King Arthur's English Digestive Biscuits

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King Arthur's English Digestive Biscuits

star rating (30) rate this recipe »
Published prior to 2008

These biscuits were developed during the latter part of the 19th century to increase fiber in Victorian diets, something that might be appealing to you at the beginning of the New Year. Digestive Biscuits are really just sophisticated graham crackers and are very simple to make. They are delicious with tea and fruit.

1/2 cup (2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) King Arthur Traditional Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
3/4 cup (3 ounces) confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup (2 ounces) cold milk

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Measure the flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. With a pastry blender, two knives, or your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour mixture. Toss in the sugar and enough milk to make a stiff dough.

Knead this mixture on a floured surface until smooth. (All this can be done almost instantly in a food processor.) Roll the dough out to a bit more than 1/8 inch thick and cut into any desired shape. Traditionally, digestive biscuits are round and about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place on greased cookie sheets, prick evenly with a fork, and bake until pale gold, between 15 and 20 minutes.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. III, No. 2, December 1991 issue.


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  • star rating 01/04/2015
  • Karen from TX
  • I am making these for the second time today. I followed the recipe exactly. I did use a food processor. I have one friend who requested them as a Christmas present after having them for the first time. Making them today for another friend. Of course, I'll keep out some for me!
  • star rating 07/31/2014
  • Stevie from the Sunshine State
  • These were good but I was lured into thinking "digestive" might mean healthy. With a half cup of butter I think not so much! Oh, well, it makes a good cookie and mine turned out more like a shortbread and less like a graham. I will try again because with all that butter.....YUM. I do want to make my own graham crackers...

    Hi Stevie- Digestive is actually the name of a particular kind of tea time biscuit in England, so unfortunately, while these are certainly delicious, they aren't exactly designed to be strictly healthy. They do have a graham cracker flavor profile, but the texture is certainly a little different. (But if you want to pretend they are healthy, we won't tell anyone!) Happy Baking! Jocelyn@KAF

  • star rating 06/07/2014
  • from
  • I substituted 1/2 cup brown sugar for the confectioner's sugar, and they came out great. Not too sweet, but very addicting. The dishes could wait - I sat down with tea and a few of these right away!
  • star rating 02/15/2014
  • Gail from Snowy Ohio
  • I made this recipe as noted and was so pleased at how easy the dough was to roll out with powdered sugar instead of flour ... so easy! I LOVE these cookies. I cut them out with a heart shaped cutter and drizzled some with dark chocolate for Valentines Day. Curious to see how they age over the week since I made a double batch.
  • star rating 02/14/2014
  • Sara from San Diego, CA
  • I made these cookies two times. First time I substitute 1/2 cup packed brown sugar for 3/4 cup of confectioners' since I didn't have confectioners' sugar handy. They turned out absolutely delicious and fine texture. Second time I wanted to follow the original recipe so I purchased confectioners' sugar and followed the recipe step by step with exactly the same amount of ingredients calling in the recipe but the result was hard dry cookies and no taste. Based on my changes to the recipe I give it 5 star but based on the original one I give it 1 star. At least I'm happy that I didn't have confectioners' sugar at home for the first time trying the recipe to come up with such delicious results.
  • star rating 12/08/2013
  • ametzger from KAF Community
  • You people need to stop enabling my cookie habit. I made these with the 1/2 t. salt and 1/2 c. loosely spooned light brown sugar that other bakers tried. Otherwise it was the straight recipe. These are my kind of cookie - gutsy and showcasing the nuttiness of the ww flour.
  • star rating 11/26/2013
  • Peter from CA
  • This recipe is my to go recipe. I tweaked the recipe to get rid of some refined flour. Used 1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup AP flour and 1/4 cup millet flour. Reduced the sugar to 1/3 cup. Also added 1/2 tsp salt. Followed the method as is. The biscuits turned out so good that my toddler keeps on asking for them all the time. Out of curiosity I have a question for the KAF bakers. Why is important to use cold milk? Would my recipe fail if I use room temperature or luke warm milk? Thanks.
    Our testing showed that using the cold milk kept the biscuit flatter (as intended). Happy Baking! Irene@KAF
  • star rating 10/04/2013
  • Di-de from Brittany Francej
  • Very easy recipe, baked beautifully, delicious, really crunchy. Took a taster to friends who immediately wanted the recipe! Next time I'm going to make a double batch! I will use this recipe as the biscuit crust for my deserts.
  • star rating 10/01/2013
  • Mariellen from Castle Rock. Colorado
  • Substituted 1/2 cup WW flour for oatmeal - processed 1/2 c oats in food processor Substituted 1/2 c light br sugar gently spooned in 1/2 cup for powdered sugar - didn't have any! We loved them - made while visiting my daughter in The Netherlands
  • star rating 09/29/2013
  • MaryM from Fennville, MI
  • Made this after having a McVitie's digestive biscuit for breakfast, and the texture is PERFECT! I added salt per comments and will definitely cut the sugar per other comments as they are sweeter than McV's. Thanks, KA Bakers!
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