How to CookBritish

How to Make Digestive Biscuits

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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Kathryn from London Bakes is teaching us how to make a classic English cookie like a real live Londoner.

It's no secret that we Brits like a cup of tea and a biscuit -- a proper British biscuit, that is. When it comes to dunking, a recent survey revealed that we consider the chocolate digestive as the very best option. But even without the tea, there's something supremely satisfying about the combination of a hearty oat-filled dough, toffee overtones of brown sugar, and smooth chocolate in a digestive biscuit.

The name “digestive” is said to derive from the belief that the baking soda included in the original recipe helped with digestion. Sadly, modern doctors are no longer in the habit of prescribing a couple of biscuits after meals. But because these cookies are packed with whole grains and oats, I don't feel too bad about indulging in one or two (or three or four).

A good digestive biscuit should be on the savory side of sweet, equally at home topped with a wedge of cheese or smothered in chocolate. I love using whole wheat spelt flour in this recipe for a subtle sweetness with an added dimension of flavor. Feel free to use all purpose flour if you'd prefer.

Digestive Biscuits

Makes 12 cookies

1 cup whole wheat spelt flour
1 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/3 cup dark muscovado sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
4 ounces dark or milk chocolate, chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Put all of the ingredients except the milk in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the milk, little by little, and pulse again until the dough starts to clump together. (You may not need all of the milk.)

Gather the dough together with your hands and knead once or twice to bring it together, being careful not to over-handle it.

Place the dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll it out until it's about 1/4 inch thick. If the dough becomes too warm and sticky, pop it in the fridge to firm up. 

Using a round cookie cutter, cut out your biscuits, and place them on the baking tray. Chill for 10 minutes, or until firm.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until just golden brown at the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack.

To coat your digestives in chocolate, wait until the biscuits have cooled completely. Then, melt the chopped chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Either dip the cookies in the chocolate or drizzle it over top.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Kathryn of London Bakes

Tags: Biscuit, Cookie, Chocolate, Tea, Dessert, Bake, DIY Food, How-To & Diy, Small Batch