Not biscuits like buttermilk biscuits, but biscuits that are more like cookies. The biscuits of Ireland and England and other areas of the world. Here in the U.S., we might refer to these as cookies, but that wouldn’t be quite the right term, because they aren’t really sweet like a cookie. Let’s just go with biscuit, and leave it at that.
Now, that might be confusing, but, while we don’t really have a term that does proper justice to these biscuits, those on the other side of the Atlantic don’t have quite the right term for one of our buttermilk biscuits, either. They probably would refer to them as a scone, but, anyone who has had both a scone and a buttermilk biscuit knows that they aren’t the same thing at all. So they’re probably just as confused, or maybe even more confused, when they see biscuits and gravy on the menu.
So, let’s just stop confounding the issue with terminology and just scratch up some cookie/biscuit thingies.
Oh, and, so we don’t forget, this recipe comes from Real Irish Food, by David Bowers.
Makes thirty 2-inch rounds
Use old-fashioned oats, not the “quick” oats. Of course, who in the world needs “quick” oats, anyway? Old-fashioned oats only take 5 minutes to cook; it’s not as if shaving a few minutes off your breakfast preparation will allow you to finish up that work for the Nobel prize, will it? But, on to other things. Butter, as always, should be unsalted. You’re probably old enough to salt your own food. No need to have the butter-salters do it for you. And, don’t even think of margarine. If you’re thinking that, you’re reading the wrong blog. Eggs: find eggs that come from pastured hens. You’ll have better eggs and those hens will be happier, making it a win-win.
Procedure in detail:
Mix flours. In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose and the whole-wheat flours. We just reached in with a hand and gave it a few stirs. Easier than using a spoon.
Cut in butter. We like to slice the stick of butter into 10 to 12 “pats” and distribute them amongst the flours. Then, we get in there with our fingertips and grind the butter into the flour. Work fast so the butter doesn’t melt and you can get it all cut in. We’ve never used a pastry cutter; that might be easier, we just don’t know.
Add remaining drys. Add the brown sugar (note that we provided the weight measurement for that, as it’s easier to weigh brown sugar than it is to pack it into a measuring cup), the salt, the baking powder, and the oats and stir everything in. We like to use our hands for this, too. It makes it really easy to find and break up those sugar lumps.
Add liquid. In a small bowl, or even a measuring cup, mix together the milk and egg, then pour it over the flour mixture and stir it in. It will be a dry dough, but it will come together. Just keep stirring. If needed, yep, you guessed it, get your hands in there to help mix it all up.
Roll out. Take about half the dough and roll it out on your workspace. Dust with a bit of flour if it starts to stick to the rolling pin. Just a tip: it will stick, so have the flour handy. Keep rolling until the dough is between 1/8-inch and 1/4-inch thick. We would say 3/16-inch thick, but that just sounds silly. Just eyeball the thickness and you’ll do fine.
Cut. Using a floured 2-inch round cutter, cut out round biscuits and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets.
Dock. Grab a fork, any fork will do, and use the tines (the part with which you stab pieces of lasagna), to stab holes through these 2-inch biscuits. If you’re feeling silly, feel free to make little screaming noises as you pierce the biscuits. We didn’t, probably because we didn’t think of it until just now.
Bake. Slide the sheet into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the biscuits start turning golden brown and the center sets up. Since you’re not really doing anything while they bake, you should be working on filling the next baking sheet.
Cool. Remove the biscuits to a rack and let cool completely. Afterwards, store in an airtight tin, but be aware that these are best the first day. If you’ve been good, feel free to put a few chocolate chips on the biscuits while they’re still hot, then spread the chocolate over the surface as it melts.
If there is anything that we are missing in this country, it’s a good digestive biscuit. Yes, they look somewhat like cookies, but, in many ways, they are so much better. They aren’t really sweet, so
you can eat more you don’t feel as if you’re on a sugar-high after eating a dozen few. Being a bit more savory, they are perfect with a cup of tea, or a quick between-meals snack. Now, we will say that these aren’t quite the same as McVitie’s Digestive Biscuits, and may not be quite as tasty, but, you have to realize that the last place we had McVitie’s was on the Emerald Isle, so our memories might, just might, have been influenced by our surroundings. Anyway, we give these five stars, provided you eat them on the first day; after that, they get four.