If there’s something I like about the international food aisle at the supermarket, it’s McVities’ Digestives. That and the raspberry Loacker. And the buttery Dutch waffles that are always reduced every 2 months (Is it sad that I KNOW when the supermarket items are about to be reduced?). Oh and the Fig Newtons. It tastes sort of healthy so it’s hard to feel guilty eating three in one sitting. Right?
Anyway, I love the convenience of buying a packet of goodies, warming it up for a few seconds and pairing it with coffee in the morning. But then again, it’s thrilling to make homemade versions of supermarket favorites. However, making homemade versions of both Loacker wafers and Dutch waffles are out of the question. I’d need special equipment for that.
So that leaves Fig Newtons and Digestives. I’ve tried about four homemade Newton recipes to date and two Digestives recipes. I’m still on the lookout for a good Fig Newton recipe. But I’m happy to say that I’ve finally found a good Digestives recipe courtesy of Stella Parks of Serious Eats.
I’m a such huge fan of Stella Parks (@bravetart — love her Instagram name!) and I’ve tried quite a few of her recipes. Each and every one I’ve tried are fantastic, almost no-fail recipes. Her recipe for digestives is no exception.
I generally don’t care much for whole wheat biscuits or cookies (I know, I’m a heathen — but i do love Rye flour cookies!) but I love digestives. I’m pretty sure that there’s only a small amount of whole wheat flour in those biscuits anyway and this recipe is proof of that. I also love how dark chocolate digestives don’t turn P into this hyper, crazed animal of a child. I find that whenever he eats other chocolate biscuits or even just plain sugary biscuits, he goes nuts. Runs around like there’s a fire to be escaped from, et cetera.
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
1/4 cup buttermilk (I used yakult)
chocolate for melting
1. Preheat oven to 350 F or 175 C. Combine the ingredients except for the milk. I used a pastry cutter to combine the ingredients. Use a food processor if you have one. Once all the ingredients are one unidentifiable mass, pour in the milk and knead. I just knead the dough while it’s still in the bowl to make for easier cleanup.
2. Chill for a bit in the fridge if you live in the tropics and the butter is melting already. (about 10 minutes)
3. Once the dough is stable, generously flour a flat surface and knead the dough until it’s a smooth ball. Roll out with a rolling pin or bottle until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. If you have store-bought digestives, you can use that as a guide to how thick you want the biscuits to be. The dough rises a bit once it’s baked but it doesn’t puff out like cookies or other baked goods.
4. Cut with a cookie cutter or whatever you have on hand. I used a polvoron mold.
5. Bake for 15 minutes if you made smaller cookies. But if you made regular-sized digestives (about 3 inches), bake for 18 minutes.
6. Let cool for a bit and drizzle melted chocolate on top.
7. The margarine-based biscuits lasted for a week without any changes in taste. However, the butter-based biscuits were the superior product (almost like whole wheat butter cookies). Take note that the shelf life wasn’t as long as the margarine-based one. After about 3 days, the buttery biscuits had a slight change in both texture and flavor.
So I’ve made three batches this week. #dontjudge
First, I made it according to the recipe. The second time, I doubled the recipe and used margarine instead of butter. Are the results the same? Yes. Funnily enough, the margarine version tasted closer to McVities. However, I did add 1/2 teaspoon almond extract to the margarine version to make up for the lack of buttery goodness.
Oh and instead of making these the same size as regular digestives, I used a big polvoron mold to make smaller versions, baked for 15 minutes instead of 18.
Flavored white chocolate variation:
The thing about working with white chocolate is that once you’ve melted it and added matcha, it’s hard to melt it again. I don’t know if it’s just the brand of white chocolate I use but in any case, I think it’s worth mentioning here. So once you’ve melted the white chocolate and added matcha, make sure that you put all the chocolate on top of the biscuits before it starts clumping.
For the white chocolate matcha, I used 1/2 cup chopped white chocolate melted in a DIY double boiler setup. Then I added 2 teaspoons matcha powder.
For the strawberry flavored one, I used 1/8 cup strawberry syrup added to melted 1/2 cup white chocolate. I ended up having a thin glaze instead of a ganache sort of topping but I think it worked out just fine.
For the dark chocolate one, just melt 1 and 1/2 cups finely chopped chocolate for covering one batch. Use half the amount if you want to make two flavors in one batch.