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Our ABC May project didn’t sound too enticing to me – English Digestive Biscuits. My digestion is not something that usually comes to mind when I bake cookies…. (further comments on this subject were deleted by my in-home censor: “You Germans with your scatological humor – gross!”)
But when I looked at King Arthur’s recipe, I learned that these biscuits were historic cookies, first advertized in 1851 as “brown meal digestive biscuits” in London. They were even patented, claiming to be “nourishing food for people of weak digestion”!
|Einkorn – an ancient wheat|
Historic breads and pastries (or those with a connection to history) always interest me, therefore I decided to bake the biscuits – even though none of us was suffering from weak digestion (nor, for that matter, from undernourishment!)
As several reviewers recommended, I reduced the sugar (from 85 to 50 grams), exchanged the confectioners’ sugar for light brown sugar, and added a bit of salt. And, since I like its nutty taste, I used Einkorn flour instead of whole wheat.
The food processor made mixing the dough a matter of a few minutes. Rolling it out was easy, too, and the dough quite forgiving, even with re-rolling the scraps several times the consistency didn’t suffer.
My cookie-loving husband snatched a biscuit, soon as they came out of the oven, claiming it was a “malfatti” (misshapen), and, therefore, had to be eliminated. I insisted on a more civilized approach to consumption – the cookies were Victorian, after all! – so we had them with our afternoon tea.
The digestive biscuits were really nice, delicately crumbly, with a buttery, slightly nutty taste. The censor decreed they were MUCH better than store-bought ones (“cardboard-y”), and I felt like the perfect Victorian housewife!
|Deliciously nourishing and good for you!|
ENGLISH DIGESTIVE BISCUITS WITH EINKORN (adapted from King Arthur Flour)
(about 30 biscuits)
57 g/2 oz all-purpose flour
170 g/6 oz Einkorn flour (or whole wheat)
5 g/1 tsp. baking powder
113 g/4 oz unsalted butter, softened (1 stick)
50 g/1.75 oz light brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 cup/60 ml cold milk
Preheat oven to 350°F/175ºC. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper (or Silpat mat).
|The food processor makes mixing the dough a cinch|
Place flour, sugar and baking powder in bowl of food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter and milk, and mix until dough comes together and is smooth.
|Plastic foil prevents the dough from sticking to the roller pin|
Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface or silicone mat. Roll out to a bit more than 1/8″/4mm thick, and cut into desired shape. (I used a round cookie cutter with scalloped edge, 2 1/4″ – 58 mm).
|I used a round cookie cutter with scalloped edge|
Place biscuits on prepared cookie sheets and prick evenly with a fork (they should stay flat.)
|Pricking the biscuits with a fork keeps them flat|
Bake until pale gold, between 15 and 20 minutes, rotating sheets 180 degrees after half the baking time for even browning (mine took 20 minutes, convection mode).
|Victorian Lady – she would have loved the biscuits!|
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