These gluten-free vegan digestive biscuits have a rich nutty flavour and a gloriously crisp texture. Enjoy them with a cup of tea to remedy all and any of your woes.
Running a food blog is time-consuming, expensive and when the recipes don’t turn out right, it’s hard not to feel like a failure. There’s nothing I love more than being in the kitchen, but sometimes when my cakes don’t rise, or my pastry cracks or my ganache splits, all I want to do is crawl into bed, have a big cry and give up.
My gluten-free, vegan baking journey began almost 18months ago, and I still have to throw away whole trays of inedible baked goods. After another frustrating Sunday spent testing recipes with nothing to show for it, these cookies were the only thing stopping me from quitting blue border altogether.
If there’s one thing I know that will rescue me from a downward spiral it’s cookies! Cookies are small, easy to adjust and if you follow a few simple rules they’ll at the very least turn out edible. So when I saw this recipe for digestive biscuits on Bon Appetit, I couldn’t resist the pull of their glossy chocolate tops. I had to make my own free-from version.
Digestive biscuits are quintessentially British they have a rich nutty flavour, a crisp texture, and the best kinds are chocolate covered.
To replace the wholewheat and wheat germ I’ve used a combination of oat and buckwheat flour which do a mighty fine job, in my opinion. A couple of these biscuits paired with a cup of tea is the remedy to just about anything, they can even pull you back from the brink of quitting your food blog.
What do you need to know before you make this recipe?
You’ll need three gluten-free flours, xanthan gum and solid vegan butter to get the best out of these classic biscuits.
The method is simple and very similar to making shortbread and if you don’t like chocolate you can skip that step.
I’ve included all the additional notes for these gluten-free vegan digestive biscuits at the bottom of the page with the hope of improving your experience here at blue border. If you found this useful, I’d love your support on Instagram, click here to follow.
Adapted from Bon Appetit’s digestive cookies by SOHLA EL-WAYLLY
- 75g / 2.65oz oat flour, gluten-free
- 150g / 5.29oz gluten-free flour, all-purpose
- 25g / 3 Tbsp. buckwheat flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. xanthan gum
- ½ tsp. fine sea salt
- 75g / 2.65oz caster sugar
- 115g / 4.06oz non-dairy butter (the solid kind), cut into small cubes
- 45g / 3 Tbsp. non-dairy milk
- 100g / 3.53oz non-dairy chocolate of your choice
Into a large mixing bowl, sift together the oat flour, gluten-free flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt. Add the caster sugar, mix briefly and transfer to a food processor.
Add one cube of butter to the food processor at a time and briefly pulse the mixture between each addition of butter. Once all the butter has been incorporated, and the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs, add the milk. Pulse until the dough just comes together. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and shape it into a smooth ball.
Cover the mixing bowl and rest the dough in the fridge for 30minutes.
Preheat the oven to 160C/320F and line 2-3 baking trays with baking paper.
Dust your worktop and a rolling pin with flour and roll the dough out to approx. 5mm thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut as many rounds out of the dough as possible and use a spatula to transfer them to the baking tray. Use a fork to prick each cookie four times.
Bake the cookies for 20minutes, turning the tray halfway through the bake time and allowing them to cool on the tray before handling. I prefer to bake one tray at a time for more even baking, while the first batch of cookies is baking, roll and cut out cookies from the remaining dough.
Once the cookies have cooled, use the double boiler method to melt the chocolate. Use an offset spatula to spread a small dollop of melted chocolate over the flat side of each cookie, taking the chocolate to the edges. To create lines across the cookies, press the edge of the spatula into the cookie and as you lift the spatula up, gently move the spatula away from the line to create the drips.
NOTES: Gluten-free Vegan Digestive Biscuits
Why are these digestive biscuits baked at 160C?
In general gluten-free bakes are baked at a lower oven temperature for longer. This low and slow baking approach helps to develop structure in the absence of gluten, prevents crumbling and will stop your cookies from drying out.
What GF flour do you use?
I use Dove’s Farm gluten-free flour and love the way it performs.
If you’re in the US try Bob’s Red Mill One for One gluten-free flour or King Arthurs all-purpose gluten-free flour.
What vegan butter do you use?
Using solid vegan butter for these digestive biscuits will give you the best results. In the UK and Europe, try Naturli Vegan Block. In the US I know the solid vegan butter brands are Earth Balance, Miyoko or Country Crock Plant Butter.
I have tried the recipe with non-dairy margarine, and it still works it’s just not as good. If you can’t find solid vegan butter, use your favourite vegan marg instead, but reduce the amount of non-dairy milk to 30g.
Do I have to use xanthan gum?
Yes – see ‘Why are my gluten-free cookies falling apart?’
Why are my gluten-free cookies falling apart?
You left out the xanthan gum. In this recipe xanthan gum is standing in for gluten and eggs as a binder and, without it, gluten-free cookies tend to crumble. If you’re opposed to xanthan gum, you can try a flax egg but note that I haven’t tried the recipe with a binder other than xanthan gum.
You didn’t let them cool completely before removing them from the tray. Gluten-free cookies are more fragile than their gluten-containing counterparts. Allowing them to cool on the baking tray allows them to ‘fully set’. If you skip this step, you may find they completely crumble when moved.
Why did my cookies spread so much in the oven?
You skipped the fridge step. Gluten-free cookie dough should always go in the fridge before baking as gluten-free cookies tend to spread excessively in the oven.
In these small bakes, the butter/marg will melt quickly, and without gluten to hold them back you can end up with one giant cookie instead of one dozen. The overnight fridge step in this recipe helps to solidify the source of fat and temper spreading. This time in the fridge will also soften the flour and help prevent grittiness in cookies.
For more help with gluten-free vegan cookies check out –
The Ultimate Gluten-free and Vegan Cookie Troubleshooting Guide