Ah lavender. Just the word is enough to evoke an immediate sense memory of pleasure and calm. Which is no wonder, this gentle nervine’s ability to ease nervous tension, decrease anxiety and uplift the spirit is legendary – which is why I’ll be serving these digestive biscuits for my upcoming herbal yoga workshop on Cultivating Your Calm. Lavender’s gorgeous floral aroma and flavour will not only light up our pleasure receptors and encourage the body to relax, but her digestive supportive abilities also help soothe symptoms of anxiety-troubled tummies.
The great thing about digestive biscuits is their simple, gentle nature don’t make overt demands on the palate or the stomach, yet they make a sweet and satisfying snack. And good news is, giving ourselves a pleasurable treat actually encourages a physiological relaxation response. This relaxation response (as opposed to our stress response) signals our parasympathetic nervous system (rest, digest and heal) to turn on and this gives our bodies a chance to do what they were designed to do, heal, rejuvenate and renew! Which is what this workshop is all about!
I decided to pair the digestive supportive abilities of this lavender biscuit with the aromatic celery like notes of lovage seeds, also known for their ability to stimulate the digestive system, and act as a remedy for gas, indigestion and stomach ache. The savory notes of lovage balance the sweet floral notes of lavender, and complement the rustic oatmeal flavour of this biscuit perfectly.
Today lovage is mostly a forgotten herb, but it was once frequently used in all kinds of cooking. Native to the Mediterranean, the Romans loved lovage so much they took it to England where it continued to grow in medieval monastery gardens for medicinal and culinary uses. My grandma never made a soup or a stock without it. Its leaves taste like celery and parsley, and its seeds are a slightly sharper version of celery seed or a milder version of caraway.
If you don’t have lovage seeds on hand (not many people do!) celery or fennel seeds are both easily found common substitutes – and both are also wonderful for enhancing digestion. You can make the biscuit without these seeds of course, but I encourage you to add them as they really add to the overall flavour (and medicinal aspects) of the cookie.
In a search of a suitable biscuit recipe, I came across How To Cook The Perfect Digestive Biscuit. According to biscuit experts, oatmeal must always be added, as it is part of the classic tradition. I was completely out of whole wheat flour so these biscuits are made ENTIRELY from oat flour (which I ground from oats in my coffee grinder). And as I was also out of butter (which is traditionally used) I used coconut oil. And it worked out just fine. Which is a nice accident, as it’s both non-gluten and vegan.
I prepared both these herbs by grinding them with a mortar and pestle, just to loosen them up and make their oils more available to the dough. You can also throw them into the food processor or a coffee grinder, but don’t grind them too fine. This was probably the most time-consuming part(aside from cutting out the cookies) because these biscuits are really easy to make!
I just dumped all the ingredients in the food processor and whirred it around until I got a rough clump of dough. This I patted down into a ball, covered and chilled for 15-20 minutes before rolling it out. Then the biscuits go into a hot preheated oven (425) for 10-12 minutes. But keep watch, they brown quickly – I wished I’d taken mine out a minute or two earlier. Nonetheless, I think they turned out very tasty, and they’ll make a lovely treat for my workshop. If I can stop eating them that is!
Lavender & Lovage Seed Digestive Oatmeal Biscuits
(makes about 2 dozen)
- 1 & ½ cup oat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 2-3 tablespoons of light crushed lovage seeds (or fennel or celery seeds)
- 2-3 tablespoons of lavender buds
- 1 teaspoon baking powder (this is optional, baking powder was traditionally used to help “puff up” your biscuits, but the ones pictured here were made without)
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (also optional – but a good digestive spice)
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup coconut milk (or regular or dairy free milk)
- Combine the herbs, oat flour, oats, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, coconut oil and coconut milk in the bowl of a food processor.
- Process for about 30-45 seconds until begins to form a rough dough. (It will be sticky)
- Gather the dough into a loose ball and pat into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15-20 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 425 F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle a bit of oat flour onto your work surface. Put the dough onto the prepared surface and press down with your fingertips.
- Roll the dough out about 1/4 inch in thickness. Use a 2-3 inch round cookie cutter to cut the biscuits. Using a spatula transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet.
- Use the tines of a fork to prick the tops of the biscuits about 3-4 times.
- Bake the biscuits for 7-12 minutes or until they are golden.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
- Snack as required.