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Digestives, which are also called digestive biscuits, are a type of sweet biscuit or cookie that were first manufactured in Scotland in the late 18th century. Sources credit McVitie’s, a company in Scotland with the creation of digestives, and they were initially marketed as good for the digestion because they contained bicarbonate of soda. This claim is actually true; a digestive biscuit or two after a meal may very well aid digestion slightly.
These round cookies are significantly praised in the UK and Ireland, and they remain popular. Though not as popular in the US, many stores that import foods carry them and brands like Carr’s crackers have an assortment of crackers that include digestives. Their simple ingredients produces a sweet biscuit, though it is nowhere near as sweet as most American manufactured cookies.
Most digestives are a combination of shortening, whole grain flour called wholemeal, whole wheat flour, oatmeal, a small amount of sweetening, baking power or baking soda and salt. Though digestives have a slight snap if you break them, the type of flour used means that they soften quickly if dipped. In fact, there are websites devoted to the subject of just how long you can dip a digestive before it will fall apart in your tea or coffee. These websites reflect popularity of digestive biscuits, which are regularly eaten for morning snacks, with an afternoon cup of tea, or as a quick dessert or on the go food.
Digestive biscuits can be best compared in the US to graham crackers. Taste and texture is somewhat similar. Yet graham crackers are most often thought of as a snack for kids while both kids and adults enjoy digestives. Sales are astounding with billions of simply chocolate digestive biscuits sold each year.
Not all digestives become instant snack food. Recipes for crusts we might make with graham crackers in the US often use digestive biscuits instead. They can be crumbled up to make more adult friendly fare like brandy or bourbon balls too.
Variety in these biscuits is also plentiful. You can choose from milk or dark chocolate, chocolate covered, orange flavored or a variety of others. A number of companies now make them, though many still prefer McVitie’s brand. Other companies that create digestives include Lu, Walkers and Lyons. You’ll find numerous types online if you want to order them, and a few varieties in specialty and import grocery stores.