party, I knew I needed to contribute! After much perusing through the books, I decided on Canary Creams.


In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Fred and George Weasley provide the food for a party after the first task of the Tri-Wizard tournament. Poor Neville Longbottom falls victim to one of their early products – a custard cream that turns him into a large canary.


First, what exactly is a custard cream? It’s a traditional British biscuit (what we would call a cookie.) A buttercream filling is sandwiched between two crisp, shortbread-like cookies. Of course Canary Creams in my world are shaped like birds!


You’ll need two distinctly British ingredients to give these cookies their signature flavour and texture – custard powder and caster sugar.


Custard powder is basically cornstarch with salt, color and flavouring. It’s intended to be mixed with sugar and milk to form a custard. Caster sugar is also known as superfine sugar. I found them both without difficulty in the baking aisle of my local grocery store (Sobeys.) I also found instant custard mix, which I expect would be a reasonable substitute for the custard powder. If you can’t find either, vanilla pudding mix will work too. If you can’t find superfine sugar, blitz regular granulated sugar in your blender or food processor for a few seconds.

Your other ingredients are super simple – butter or margarine, flour and vanilla.


Beat the butter and sugar together, then add vanilla.


Beat in the custard powder, then gradually add the flour.


You’ll end up with a soft, slightly orange-y colored dough.

If you started out with very soft butter/margarine, you can chill the dough for 10 min or so to make it a bit easier to work with. If your butter was on the firmer side, there’s no need. Play it by feel – the dough will crack if it’s too cold, but cutting shapes will be difficult if it’s too warm.

Roll the dough out between two sheets of waxed or parchment paper. You want it on the thin side –between ¼ and 1/8 inch thick.


Cut out your cookies. Traditionally custard creams are rectangular, but I figured canary creams should be avian shaped! This is an Easter chick cutter, but you could do any shape. Cut out the cookies, then re-roll scraps and cut again.


Important detail!

When you put the cookies on the baking sheet, flip half of them over so they are upside down. This will make sure that you can sandwich them together with the filling. You don’t need to if you’re doing a simple rectangle or circle, but it’s necessary for any other shape. I neglected this with the first batch…then I sent a sheet full of unbaked cookies flying onto the floor and needed to make another batch anyway!

Bake at 375° for about 8 minutes, until the edges are set.

You can bake the cookies ahead of time, but don’t assemble them until the day you plan to serve them. The filling will soften the crisp cookies pretty quickly.

While the cookies cool, you can make the filling.

Pretty simple: just butter/margarine, icing sugar and a bit more custard powder.


Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and custard powder together. Gradually beat in the icing sugar and mix on high speed until creamy.


Using a large round tip, pipe a dollop of filling onto the back of a cookie, and sandwich it with one that faces the opposite way (so both have the top of the cookie facing out.)


There you have it – Canary Creams!


Crookshanks is keeping watch on these guys!


And while mine won’t turn anyone into a canary, they’re still a tasty treat! The custard powder gives the shortbreads a flaky texture and slightly eggy taste, and the buttercream is really yummy!


I adapted the cookie recipe from a British source, so the ingredients are weighed, rather than measured. I find myself using my kitchen scale more and more for precise baking, it’s a super handy tool! I gave approximate measurements in cups, but the weights will be more precise.

The filling recipe came from a different source (which I didn’t write down and now can’t find!) and I didn’t weigh those ingredients.

Canary Creams

  • Servings: 15 sandwich cookies
  • Print

Cookie recipe adapted from BBC Good Food
100 grams butter/margarine (7 tablespoons)
50 grams caster/superfine sugar (about 1/4 cup)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
100 grams all-purpose flour (about 7/8 cup)
50 grams custard powder (5 tablespoons)
1/3 cup butter/margarine
1 cup icing sugar
2 tablespoons custard powder

For the cookies:
Cream butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Mix in vanilla. Gradually beat in custard powder and flour.
Roll dough out ¼ – ⅛ inch thick between two pieces of waxed paper or parchment. Chill for 10 minutes if dough is too soft to cut. Cut cookies into desired shapes with cookie cutters, re-rolling scraps and cutting again. Place cookies on a lined baking sheet, flipping half of them over so they are upside down.
Bake at 375° for about 8 minutes, until the edges are set. Cool briefly on baking sheet, then remove to a wire rack and cool completely.
For the filling:
Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and custard powder together. Gradually beat in the icing sugar and mix on high speed until creamy.
Using a large round tip, pipe a dollop of filling onto the back of a cookie, and sandwich it with one that faces the opposite way (so both have the top of the cookie facing out.)


7 thoughts on “Canary Creams

  1. DianaL says:

    I am loving that cookie cutter! What other shape would the canary creams cookies be but birds?!? These look so delicious, I’ll have to make them for my Grandma that came from England when she was 8 years old.
    Thanks for participating in the Harry Potter Dinner Party!!


    • bluenosebaker says:

      I figured they had to be birds! My cookie cutter collection is quickly outgrowing its bin 🙂 I hope your Grandma enjoys them!

      I had a blast with the Harry Potter party. Thanks for organizing!


  2. kelliemacmillan says:

    These cookies look delicious! I’m not much of a cookie baker but I still enjoyed how clear and easy you made this recipe sounds. I also learned something new: (always a good thing, and one of the major reasons I read tons of blogs LOL) caster sugar – I thought it was something totally different. Sign me up for the quiz round I’m gonna win now. Ba,ha,ha.
    Kellie from Princess & The Yard Ape


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