Digestive Biscuits

Don’t be nervous. There is really nothing medicinal about these biscuits. And by biscuits, I mean cookies for all those Americans who are reading this. I first discovered these lovely cookies while living in Ireland. I was a bit skittish around them at first, thinking they sounded more like some sort of medicinal curative, rather than a delicious treat. But once I gathered up my courage and took that first bite, I was hooked! These semi-sweet cookies, which have been baked in the U.K. since the mid 1800’s, seem to have been made to enjoy along with tea or coffee but also serve as a great base for pies or cheese cakes. They are most similar to graham crackers which are common here in the U.S., but in my opinion, better. I do have a favourite brand as well. McVitie’s all the way!

Digestive Biscuits are sometimes a bit challenging to find here in the States, but I seem to have found a great source in World Market and sometimes my local Giant has my brand as well. Even though I am completely happy with my McVitie’s, I was still very intrigued when I came across a post for home-made Digestive Biscuits. I was so taken with Mary Mary’s take on this recipe, that I had to copy her right down to the adorable “home-made” cookie stamp that she had used for her biscuits. I found the exact stamp on Amazon and purchased it right away. Too cute, I just couldn’t resist.

The home-made digestives were very easy to make, though the dough was a slight bit persnickity to work with. They taste quite similar to my store bought variety, but are more soft rather than crispy. I did roll mine out a bit thicker so that I could use my stamp. I think if I had rolled them thinner, they would have been a bit more crispy. They are still fantastic. I’m enjoying one with a cup of tea right now! Home make a batch for yourself today!

Digestive Biscuits

recipe from: Mary Mary Culinary

yield: 30 biscuits


  • 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 3 1/2 Tablespoons)


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 pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You can also do this easily by hand–it’s a bit like making pie crust.

Gradually add the milk and pulse until it comes together into a slightly sticky dough. I found it easiest to do this by kneading the dough by hand, after transferring it to a large bowl.

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.

Preheat oven to 350°F/180℃. Dust the table and dough with flour and roll to 3-4 mm thickness, 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.

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.


One Response to Digestive Biscuits

  1. kayjayaitch says:

    Good to see digestives getting a good press! I love traditional British biscuits!

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