The other night my wife made me a cup of tea and along with it she brought a McVities chocolate digestive - or was it two?
Anyway, not having had a McVities chocolate digestive for number of years, I was excited at the prospect of re-uniting my tastebuds with the chosen biscuit of my formative years (you get excited at the least bit thing at the grumpy time of life).
However, the disappointment I felt at seeing my old crumbly friend came second only to Newcastle United’s relegation last season. Surely this can’t be the same biscuit I remember with such fondness. It was a pale shadow of its former self. Thinner, smaller than I recall and the chocolate covering must have been applied with the help of a micrometer.
Obviously and despite my shock, I still had them with my cup of tea and very nice they were too. But I couldn't help feeling short changed by what had just taken place.
So I decided to stop complaining (not that I’m one to complain you understand) and find a digestive biscuit recipe I could make myself and see if I could do any better.
And if not better - bigger!
100g wholemeal flour
70g plain white flour
170g medium oatmeal
150g butter, chilled
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
55g dark muscovado sugar
a little milk to bind the dough, if needed.
Mix together the flours and oatmeal. Grate the butter into the bowl and rub in until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix in the sugar, salt and bicarb and bring it all together as a dough using a little milk to help things along if needed.
Flatten the dough, cover and leave to rest in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Bring out of the fridge, wait 5 minutes (I always find if I roll anything like pastry or dough straight out of the fridge it cracks). Then roll out using a little flour to stop sticking, or roll between a couple of sheets of clingfilm. Try and gauge a thickness of about 4mm and cut out with a 7cm ring (use a 6.5cm ring if you prefer a smaller biscuit but why would you?)
Just re-roll the scraps of dough left to make as many biscuits as possible (like you do when scone making) and transfer to a baking tray or two lined with baking parchment.
Bake in a pre-heated 170°C fan oven for about 15 minutes until golden. Remove and place on a cooling rack until completely cool.
Melt some chocolate (milk or plain, whatever you fancy) in a bowl and dip the top surface of the biscuits into the chocolate by gently holding them by the edge using a finger and thumb as a pincer. I have tried many ways and have found this way the best and easiest, if a little messy. But who doesn't like removing melted chocolate from their fingers? You can add a pattern on the biscuits with a toothpick if you like although it's not necessary, I just think it gives them a nicer finish.
Place the biscuits back on the cooling rack to firm up the chocolate, make yourself a nice cup of tea and relax with a couple of your new crumbly friends.