Hey Hey Hey! This is my first post and tonight I’m sending you out across the world to the great United Kingdom. I spent all last week trying to decide what kind of dish you could sink your teeth into. I hope I nailed it!
For a couple of years, I lived in Italy and there they had tons of digestive biscuits all over the stores. Personally, I loved them (personal favorite was a granola biscuit). A hop, skip and jump and a whole lot of flour later I ended up with this delicious recipe. You’ll love the simplicity of the biscuit and their nice crumble.
Honestly, they reminded me of an American biscuit but much smaller and drier. I mean, I wouldn’t eat these guys with gravy, but they do make a mean snack! Whether you top them with butter, jam, or maybe dip them in a tea these will make a crumbly snack that will make you want more. (Or, as my grandma always says “they taste like more“.)
But seriously… there is a reason why I made six batches of these biscuits over the past week… (I’ll give you a hint, it’s not because I love to stuff my face with butter/lard 🙂
Let’s get started… with the oven! Turn the oven on to 180C (350F), in about 40 minutes you’ll put the dough in the oven. So let’s make sure it’s hot! (The most disappointing baking experiences I’ve had had definitely been when I made a tasty cake. Not that the cake was bad, but I turned around to put it in the oven and DING! I realized that I had forgotten to turn the little guy on. To avoid that mistake, I do my best to turn the oven on first! End Rant.)
The dough might seem scary but it is actually pretty easy. To begin, sift 450 grams (3 3/4 cups) of flour with 10 grams (2 teaspoons) of salt and 8 grams (1.5 teaspoons) of baking powder. Sift that long list of dry ingredients into a large bowl. I used a KitchenAid, but you can definitely make this by hand!!
Now, using some combination of softened butter and lard – that totals 170 grams (3/4 cup) – mix the fats with the dry ingredients. Mix it until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs or cornmeal. I know I know. I’m not exactly specifying how much lard and butter to use. There’s a good reason for that! When I only used butter, the dough ended up with a truly amazing flavor. I liked that, and the moisture from the butter allowed me to use less water (I’ll get there in a minute). On the other hand, the dough made with lard ended up with a nice flaky crust. The lard did make the dough easier to handle too. (I actually learned a lot from TheKitchn’s post about butter. I’m no baker, which meant those tips SURE helped me out a lot! Check it out or comment if you have any questions/comments!) In these pictures, I used 113 grams of butter (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) and 57 grams (4.5 tablespoons) of lard. Whatever combination you choose, the biscuits will taste great!
Ok, now we come to the delicate part of the recipe. Don’t worry though, it’s still pretty easy. Add ice water slowly to the dough as you mix it. You’re looking for a nice stiff dough. I added 30 grams (2 tablespoons) at a time to make sure I didn’t add too much. The biscuits will be dry, so we don’t want to make the mixture too wet, otherwise, it will take a longer for them to dry out when baking.
Perfect! Look at that beautiful dough! Now, take the dough and form a nice disc. I found that when I had to roll out dough into after having refrigerated it, that it was always easier to roll out if it was not in the shape of a ball. (I’ll exclude pizza and other similar doughs from that. I hope to have a pizza post soon.) By keeping it in a disc, you won’t worry about the dough breaking when you first try to roll it out.
Once you have that shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and pop it into the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Now that those 30 minutes have finally passed, take the dough out of the fridge. Set it on a lightly floured workplace. Roll it out until it is about 3 mm (about 0.15) thick. 3mm for me is about the distance from the tip of my pinky finger to just past the nail. Oh, great time for an image
Whew! With the hard part out-of-the-way, we get to the fun bit.
During Christmas, I love to cut my sugar cookies out into candles or snowmen but, here, we want more circular shapes. Have you ever noticed that the corners of those cookies brown faster than the rest of the cookie? Well, we can avoid that by using uniform shapes. Get a fluted cutter or a plain circle (or if you really want that snowman, go ahead and use that cutter). With the cutter in hand, cut! Cut out those biscuits!
Cut them out and set them on a wire rack or baking mesh. I tried setting them on parchment paper (and then in a pan) but the side of the biscuit touching the paper browned WAY TOO quickly. I had a much more even brown on the rack.
Put the rack in the oven for about 15 minutes. Now we wait. We don’t want to brown the biscuits, we want them to dry out. We’re aiming for a biscuit with a crumble.
Whooola! Perfect, here they are!
Remove the biscuits from the oven and let them cool on the rack. Wait for them to completely cool before eating.
These crumbly sweet-meal (aka digestive) biscuits are now ready for eating! They tasted great with butter and with apricot jam.
Wait! Don’t jump down to the recipe just yet!
I know there are TONS of variations of this recipe. Comment below with your version or with any trouble you had making the biscuit.
If you like the dish and are not sure what to do, try using milk instead of water or add rosemary to the dough.