The Digestive would have to be the biscuit that I’ve missed the most since going gluten-free. It has a distinctive wheaty flavour, is sweet, but not too sweet and the texture is light and crisp. They make the perfect biscuit for dunking into tea or coffee. My version of these biscuits are light and crisp and they have a pleasant light ‘wholemeal’ flavour. The chocolate dipped varieties are a truly delicious treat, although I prefer dark chocolate while the rest of my family prefer milk chocolate.
There has been a lot of trial and error while developing this biscuit over the last 6 months or so. It’s really hard to recreate a wheaty flavoured biscuit when gluten-free flours taste nothing like wheat. Then you have the other issue of wholegrain gluten-free flours having distinct flavours of their own. My first few attempts were pretty dismal, as they were quite dense and hard, not the light and crisp texture I was aiming for. The flavour unfortunately wasn’t that great either.
I took on-board a tip from a Nigella Lawson’s cookbook I have called “How To Eat”. In Nigella’s recipe for Digestives, she recommends using ½ lard, shortening or a white vegetable fat and ½ butter. So I tried that and the texture was definitely better, but the lard taste seemed to dominate in flavour. I’m assuming this was because I used a dairy free margarine instead of full flavoured butter. So I lessened the lard each time I made them, until I was happy with the flavour.
I chose to use rolled millet flakes over quinoa flakes in this recipe. Millet flakes are very mild in smell and flavour, in comparison to quinoa, and the texture of the millet flakes are a little crunchy. However, they’re also brittle and crumble quite easily. Rolled millet flakes also make a delicious, creamy porridge.
You can leave these biscuits plain or you can chocolate dip them. I chose to coat half the batch in milk chocolate and the other half in dark chocolate. I was a little taken back when I ate my dark chocolate-coated biscuit, because it was slightly salty in taste. I thought I had accidently added too much salt into the mix. However, when I tried a milk chocolate biscuit, it tasted normal? When I mentioned this to my husband, he said the sweetness of the milk chocolate was probably counteracting the flavour of the salt. So, there you go, just something to be aware of if you choose to coat your biscuits in dark chocolate.
For accurate cup measurements, I sift the potato starch before measuring, so that there are no lumps/clumps. All cup measurements are firmly packed.
Recipe Update: I’m currently using the Bob’s Red Mill brand of xanthan gum, as I’m no longer able to buy the Nu-vit brand. I have found the dough now needs to be chilled for about 30 minutes before rolling out.
36g (1.3 ounces or ¼ cup) brown rice flour
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) white rice flour
32g (1.1 ounces or ¼ cup) tapioca starch
27g (1.0 ounces or 3 tablespoons) sorghum flour
27g (1.0 ounces or 3 tablespoons) buckwheat flour
27g (1.0 ounces or 3 tablespoons) millet flour
24g (0.8 ounces or 3 tablespoons) sweet rice flour
22g (0.8 ounces or 2 tablespoons) potato starch
1¼ teaspoons (6.25ml) baking powder
1 teaspoon (5ml) salt
¼ teaspoon (1.25ml) xanthan gum
52g (1.8 ounces or ¼ cup) Demerara sugar
33g (1.2 ounces or 3 tablespoons) light muscovado sugar or light brown sugar
27g (1.0 ounces or 3 tablespoons) rolled millet flakes
77g (2.7 ounces or ⅓ cup) gluten and dairy free butter
37g (1.4 ounces or 3 tablespoons) lard
45ml (3 tablespoons) dairy free milk of choice
80g (2.8 ounces) gluten & dairy free milk chocolate (I use this brand)
80g (2.8 ounces) dark chocolate of your choice (min 70%)
Preheat the oven to 160C and line two trays with baking paper/parchment.
Sift together all the dry ingredients and then stir through the sugars and millet flakes. Next, rub the butter and the lard into the dry ingredients with your fingers until you have coarse crumbs.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk
and use your hands to gently knead the mixture into firm dough. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Take about ½ the dough and gently knead it between your hands until if becomes a smooth pliable ball. Roll it between 2 pieces of baking paper/parchment to approximately 4mm-5mm in thickness. My large round cutter measured 7.3mm in diameter. Although this dough is quite easy to work with, you still need to be gentle with it. Remove the layer of baking paper and cut out your circles, then remove the surrounding dough and then gently peel the cut shapes off before place on the prepared trays. If the dough becomes too soft to work with, then pop it back in the refrigerator.
You can put them quite close together, about 2cm or so as they do not spread very much. Bake for approximately 18 minutes, until they will be lightly golden around the edges. Immediately transfer the biscuits to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.
If you choose to chocolate dip them, you can microwave the chocolate until melted or you can melt the chocolate the old fashioned way. Heat some water in a small saucepan and place glass bowl over the top (make sure the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water). Once the water has boiled, turn it off. Add the chocolate to the bowl and stir frequently until melted.
Turn the biscuits upside down and use approximately 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate. Then spread it over the biscuit, right to the edge, using a small pallet knife. Next, give the biscuit a gently shake to smooth out the chocolate. Allow the chocolate to set or, to speed up this process, you can place the biscuits in the refrigerator.
I store the chocolate coated biscuits in the refrigerator in an airtight container. However, if you decide to leave them plain, just store them in an airtight container in the pantry.
Recipe by: The Gluten & Dairy Free Bakehouse
Note: all recipe oven temperatures shown are for a fan forced electric oven. Please refer to the below guide to help you adjust your oven accordingly. This recipe is shown in bold.
Oven Temperatures Chart
130C = 110C fan = 250F = Gas mark 1
150C = 130C fan = 300F = Gas mark 2
160C = 140C fan = 320F = Gas mark 3
180C = 160C fan = 350F = Gas mark 4
190C = 170C fan = 375F = Gas mark 5
200C = 180C fan = 400F = Gas mark 6
220C = 200C fan = 425F = Gas mark 7
230C = 210C fan = 450F = Gas mark 8