Friday, May 25, 2012

English Digestive Biscuits

Since I am currently on a lovely extended vacation in England, I thought it appropriate to share a recipe I recently tried to make some digestive biscuits. 

Freshly baked digestive biscuit with brie cheese

What is a digestive biscuit?  It is a semi-sweet biscuit (cookie) that originated in England from around the mid-1800s. They are often enjoyed with tea or coffee (try dunking it in your tea/coffee and eating it right away!) but also taste amazing smeared with brie cheese and jam or alongside a good, red wine. For an added treat, you can brush them with melted milk or dark chocolate. The most popular store-bought brand of these is "McVitie's," which you can find in the U.S. at Cost Plus World Market, or a variety of international stores. Or - you can make your own (which I always prefer).

When I first learned of these, I was a bit weirded out by the word 'digestive' in something that was supposed to be scrumptious, but please don't let the name put you off. According to Wikipedia, "The name "digestive" derived from the belief that they had antacid properties due to the use of sodium bicarbonate when they were first developed." See? Nothing to be scared of. 

The following recipe creates a really nice dough that is easy to work with and results in a tasty, dense digestive. 

Yields 12 Servings


3/4 C whole wheat flour
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp rolled oats
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp brown sugar
4 Tbsp milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets (or use a silicone mat like a Silpat, which will rock your baking world). 

In a large bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder. Mix in the oatmeal. Cream together the butter and the sugar and add to mixture. Stir in the milk until mixture forms a thick paste.

Knead dough on a floured surface until smooth. Roll out dough to approximately 1/8" thickness. Cut into rounds with cookie cutter about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Transfer to cookie sheets and prick with a fork.  

Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden. Let cool on wire rack. Store in an airtight tin.  

Good, sturdy dough
I used a cutter with a fluted edge, but you could use the top of a glass if needed. 
All cut and ready to bake

The finished product. Enjoy! 


  1. yum, those look really, really yummy!! fa' real.

  2. I'm so glad to finally know why the name digestive. Now if I could understand why/how it came about that Americans started calling "biscuits" cookies. Do you know?

  3. Hello, there! You recently left a comment on my family blog, and I was just wondering if I know you from somewhere? Or if we have a mutual friend? Sorry to be so rude. I just don't recall if or how I know you, and I was wondering how you stumbled upon my blog. (:

    1. Hi there! I was scrolling through blogs on blogger by using the "Next Blog" function, so I must have found it through that. So sorry if I wasn't supposed to!!!

  4. how interesting! biscuits and red wine -- that's my kind of tea party. enjoy your vacation!


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