Mrs. Graham's Chocolate Biscuits from Dragonfly in Amber in the Outlander series

Mrs. Graham's Chocolate Biscuits from Dragonfly in Amber

"Thought you might do with some tea, Mr. Wake -- I mean, Roger."  Fiona set down a small tray containing a cup and saucer and a plate of biscuits.

"Oh, thanks."  He was in fact hungry, and gave Fiona a friendly smile that sent the blood rushing into her round, fair cheeks.  Seemingly encouraged by this, she didn't go away, but perched on the corner of the desk, watching him raptly as he went about his job between bites of chocolate biscuit.

Feeling obscurely that he ought to acknowledge her presence in some way, Roger held up a half-eaten biscuit and mumbled, "Good."

"Are they?  I made them, ye know."  Fiona's flush grew deeper.  An attractive little girl, Fiona.  Small, rounded, with dark curly hair and wide brown eyes.  He found himself wondering suddenly whether Brianna Randall could cook, and shook his head to clear the image.

Apparently taking this as a gesture of disbelief, Fiona leaned closer.  "No, really," she insisted.  "A recipe of my gran's, it is.  She always said they were a favorite of the Reverend's."  The wide brown eyes grew a trifle misty.  "She left me all her cookbooks and things.  Me being the only granddaughter, ye see."

"I was sorry about your grandmother," Roger said sincerely.  "Quick, was it?"

Fiona nodded mournfully.  "Oh, aye.  Right as rain all day, then she said after supper as she felt a bit tired, and went up to her bed."  The girl lifted her shoulders and let them fall.  "She went to sleep, and never woke up."

"A good way to go," Roger said.  "I'm glad of it."  Mrs. Graham had been a fixture in the manse since before Roger himself had come, a frightened, newly orphaned five-year-old.  Middle-aged even then, and widowed with grown children, still she had provided an abundant supply of firm, no-nonsense maternal affection during school holidays when Roger came home to the manse.  She and the Reverend made an odd pair, and yet between them they had made the old house definitely a home.

Dragonfly in Amber, Chapter 2


Mrs. Graham's Chocolate Biscuits recipe (everyone knows that in this instance biscuit=cookie right?  A biscuit can also be a cracker -- but it's not in this case -- in this case it's a cookie) is a homemade version of a UK favourite that goes back to the mid-19th Century.  They acquired their somewhat strange name (at least if you're North American) because the baking soda in the original recipe was thought to have an antacid effect on the body, and thus aid in digestion.

Yeah, right.  A butter-rich cookie, even one not covered in chocolate, will help to move things along.

Ignorance is bliss, aye?

chocolate biscuits

Not that digestives are all bad.  If you have a look at the recipe, you can see it's a short list of pretty standard ingredients, most of which you already have in the cupboard.

And while a digestive's crunchy texture may come mostly from the butter and sugar, the whole-wheat flour lends a distinctive, addictive bite all its own.

It's hard to feel terrible about cookies made from whole wheat flour -- even ones with a healthy coating of chocolate on one side -- but if you want to feel extra virtuous, even while you're sneaking 2 or 3 during a midnight reconnaissance of the kitchen, then leave a few plain.

Who knows?  You may even feel better for them in the morning.

;)chocolate-brushed-digestives copy

(Click on the title below for a printable version of the recipe.)



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05 Mar 2012 - 7:18am


These look so good!..I can see myself having them with coffee ...Yum...


These were made for a dunk in coffee (or tea), Vickie. Super yum. Theresa

05 Mar 2012 - 12:20pm


Poor Fiona, you can't blame a girl for trying, lol (I'd be fussing all over Roger if I were in her shoes too!)nnWell, now I have motivation to replace my food processor sooner than later!


I love Fiona...and everything she does for Bree and Roger! theresa

05 Mar 2012 - 2:49pm

Jaclyn Yeomans

Sounds perfect for a snow day!nThanks for posting yet another delish Outlander creation :)

05 Mar 2012 - 3:54pm

mrs graham

i love digestives!!! delish.

05 Mar 2012 - 6:31pm

Lee Ann

Oh boy...I bet those would go great with some whisky-lace Scottish tea ;)

05 Mar 2012 - 6:42pm

The Suzzzz

My brother and I both live in Ireland for a while (at separate times) and the thing he misses most is chocolate hobnobs. I'm going to have to make these and surprise him. Now if only I could find a decent homemade recipe for rich tea biscuits.

05 Mar 2012 - 7:10pm

The Mom Chef …

I always wondered why they were called digestives! Thank you for the explanation. I like the idea of using whole wheat flour in these immensely. Dudette will, I'm sure, enjoy the chocolate coating. :)

06 Mar 2012 - 2:36am

Kiri W.

Oh yes *please*! I'll send by a young Roman for a batch of these ;)nAnd I know I've said this before, but I just utterly adore this blog concept!

07 Mar 2012 - 4:38pm


I cannot wait to make these. Another 'Hit' Theresa. nHelen in Ark.

10 Mar 2012 - 2:18pm


Love the bit of story and the recipe. And thank you for your tip as well.

05 Nov 2012 - 2:31am


gluten free version was a success!!! took some tweaking but i think they came out great! thank you so much for your help!

02 Dec 2012 - 6:49pm

Jenny Day

If you're not a chocolate junkie, my Mum, who is from Northern England, has always eaten digestives plain with a slice of blue cheese. Personally I'll stick to the chocolate!

28 Mar 2013 - 8:08pm


Made these yesterday............soooo easy and sooooo good will never purchase chocolate digestives much better than store bought......great cookie thanks for sharing

30 Mar 2013 - 10:36pm


Giving these a go right now. Can't wait to try them ^-^

06 Sep 2014 - 8:18pm

dee brode

are all these recipes in a cookbook that you can purchase?

03 May 2015 - 8:19pm


Thanks Theresa. I love these cookies. I did try it. The chocolate chips only melted enough when the cookies came right out of the oven, not after transferring them to the rack. Maybe they are a tiny bit less crisp than the ones done according to the recipe (I tried both ways), but it was definitely easier, and less messy. I also tried freezing the rolled and cut dough so I can bake "as needed" (our household's version of portion control). Placed on layers of freezer paper. Haven't cooked ay from frozen yet, but I'll let you know how they tu out.

11 Oct 2014 - 4:12pm

Jean Prescott

I keep cookbooks on my night table for reading at bedtime. Would love to find a way to put your recipes there, too, for the narrative that integrates Diana's words with the recipe - your own special words - make me believe, feel as if I could make anything you post. Will be searching your archive for bannock. Thank you for Outlander Kitchen.

12 Oct 2014 - 9:00pm

Valerie Ellis

Just made these with my girls (3 & 5). They had a blast painting on the chocolate! The taste test will come after dinner.

13 Oct 2014 - 8:10pm


of couse if they are plain digestives then you eat them with sharp cheddar cheese - sigh, and a nice cup of tea!

03 Nov 2014 - 4:34am

Jill Schaefer

Made these tonight - so yummy! And using a red wine glass rim as a cutter is genius. Mine didn't turn out as pretty as yours though - the dough, even though chilled, kept sticking to my floured pastry marble.

09 Mar 2015 - 6:17pm


Just made this recipe yesterday- they were fantastic! ! Doubled the recipe and they are almost gone already! Thanks so much for sharing!

02 May 2015 - 9:48pm


Love this recipe and am looking forward to trying it tonight. Could I skip the melting chocolate step by putting a few chips on each cookie before it cools, and spreading it as it it melts right on the cookie? Or do you think that would make the cookie soggy? I have a toffee recipe where the chips go on whole and the heat from the toffee melts them. Thank you


try it! I have no idea if it will work, but it sure sounds easier!

13 May 2015 - 8:26pm


Frozen cookies were perfect. Straight from the freezer to the cookie sheet and into the oven and barely any additional cooking time. Came out nice and crisp, even with a mix of semi and bittersweet chips on them right out of the oven. Chips melt, spread with knife, yum. Thanks for a great recipe.

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