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Healthy Digestive Biscuits

You’ll love my Healthy Digestive Biscuits Recipe. Delicious, low calorie oatmeal cookies and refined sugar free. Perfect with a cup of tea and so much better than shop bought!

My favourite sweet treat is a nice cup of tea and a good digestive biscuit, perfect for dunking. A healthier biscuit if you make your own as they are a low sugar biscuit. Often eaten with cheese instead of a cracker.

We love homemade biscuits here at the Kitchen Shed, no palm oil or added extras. Only 68 Kcals. Naturally vegan and refined sugar free.

A teapot, a mug of tea and a tray of homemade cookies.

My Healthy Digestive Biscuits recipe includes easy to make vegan or sugar free versions – options are given in the recipe card. I use maple syrup in the basic recipe to sweeten the digestives.

Maple syrup adds a lovely malty flavour which pairs so well with the oatmeal and has the added bonus of being refined sugar free.

So if you fancy a digestive biscuit that is much better for you and tastes so much better than shop bought, have a go at baking a batch of these.

A cooling rack with Healthy digestive biscuits fresh from the oven.

What are Digestive Biscuits ?

In 1892, Alexander Grant from McVities in Edinburgh, devised and produced the first and original ‘Digestive’ biscuit, the secret recipe of which is still used today. Sometimes referred to as sweetmeal biscuits, it was the Victorians who coined the term “Digestives” because they believed the bicarbonate of soda in them must aid digestion.

Apparently one in nine packets of biscuits now sold in the UK is a packet of Digestives, making them the nation’s favourite biscuit regardless of their questionable aid to digestion.

A close up of a broken oat cookie.

What do I need to make Healthy Oatmeal Cookies ?

I like to use White spelt flour for its naturally nutty flavour but you can substitute with plain flour. Wholemeal spelt flour made the biscuits a little too dry so I substituted white spelt flour.

Fine oatmeal – if you can’t get hold of oatmeal or you don’t want to buy a pack just to make this recipe you can whizz up some porridge oats.

Fat – butter or sunflower margarine can be used. They both make a dunkable crispy digestive but if you want to make them VEGAN use sunflower margarine.

Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) contribute to a distinctive biscuit taste, imparting a particular flavour with a sublte hint of bitterness.

Salt – just a quarter of a teaspoon for flavour.

Maple syrup – I prefer to make our Digestives with maple syrup as I love the way its malty flavour pairs well with the oatmeal.

Maple syrup contains zinc and manganate and whilst it has a lower glycaemic index than sugar it still needs to be used in moderation – I used 4 tablespoons in the recipe to make about 30 biscuits.

If you prefer a sweeter biscuit use golden syrup.

Milk – for a SUGAR FREE digestive biscuit omit the maple syrup and use 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk or dairy free milk and flavour with ¼ teaspoon of salt.

Chocolate is purely optional but every now and again I’ll make a batch with golden syrup and cover with chocolate. CHOCOLATE Digestive Biscuits are a special treat for my husband who has a very sweet tooth !

A pile of dark chocolate digestives on baking parchment.

How To Make Healthy Digestive Biscuits

  • Sieve the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and add the butter or margarine. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the maple syrup or golden syrup or milk (depending on which version you want to make) and bring the mixture together into a ball using your hands.
  • Flatten the dough into a thick disc ready for rolling out. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Putting your biscuit dough in the fridge for about 30 minutes, treating it just like pastry, results in a lovely short biscuit.
A silicone mat with cookie dough and a cookie cutter and rolling pin.
  • Roll out your biscuit dough to about 3 to 4 mm thick. I used a 6 cm circle cutter and although you can use whatever shape you like, this may mean adjusting the cooking times.
  • Place the biscuits onto your baking trays – I used a fork to make a basic pattern on the biscuits.
  • Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. If you like a really crisp biscuit, switch the oven off and leave your biscuits in for another 5 minutes or so.
Healthy digestive biscuits on a tray ready for baking.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  • And purely, optional 🙂 Cover with melted chocolate.
A bowl of melted chocolate with a rack of dipped oat cookies.

How To Serve

  • Just as they are with a cup of tea and perfect for dunking ! Or a glass of milk if you prefer.
  • Top with your favourite cheese for a snack or add to your cheese board.

What Can I Make ?

  • Healthy Digestive Biscuits make a delicious cheesecake base, much tastier than shop bought digestives.
  • Why not try breaking into small pieces and scattering on ice cream, fruit fool, a lemon posset or a trifle ? Adds a lovely crunch and flavour to your favourite dessert.
  • I love using big chunks of digestives in a rocky road.

How Long Do They Keep ?

Healthy Digestive Biscuits will keep for up to two weeks in an airtight container.

If you like this recipe …….

Tuiles

Chocolate Peanut Butter Biscuit Bars

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You'll love this Digestive Biscuits Recipe. Choose the healthy sugar free option or sweeten with golden syrup and cover with dark chocolate - delicious whichever way you choose and so much better than shop bought !

Healthy Digestive Biscuits

You’ll love my Healthy Digestive Biscuits Recipe. Delicious, low calorie oatmeal cookies and refined sugar free. Perfect with a cup of tea and so much better than shop bought!
5 from 35 votes
Print Pin Rate Save Recipe
Course: Afternoon Tea, Biscuit, Snack
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 22 minutes
Servings: 30
Calories: 68kcal
Author: Sarah James

Equipment

  • 2 x large baking sheets lined with baking parchment or silicone mats

Ingredients

  • 175 g white spelt flour or plain flour
  • 150 g fine oatmeal
  • 150 g ( 5 oz ) sunflower margarine or butter I used Pure Sunflower
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 60 ml maple syrup or golden syrup or milk.

Instructions

  • Sieve the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and add the butter or margarine. Rub the fat into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the maple syrup or golden syrup or milk (depending on which version you want to make) and bring the mixture together into a ball using your hands.
  • Flatten the dough into a thick disc ready for rolling out. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 190°C / 170°C fan / 325°F / Gas Mark 4
  • Remove your biscuit dough from the fridge and roll out to about 3 to 4 mm thick.
  • I used a 6 cm circle cutter and although you can use whatever shape you like, this may mean adjusting the cooking times.
  • Place the biscuits onto your baking trays – I used a fork to make a basic pattern on the biscuits.
  • Bake in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes until lightly browned. If you like a really crisp biscuit, switch the oven off and leave them in for another 5 minutes or so.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  • Optional: decorate with melted chocolate.
  • Store in an airtight container.

Notes

Use golden syrup instead of maple syrup if you want a sweeter biscuit made with sugar.
If you prefer a totally sugar free biscuit, omit the maple syrup and use 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk or non dairy milk and flavour with ¼ teaspoon of salt.
Calories are based on using sunflower margarine and maple syrup in the recipe.
Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Digestive Biscuits
Amount per Serving
Calories
 
68
Calories from Fat 36
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
4
g
6
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
4
g
Sodium
 
73
mg
3
%
Potassium
 
10
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
6
g
2
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
1
g
1
%
Protein
 
1
g
2
%
Vitamin A
 
179
IU
4
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
8
mg
1
%
Iron
 
1
mg
6
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Pin Healthy Digestive Biscuits

A teapot, a mug of tea and a tray of homemade cookies.
I’m entering my Healthy Digestive Biscuits Recipe into a few challenges this month:
  • Teatime Treats, created  by Karen at Lavender & Lovage and hosted this month by Janie at the Hedgecombers.
  • Healthy Digestive Biscuits have been entered into Treat Petite created by Stuart at CakeyBoi & Kat at The Baking Explorer, hosted this month by Stuart over at CakeyBoi.
  • The Biscuit Barrel Challenge created by Laura at I’d Much Rather Bake Than & hosted this month by Alexandra over at Lass In The Apron.
  • I’m also putting them forward for this month’s Family Foodies, organised by Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash, which is looking for “healthier child-friendly recipes”. I’m sure kids will love these Healthy Digestive Biscuits with or without chocolate! ( Not suitable for children under 12 months )

And linking to:

You'll love this Digestive Biscuits Recipe. Choose the healthy sugar free option or sweeten with golden syrup and cover with dark chocolate - delicious whichever way you choose and so much better than shop bought !

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Recipe Rating




Patricia

Wednesday 3rd of November 2021

Hello Sarah! Just finished baking the "digestives"-they were perfect plain-but tried the melted dark chocolate for a special treat.. No more buying cookies for me! I followed the recipe as is and had no issues. Thank you!

Sarah James

Sunday 7th of November 2021

Thanks for getting in touch Patricia and so pleased you're enjoying homemade digestives. It's a pleasure to share my recipe.

Victor Breach

Thursday 7th of March 2019

Hi Sarah,

Recipe looks great. I assume the oatmeal you mention is porridge oats. If using porridge is it best to blitz it finer in a processor first.

Thanks

sarahj

Sunday 5th of July 2020

Hi Victor, sorry for the late reply but I've been on a bit of a break from my blog. You can buy oatmeal or like you say you can give some porridge oats a fine blitz.

Doris

Thursday 29th of November 2018

Thank you - thank you - thank you! I will never go back to the store bought version of Digestives. The cookies came out PERFECT!

Nancy

Wednesday 7th of February 2018

I had been buying chocolate covered digestives for my family and wanted to find a recipe so that I could do away with the packaging. I analyzed many recipes on Pinterest and decided on these ones. I made them with vegan butter as I have vegan family members, used half whole wheat and white organic flour and I added the maple syrup. I also brushed on melted milk chocolate (my favourite) and they were devoured by everyone in the household. So good! I am making a double batch to day with my grandkids, and I am going to get them to cut them out and poke them with the fork and brush the chocolate on top. I use a smaller size cutter and they look really cute and then it makes more cookies too. I am going to brush some of them with melted 'Enjoy Life' dairy free chocolate chips for my sister who is vegan and also ship some across Canada to my daughter who loves digestives (and homemade cookies). These were soooooo good, I will never go back to store bought! They are like a little scottish oat cake with chocolate so none of us feel guilty eating them. Yum! Thank you for the recipe!

sarahj

Saturday 28th of April 2018

Hi Nancy, pleased to hear you found our recipe on Pinterest. I hadn't thought about the advantage of doing away with packaging. You sound like you have fun experimenting with the dairy free and vegan option, it's good to hear vegan butter works well in the recipe. It's a pleasure to share the recipe and I really appreciate your feedback.

Sára

Sunday 28th of May 2017

These look amazing. How long do they last?

sarahj

Tuesday 13th of June 2017

Thanks Sara, the biscuits should keep for at least a week in an airtight container. thanks for popping by :-)