An easy recipe for Gluten Free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits that will take you back to your pre-Coeliac days. Not only do they have the perfect ‘snap’ and a generous layer of dark chocolate, but they are wonderfully dunkable too. Optional dairy free and vegan.
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Gluten Free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits – baked to perfection
Chocolate Digestive Biscuits are a British icon. They are consistently at the top of the nation’s favourite biscuits chart. And with good reason! They’re deliciously wholemeal and gently sweet, perfectly dunkable and slathered with a decadent layer of chocolate. What’s not to love?
But… Finding a really good Gluten Free Chocolate Digestive is like hunting for a needle in a haystack. None of the shop-bought versions ever hit my happy spot. While they’re great for making cheesecake bases, they tend to have a texture which both lacks true crunch and is… well… a little ‘cardboard’ (in my opinion).
With a yearning for the ‘real deal’, I’ve created the ultimate recipe to set things straight. And added chocolate to my amazing plain Gluten Free Digestives to level up our favourite cookie beyond the ordinary. Even better, they’re really easy to make and can also be created dairy free and vegan.
Are Digestive Biscuits for ‘digestion’?
No. Absolutely not! Digestive Biscuits (chocolate or not) are often misunderstood outside of the UK. It seems that while we Brits know and love them wholeheartedly, elsewhere they are ignored purely on account of their name.
So… to be clear. While the original recipe way back in 1839 was considered to have ‘digestive’ properties on account of its containing ‘bicarbonate of soda’, we now know this is completely bonkers! Digestive Biscuits are in fact delicious, sweet British biscuits (cookies) that may or may not be coated in chocolate and that have absolutely NOTHING to do with digestion!
How ‘dunkable’ are homemade Chocolate Digestives?
It’s impossible to talk about Chocolate Digestive Biscuits without considering their ‘dunkability’. This is important because even when homemade, they still need to be up there with the top biscuits for dunking.
Dunking (for anyone who isn’t sure what I’m talking about) is the process of dipping biscuits in a cup of tea (or coffee or milk) so that the liquid soaks in. It’s another very British tradition originating in Victorian times and is now considered somewhat of an ‘art’. The skill is in calculating the perfect moment to pull the biscuit from the tea before it dissolves but with maximum absorption for a heavenly marriage of tea and cookie.
With this in mind, my Gluten Free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits have been dunk-tested multiple times. I can confirm they dunk both robustly and without fear of losing them to the bottom of the cup. The chocolate warms to melty perfection so that the triple combination of flavours and textures meld into harmony on the tongue.
What’s the best chocolate for coating Digestive Biscuits?
In terms of ingredients, the chocolate for Chocolate Digestives is a bit of a priority. So what’s the best chocolate for coating them?
Personally, I prefer my digestives to not be ‘over-sweet’ and for that reason, I use dark chocolate. Having said that, if you are a lover of milk chocolate (or even want to go white), then that’s fine too. These are YOUR Chocolate Digestives and they can be made however you want them to be.
The only proviso is this… It is essential that you use a chocolate brand you know to be meltable to a good runny consistency. And that for a good shiny top, the chocolate is melted or ‘tempered’ with care.
Are these biscuits safe for Coeliacs?
As a family of Coeliacs, I have made my Gluten Free Chocolate Digestives with UK-certified gluten free ingredients, including all flours used in the biscuit blend. However, the recipe shared does contain gluten free oats. While these offer the most delicious wholemeal and ‘creamy’ texture, I am well aware that some people are unable to eat (or source) this ingredient. Thus:
The best substitution for gluten free oats in the recipe
To make gluten free Chocolate Digestives that are also oat free, I would suggest switching the total weight of buckwheat flour + oat flour as listed in the recipe for a 50:50 balance of sorghum + buckwheat flours.
Alternatively, try a mix-and-match approach with alternative flours such as millet, amaranth, buckwheat or sorghum. You can even try adding hemp or tiger nut flour.
If you are new to gluten free baking, check out my page on ‘What is Gluten Free Flour?’ for more information.
Varying the texture of your Gluten Free Digestive Biscuits
The beauty of making your own Chocolate Digestive Biscuits at home is that you can easily vary the texture to have either a ‘fine’ or ‘coarser’ crumb. I’ve tested both options and can confirm that regardless, the biscuits are incredible.
For a more ‘refined and ‘tightly’ packed biscuit texture, use oat flour which is finely ground. If you prefer a more coarse, textured, ‘wholemeal’ cookie, use whole rolled oats in the mix (which are then partially ground in the food processor during dough-making).
To make a coarser oat-free version… Use a portion of your chosen flour ingredient (buckwheat/millet/sorghum/amaranth) as FLAKES in the mix.
Making gluten free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits dairy free and vegan
If you can’t tolerate dairy or are vegan, you can still enjoy my gluten free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits. Simply switch the milk and block dairy butter for good, like-for-like dairy free alternatives… In the UK, either Flora Baking Block or Stork Baking Block are perfect in place of butter.
And top with a favourite dairy free chocolate that has good meltability.
Mixing the dough – blender vs bowl
The base Digestive Biscuits are made by initially rubbing fat into flour. This can be done by hand (in a mixing bowl) using either fingertips or a pastry cutter. OR in a food processor/blender (the preferred option both for less mess and flexibility of texture).
With a food processor
Simply weigh all the dry ingredients directly into the processor bowl along with the cold cubed butter and pulse until you have coarse crumbs… Add the milk and pulse again to make a dough.
Without a food processor…
In a bowl, rub the fat into the dry ingredients using your fingertips. Add the milk and mix the whole lot into a dough, ready to shape. I would not recommend using whole rolled oats or flakes if made without a food processor.
How to make Gluten Free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits – Tips for success
Making Chocolate Digestive Biscuits is easy. The messiest bit is probably coating the ‘cookies’ at the end. Either way, here are my best tips to perfection:
- Weigh the ingredients carefully.
- Use BLOCK butter or dairy free alternative and make sure it’s very cold before either ‘rubbing in’ or food processing.
- When rolling/shaping the biscuits, use only a very light additional dusting of flour to prevent sticking. Too much extra flour will dry the dough and lead to crumbly ‘cookies’.
- Chill the dough biscuits before baking. Although not essential, this helps ensure they don’t spread in the oven.
- Cool the biscuits on the baking tray, so they can fully harden.
- When coating the biscuits, temper the chocolate if possible to give a shiny finish. Instructions for easy ‘tempering’ of dark chocolate are embedded in the recipe method.
- Coat about 4 to 5 biscuits at a time, so they can be ‘patterned’ before the chocolate firms too much.
- I found the easiest way to spread the chocolate is using a flat knife or spatula, but use whatever method works best for you.
Other nationally favourite biscuits and cookies on the blog
- Shortbread ‘Petticoat Tails’
- Jaffa Cakes
- Custard Creams
- Jammie Dodgers
- Bourbon Biscuits
- Viennese Whirls
- Ginger Nuts (Ginger Biscuits)
- Party Rings
- Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
- Mini Cheddars Cheese Crackers
- Chocolate Chip Shortbread
- Viennese Fingers
- Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ready to make Gluten Free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits?
You will find the recipe for my Gluten Free Chocolate Digestive Biscuits just below (scroll an inch or two further). Indulge and enjoy!
All shared for free with my love
Chocolate Digestive Biscuits (gluten free)
- food processor or large mixing bowl
- small heat-proof glass (Pyrex) bowl
- microwave or hob and saucepan
- 80 g plain gluten free flour blend Or Gluten Free Alchemist wholegrain Flour Blend B (See NOTES)
- 60 g buckwheat flour Or Gluten Free Alchemist wholegrain Flour Blend B (See NOTES)
- 110 g gluten free rolled oats OR oat flour oat flour creates a finer textured biscuit
- 75 g soft light brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder gluten free
- ¼ tsp xanthan gum
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt (increase to ½ teaspoon for a slightly saltier biscuit)
- 135 g block butter or dairy free block alternative (cold and cubed)
- 40 g milk dairy free as required
- 140 g dark chocolate 1 (or use milk chocolate if preferred) – dairy free as required
- 80 g dark chocolate 2 (weighed separately to the above) – dairy free as required
Making the Biscuits
- Weigh the flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt into a food processor along with the cold cubed butter. (See NOTES if you do not have a food processor).
- Turn the machine on and grind all the ingredients together until they resemble crumbly coarse breadcrumbs.
- Add the milk and pulse to combine until the mixture comes together as a dough.
- Tip the mixture out and bring together into a ball with lightly floured hands, pressing it to form an even dough.
- Prepare a couple of large baking sheets by lining with baking paper.
- On a very lightly floured surface, roll the dough to a thickness of 4 to 6 mm (depending on the preferred depth of the final Digestives).
- Use a round cookie cutter (about 5 cm in diameter) to cut out the biscuits, transferring them to the lined baking sheets with a small gap between them (they should not spread much).
- Bring together any remaining dough, re-roll and cut until all the dough has been used.
- Prick the top of the dough biscuits a few times with a fork and then place in the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes while the oven preheats. Although it’s not entirely necessary to chill the dough, the additional time allows it to firm to ensure there is no spreading.
- Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F and then bake the Digestives for 15 to 18 minutes until golden and just starting to darken at the very edges.
- Remove from the oven and leave on the trays to cool for 10 to 15 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Coating with Chocolate
- Get ready a large sheet of baking paper or a wire rack to transfer the biscuits once coated.
- For a shiny, even chocolate surface it is important to melt the chocolate correctly. To do this:
- Weigh the first (larger) amount of chocolate (dark chocolate 1) into a heat proof glass bowl.
- Gently heat the chocolate either in the microwave (set at low to medium – 10 to 30 second bursts (max)), or over a steaming/gently simmering pan of water (Bain Marie).
- When the chocolate reaches a melted temperature of 40 C (104 F) (check with an accurate digital food thermometer), remove from the heat immediately and add the second amount of the weighed chocolate (dark chocolate 2), gently stirring through until smooth.
- If there are lumps that won’t melt, pop the bowl back over the steam/in the microwave at a LOW temperature for 5 seconds only and re-stir. Repeat only if necessary. The chocolate must not heat up, but may need a gentle warmth to encourage the last melts!
- Working quickly (and in batches of about 4 to 5 biscuits at a time), use either a small spatula or flat/palette knife to spread melted chocolate across the surface of each Digestive (or alternatively, you might try dipping the top of each biscuit directly into the chocolate).
- Place each biscuit right side up on the baking paper/wire rack and while the chocolate is still runny and pliable, either run a cocktail stick/fork across the surface (both down and across) to create criss-cross markings… OR (if you have one) use the base of a clean frying basket/wide-holed sieve to mark the top of the chocolate surface with a pattern.
- Repeat until all the biscuits are coated.
- Once complete, set aside at room temperature and allow to naturally cool and harden. Placing them in the fridge to set is more likely to cause cracking due to the rapid retraction of the cooling, hardening chocolate (and may also cause the biscuits to soften).
The butter should then be rubbed into the dry ingredients using fingertips (or a pastry blender) before adding the milk and combining it into a dough by hand.
© 2019-2023 Kate Dowse All Rights Reserved – Do not copy or re-publish this recipe or any part of this recipe on any other blog, on social media or in a publication without the express permission of Gluten Free Alchemist