digestive biscuits, aka whole wheat shortbread

By halfasiangirl
December 12, 2010
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Author Notes: I love digestive biscuits but, thanks to an irritating inner voice that persuades me not to buy store bought cookies, I hadn't had one in way too long. After I discovered white whole wheat flour, I adapted these biscuits from a King Arthur recipe and fell in love. Think toasty, buttery, crisp and sandy textured. Salt, which KA's recipe omits, is key. I also adapt the recipe to use cold butter, rather than room temp butter, because I like the texture that cold butter produces. I imagine you could use this dough to make an especially lovely shortbread crust, too. halfasiangirl

Makes: 24 or so 2 1/2 inch cookies

  • 8 ounces (2 cups) white whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 ounces (3/4 cup) confectioners' sugar
  • 4 ounces (1 stick or 1/2 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) cold milk (I use 1%)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Ready a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat.
  2. Cube the butter (1/2 inch pieces or so) and set in the freezer for 15 minutes or so, until hard.
  3. By hand: Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine the ingredients. Quickly, working with your fingertips or a pastry blender, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. Add the milk and work through to form a stiff dough. Turn out on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Using a food processor: Measure the flour, baking powder and sugar into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 10-15 seconds to ensure all the dry ingredients are evenly combined. Add the cold butter and pulse until butter is evenly combined, 4-5 pulses. Add the milk and process 1-2 seconds. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead slightly until you have a smooth dough.
  4. Using a well-floured rolling pin, roll the dough out to a bit more than 1/8 inch thick and cut into rounds, about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. You can keep rolling the scraps together to make additional dough. (If you prefer, use a sharp knife to create square cookies and forget the whole scraps issue.)
  5. Transfer the biscuits to your baking pan and, if desired, use a strand of uncooked spaghetti to prick the biscuits with holes. Bake 15-20 minutes until biscuits are pale gold.

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