Raised by a half-British mum (yes, that’s “mom” with a ‘u’), and having traveled and lived in the UK extensively, I naturally became quite the Anglophile. I prefer Fairy Liquid over other dish detergents; I greatly miss shopping at Waitrose; I stubbornly believe that Lemsip is the only thing that will cure me when I’m sick; like a child, I could drink Ribena every day; and I believe in teatime with biscuits. As any Brit or Anglophile will know, the go to teatime treats are McVities Digestive Biscuits (preferably the chocolate dipped ones) or HobNobs (again, preferably the chocolate dipped ones…are you seeing the trend here?!). Finding McVities in the US has become easier, but they remain expensive, so over the last month or so, spurred on by a resurgence of my teatime tradition, I have been attempting to come up with a suitable homemade version.
My first batch was ok; the second was a near fail; the third – now we were getting somewhere. See, I don’t like the pure wheat version, I like the nuttiness of the oats- like a Digestive-HobNob hybrid. The fourth batch is the winner so far – whole wheat-y, oaty, not too sweet, flakey almost like a shortbread. Delicious!
The plain biscuits are great with a slice of cheddar cheese (if you really want to get serious, spread a tiny little bit of butter, then marmite or vegimite, then top with cheese) or dip these suckers in some melted dark chocolate, and you’re on your way to heaven every afternoon at about 4pm… that’s teatime of course!
Digestive-esque Biscuits yields about 14
1 cup whole wheat (preferably pastry) flour
3/4 cup medium ground oats
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup confectioner sugar
1/4 cup cold milk
This recipe comes together almost instantly in a food processor, but if you don’t have one, it can be done by hand. Simply grind the oats in a blender, or in portions in a (clean) coffee grinder first.
Preheat oven to 350° F
In a blender or food processor, repeatedly pulse oats to medium grind. You don’t want them powdery, but you don’t want them whole either. Remove and set aside 3/4 cup worth. Combine whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, ground oats, salt and baking powder, and either whisk or pulse in food processor to combine. In the food processor, with a pastry blender, two knives or your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture, until the consistency of sand with some larger pea-sized pieces. Toss in the sugar and enough milk to make a stiff dough. Pulse in the food processor, or kneed mixture on a floured surface, until smooth.
Roll the dough out to about 1/8 inch thick and cut into any desired shape. Traditionally digestive biscuits are cut in rounds about 2-1/2 inches in diameter. Place on greased (or parchment, or baking mat lined) baking sheet, prick evenly with a fork, and bake until pale gold, between 15 and 20 minutes. Note: I prefer mine a tiny bit on the thinner side and baked for about 17-19 minutes so they are rather crispy. The thicker they are, the softer they will be or the longer you will need to bake them for to achieve the crisp-factor.