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Healthy Digestive Biscuits

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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

Pink Peppercorn Shortbread

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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!
4.96 from 90 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe 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.
Calories: 68kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 179IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 8mg | Iron: 1mg

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 !
Recipe Rating




Mae

Saturday 10th of February 2024

Hi there, These biscuits were delicious and fun to make with my toddler, thank you!

Wondering if you've ever tried Readybrek for the oatmeal? It would save me a step but thought I'd ask first as it hasn't always worked well in baked goods in the past for me.

Sarah James

Tuesday 13th of February 2024

Hi Marie, Lovely to hear you had fun making my digestive biscuits. I haven't tried using Readybrek in baking because of the way it's processed for a quick cook and it contains oat flour too. I'm not so sure it would be a good alternative to using oatmeal. Sorry I can't be of more help, Sarah.

Kriti

Thursday 25th of January 2024

Can these be stored for longer than two weeks in the refrigerator or freezer? Wonderful recipe btw! I tried one batch as is and another with some of my twists. Came out delicious!

Sarah James

Wednesday 31st of January 2024

Hi Kriti, pleased to hear you enjoyed my digestive biscuits. I wouldn't recommend keeping the digestives in the fridge but they do freeze well. Pop your biscuits into a freezer bag or container and they will keep for up to three months in the freezer. Thanks for the review, it's much appreciated, Sarah.

Tricia Rose

Friday 1st of December 2023

Best digestive I have yet tried! I'll try adding malted milk powder to the next batch for extra sweetness.

Amy

Saturday 25th of November 2023

Can you use avocado oil instead of butter? If so, what would be the substitution ratio?x

Sarah James

Monday 11th of December 2023

Hello Amy, sorry for the delay in replying but I've been away for a few weeks without access to Wifi and a very weak mobile signal. When I substitute butter with sunflower oil I use 120 ml of oil instead of 150g butter. I haven't used avocado oil in baking but maybe 120 ml would work as a starting point. Adding a touch more if required to bring the dough together. Hope this helps, Sarah.

Netta

Thursday 6th of July 2023

Turned out amazing! Tasty and crunchy. Happy to give them to my toddler as a snack