Sunday, July 10, 2011

Digestive Cookies


If this sounds like some sort of health food to you, relax and keep reading! Digestive cookies (or biscuits) are a common item on cookie shelves in Canada and the UK. I seem to like making cookies that are easy to find in stores, as the oreos, graham crackers and this recipe show. I'm not a (complete) nut, it's just that homemade is better! Digestives are available plain or chocolate dipped and are the perfect partner for a cup of tea or coffee. They are often used as cheesecake bases, but are also an ideal accompaniment to a cheese plate.
With cheese or with tea, you'll love them
Here in Canada, there is usually only one brand of digestives available, but when I was in England, Scotland and Ireland people had very strong opinions about which brand I should buy. I was a very good sport and tried them all! My first batch were crisper than store-bought, but I couldn't stop nibbling on them. The flavour was a bit sweet and salty, with a wonderful grain taste and texture. For the second batch, I made balls of dough and pressed them with the 'homemade' stamp. These were thicker than the first batch, and I didn't bake them as long, making them soft and crumbly. I really can't decide which I like better as they were both so good. I even made an ice cream sandwich with them, but I left it in the freezer when I left town, so I can't tell you too much about that!
I used whole wheat flour from a local farm, and it was milled from Red Fife wheat right in front of me at the farmers' market. You can also use half or all spelt flour instead, and while I also bought freshly milled spelt flour I haven't tried making the digestive with that yet.

Digestives
Makes 35-40
From River Cottage Every Day

250 grams/8.8 ounces whole wheat flour
250 grams/8.8 ounces quick-cooking oatmeal
125 grams/4.4 ounces soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons fine sea salt (this gave a distinct salty edge--can halve it if you like)
2 teaspoons baking powder
250 grams/8.8 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
about 1 tablespoon milk (I needed a bit more)
  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. This amount filled my food processor, but it was fine. Add butter and but in until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also do this easily by hand--it's a bit like making pie crust.
  2. Gradually add the milk and pulse until it comes together into a slightly sticky dough. I found it easiest to do this by hand, after transferring it to a large bowl. 
  3. Flatten into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate about 30 minutes, or for a few days. Remove from the fridge about an hour before you want to bake it, as it gets very hard.
  4. Preheat oven to 180℃/350℉. Dust the table and dough with flour and roll to 3-4 mm thickness/¹⁄₈", or thicker for a softer, crumblier cookie. The dough is sticky and crumbly, but if you are gentle it's easy to roll. Cut with a 6-7 cm (2½") cutter and transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, checking after 5. You want them to be golden brown around the edges and lightly coloured on top. Let cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

    18 comments:

    Miss T said...

    I love that stamp!!
    T x

    jillbert said...

    I love digestive biscuits and have been wanting to make them for a long time. Very cool stamp!

    juliana said...

    they look great! and the stamp is amazing

    Cheap Ethnic Eatz said...

    3rd time commented, love the stamp. We always forget to make the easy thing like this. They look great.

    yummychunklet said...

    I really want to try these! I've heard of them before but it's hard to find them here in Chicago. Great post!

    Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

    I am so surprised that you can make digestive biscuits at home! They are delicious with a cup of tea. Thanks for the recipe. Can't wait to try it out!

    Poires au Chocolat said...

    I've tried digestives at home before but they didn't come out very well, I'll have to try your recipe instead! I would always buy McVities. Brand loyalty a bit like Heinz ketchup and baked beans :)

    Valerie said...

    Sometimes a nice textured, crunchy cookie hits the spot like nothing else can. I can see why these must be addictable! :)

    lifeisfull said...

    I think it's great you're making your own digestives biscuits! I prefer them for cheesecake base too. Fantastic work!

    Valérie said...

    It's been so long since I've had one of these, I can't even remember how they taste! But they look very classy, with that stamp!

    Rambling Tart said...

    I adore the look of your cookies, Mary!! They look so hearty and homey and delicious and everything that's good. :-)

    Cakelaw said...

    I adore the stamps on yor digestives - so cute! The name "digestives" always makes me think of something medicinal - in Oz, we'd call them wheatmeal biscuits or something like that.

    A Canadian Foodie said...

    Everything is better home made! Red Fife wheat! YUM - and milled right in front of you! Such a great experience, Mary!
    The cookies with the stamp are stunning.
    SO, will you help me with 2 questions?
    1. The source of your red fife wheat? Edmonton is hosting the National Slow Food Conference in May of 2012 and I want to access as many strains of red fife wheat as I can for a tasting at that conference.
    2. The source of your stamp. I must have one. So so adorable.
    Thank you,Mary!
    Valerie

    Marysol said...

    Looks like I'm the only one unfamiliar with Digestives. But they sound simple enough to make, and pretty darn cute all stamped up!

    Renata said...

    You won't believe it, but I have wanted a digestive recipe for a while now, and guess what... I have just gotten a cookie stamp just like yours as a gift, and I loved it! Your recipe will go to my list :)

    Renata said...

    It's in the oven right now... :o)

    Renata said...

    They're absolutely FANTASTIC!!! I'll post about them soon and will link back to your recipe. Thanks so much, Mary for sharing, these are indeed much much better than store bought :o)

    Yorgus Stilhanos said...

    Please, I really want to buy the molds that make the letters of the stamp masses (both rectangular) on top of the site where is written the name "Mary Mary Culinary" (as round) where it says "Home Made" . I live in Brazil, could you sell me or tell me where I buy? Thank you very much! I look. George george.studio@hotmail.com