These cornmeal and fennel seed digestive biscuits are big on flavor and texture. Rich, golden cornmeal offers these biscuits a light, airy texture, while anise-tasting fennel seeds benefit your digestive system. The perfect after-dinner biscuit. This article also contains an honest book review of The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen by Devon Young.

Cornmeal & Fennel Seed Digestive Biscuits

The Benefits of Digestive Biscuits

In many homes around the world, dinners are completed with a tray of digestive biscuits. In other places, digestive biscuits, also known as digestive cookies, are enjoyed with tea or coffee at any point during the day. 

Traditionally, digestive biscuits were eaten after heavy meals and were made with healthy ingredients and also contained herbs and spices that were good for discouraging bloating from the heavy meals and to encourage a healthy and active digestive system.

Popular digestive biscuit spices that are good for your digestive system include: fennel seeds, anise seeds, ginger, and caraway seeds. 

Read more about these spices in my Spice Series.

Of course, in typical modern fashion, consumerism/companies slowly transformed digestive biscuits into sugary cookie treats. Not all digestive biscuits on the market are junk food, but you need to read the packages carefully in order to get the ones that are actually good for you. Read more about the good and bad in modern digestive biscuits (and how to pick the right one) in this Livestrong.com digestive biscuit article and this Times Food article.

Fortunately, if reading the backs of boxes for their nutritional information is making you go crazy, you can very easily just make your own healthy version of digestive biscuits!

Before we get to the recipe, I want to review The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen by Devon Young. This is the book where I found this delicious digestive biscuit recipe.

The Healing Herbalist's Kitchen Book Cover

The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen Book Review

Devon Young is a blogger-friend of mine over at Nitty Gritty Life. We have bonded over our similar passion for herbs and natural remedies. She asked for an honest review of her newest book, The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen  and I was honored to read it and I was super excited to write up this book review.

I previously reviewed another one of Devon Young’s books, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary. You can read about that book in my article/recipe about Dandelion Root Herbal Coffee (which, coincidentally, I am drinking right now….I’m currently quite addicted!).

Her new book, The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen is a cool combination of herbal remedies and a cookbook. Devon’s philosophy is that healing doesn’t have to be all about medicine, whether modern or traditional (like tinctures, herbal teas, etc.). Healing can take place in a more common way: in your daily food. As Devon says, “True healing begins in the most fundamental of origins. It starts in the food that we eat.” (The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen, pg. 10).

This theory about healing with food is not new. In fact, two of my favorite (and very popular) herbalists have been passionately teaching about this in the last few years. Rosalee de la Foret, in her cookbook/herbal book Alchemy of Herbs and Rosemary Gladstar in her lectures and her newest book Herbal Healing for Men: Remedies & Recipes

So Devon Young is in agreement with some of my all-time favorite herbalists. And I completely agree with all three of them that healing remedies don’t have to taste bad, and that the healing can start in the kitchen. It’s WAY easier to sneak some herbs and spices into your food than it is to force down some bitter-tasting tincture (don’t get me wrong: tinctures have their place. But Grapefruit Curd with Rosehips (a recipe from The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen) sounds like a tasty way to get an immune boost, ya know?).

One of the things that I love about The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen is that the recipes are tasty-sounding AND easy to make. Almost all of the recipes in this book are things that I can make today from the ingredients I already have in my kitchen. I love adding unique ingredients to my kitchen arsenal, but it’s also nice to just open a cookbook and be able to make the food right away.

Similar to Devon Young’s other book, The Backyard Herbal Apothecary, this book is loaded with beautiful pictures. Every recipe has a beautiful photo for it. It’s kinda my pet peeve when food recipes in a cookbook don’t have a picture. I’m a visual learner, and I need to see the recipe in order to be interested in trying to make it. So no worries about that in this book!

If I had to pick out one gripe (because I want to be honest here), it would be the organization. My husband loves how it’s organized, so it will probably please most people. For me, though, it was slightly annoying that the recipes are organized by topic. So there are chapters on “Recipes for a Happy Healtht Belly”, “Recipes to Rejuvenate Your Mind & Senses”, Recipes for a Thriving Immune System”, etc. That’s a cool way to organize a herbal cookbook UNLESS you are looking for a dessert recipe to make for after-dinner. Then you have to look it up in the index or table of contents. It’s really a super slight annoyance, but again, I want to be honest with you.

To wrap it up: The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen is a great book for beginner and experience herbalists alike and it deserves to have a place in every kitchen. I already plan on letting family and friends borrow this book to expand their cooking and healing skills for their families. It’s fantastic! 

Click here to purchase The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen by Devon Young.

Great herbalist books for the Kitchen
Three Awesome Herbal Cookbooks For Your Kitchen!

Cornmeal & Fennel Seed Digestive Biscuits

These digestive biscuits are ever-so-slightly sweet, making them perfect for an after-dinner snack. They are even more wonderful with a cheese and charcuterie board. 

Makes: 24 to 30 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 8 tbsp butter, cubed and softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt and fennel seeds until they’re well mixed. In short bursts, pulse the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the milk and pulse again until a cohesive dough forms.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Without overworking the dough, form two dough balls and flatten each into a small disc. Wrap them in plastic film and chill them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C, or gas mark 4) and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Rollout the dough on a well-floured surface until it measures about 1⁄8 inch (3 mm) thick. Using a pizza wheel or arotary dough crimping tool, cut individual cookies in roughly 1 x 2–inch (2.5 x 5–cm) rectangles. Transfer them carefully to the lined baking sheet. Pierce each one once with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing in the oven.
  5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they’re lightly golden, rotating the sheet about halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Cool them for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a wire rack to continue cooling. Do not underbake. These biscuits are best cooked until firm for a cracker-like snap.

Notes:

**Make sure you buy good quality spices and herbs! The stuff from the normal grocery store is often very old and often suffers loss in flavor, potency, and medicinal benefits. Starwest Botanicals is a good company to purchase herbs and spices. Check out their fennel seeds here. Other online good-quality herb and spice stores work as well.


Cornmeal & Fennel Seed Digestive Biscuits

Cornmeal & Fennel Seed Digestive Biscuits

Yield: 24-30 biscuits
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

These digestive biscuits are ever-so-slightly sweet, making them perfect for an after-dinner snack. They are even more wonderful with a cheese and charcuterie board. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 8 tbsp butter, cubed and softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup whole milk

Instructions

    1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, sugar, salt and fennel seeds until they’re well mixed. In short bursts, pulse the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the milk and pulse again until a cohesive dough forms.

    2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface. Without overworking the dough, form two dough balls and flatten each into a small disc. Wrap them in plastic film and chill them in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

    3. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C, or gas mark 4) and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

    4. Rollout the dough on a well-floured surface until it measures about 1⁄8 inch (3 mm) thick. Using a pizza wheel or arotary dough crimping tool, cut individual cookies in roughly 1 x 2–inch (2.5 x 5–cm) rectangles. Transfer them carefully to the lined baking sheet. Pierce each one once with the tines of a fork to prevent puffing in the oven.

    5. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until they’re lightly golden, rotating the sheet about halfway through the baking time to ensure even browning. Cool them for at least 10 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a wire rack to continue cooling. Do not underbake. These biscuits are best cooked until firm for a cracker-like snap.


Final Thoughts on Digestive Biscuits and This Herbal Cookbook…

I heartily and cheerfully support Devon Young and I recommend her book The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen for everyone. This really is a must-read for anyone who is looking for healthy and easy recipes to make that will also encourage you to nourish your family’s health with food.

Click here to purchase The Herbalist’s Healing Kitchen by Devon Young.

These digestive biscuits are super tasty and they were fun to make. I’m looking forward to make them again, as well as tons of the other recipes from this book! Give them a try and tell me what you think!

For Further Reading:


 

Homemade Cornmeal & Fennel Digestive Biscuits Recipe

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