“The coarse, crumbly, and slightly sweet biscuit we know as the digestive is so called because the sodium bicarbonate contained in the early recipes for them back in the nineteenth century was believed to give the biscuit antacid qualities. It turns out that this is a bit of a misnomer, however, as the digestive has no particularly digestion-improving properties and is thus banned from sale in America under that name.”Albert Jack, What Caesar Did For My Salad
Why did I invent these chocolate and lemon sherbet digestive biscuits?
A couple of decades ago, in the days when I had clients in London, some friends very kindly said I could use their parking space. I parked, and knocked at the front door to say I’d arrived. I could hear a faint voice. I pushed the door and it opened. The faint voice continued saying things… faintly. I followed it up one set of stairs… then another… and I think, another. And suddenly I found myself in their bedroom.
I don’t make a habit of being in any gentleman’s bedroom, aside from the Chief Taster that is, especially when their wife is away. But there I was, and this particular husband presented a very sorry sight indeed. He explained that he’d attempted the risky activity of trying to pick up his shirt from the floor, and ….EEEEK…instant agony and paralysis. He wasn’t exaggerating it turned out. He couldn’t even hobble down to the kitchen and he was ravenous!
I triumphantly, Mary Poppins-like, pulled out of my briefcase an almost full packet of chocolate digestive biscuits.
Years later, this particular gentleman hit a special birthday, and his daughter asked for a contribution to a collection of recipes which might bring back memories. The SD team decided that we couldn’t just produce a recipe for ordinary chocolate digestives (in fact, very few people make them themselves, most sensible people buy them ready-formed, so recipes are hard to track down).
So these ones include lemon sherbets (remember them?) and lemon candied peel. The Chief Taster tried to steal the entire box prior to delivery, so I think they must be really quite good! The appreciative recipient reports that ‘they are a bit like Florentines’.
chocolate and lemon sherbet digestive biscuits
- 120g/1 cup whole wheat flour
- 120g/1⅓ cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp baking powder
- A pinch of salt
- 70g/⅓ cup muscovado sugar
- 125g/a generous cup of butter
- 3-4 tbsps milk
- 200g/7 oz extra dark chocolate chunks
- 50g/½ cup lemon candied peel
- 12 sherbet lemons (these are old fashioned boiled sweets with a sherbet filling)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Line a baking tray with silicon paper.
- Put the flour, oats, baking powder, salt, sugar and butter into a mixing bowl. Mix with an electric whisk until the texture is like breadcrumbs.
- Slowly add the milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the mixture begins to form a dough which sticks to itself. You probably won’t need all the milk.
- Roughly crush the lemon sherbets, and add them and half the chocolate chunks to the mixture. Add just over half of the candied peel.
- Put the mix between two sheets of baking paper and roll out. Cool in the fridge for ten minutes or so.
- Cut out rounds with a cooking cutter and put on a silicon-lined baking tray.
- Bake for ten minutes.
- Melt the rest of the chocolate. Pour over half of each biscuit. Sprinkle over the still melted chocolate the remainder of the candied peel.
- Leave to cool, and keep in a cool place.