Full disclosure: these are mum's biscuits this time.
Back in the days when I bought biscuits - before I had a home with a working oven - I would occasionally buy packet biscuits from the supermarket, and I would choose between chocolate wheatens or granitas. I loved the healthy illusion of these treats: sure they were coated with dark chocolate, or studded with chewy-hard sultanas, but they were oaty (or wheaty), sort of plain and fibre-y and wholesome tasting, really just a step up from a bowl of porridge or a slice of brown bread, so surely they were practically health food, right? And sultanas were once a fruit and dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, so there was really no argument. With a hot cup of tea, I could really fool myself into having a virtuous health moment. I’d be flaying myself with birch branches and swimming in icy lakes, next.
I came across this recipe for chocolate wheatens – or ‘wheaties’ as they were called here, so as not to impinge on brand copyrights or similar legal issues – in an Australian Womens’ Weekly book I borrowed from library (I cannot resist an AWW recipe book).
As is my wont, I changed the recipe about – due to necessity, not whim this time. I had no wheat germ but I had oat bran (so does this make them chocolate ‘oatens’?) and I had self raising wholemeal flour, not plain, so I did some swap arounds. All worked fine; when I pulled the trays from the oven and I had small delicate rounds, waiting to have their bottoms smeared (in the nicest way possible) with chocolate. I couldn’t wait though, and they were nicely dry and bran-y; bits get stuck in your teeth and behind your gums and require a good strong cup of tea to help with the clean up.
However, these are chocolate wheaties, and they’d be a bit too spartan without the coating of chocolate specified in the recipe.
Is there anything as sensual (but messy) as swirling blocks of chocolate in a double boiler to produce glossy molten goo?… Within minutes, each biscuit was licked with a little melted chocolate and left to (too slowly) cool. Perfection – the bittersweet chocolate and the short, wholemeal biscuits were a match made in ‘let’s pretend we’re healthy’ heaven.
You need to roll these out and fridge them before cutting out your rounds. The mixture was surprisingly sticky, so fridging made handling them easier – although gathering up the ‘scraps’ for the second roll out was a bit sticky again.
I honestly think next time I would roll these out as balls, maybe fridging them before cooking, in case that prevent them from spreading all over the place and becoming one big chocolate wheaten on the baking tray! The last ones that I did roll and flatten honestly looked much nicer – rounder and softer – than the stamped out ones.
My mother though (and these are hers pictured above) rolled her dough into a log shape, wrapped it in cling film and chilled in the fridge; I think she said for only half an hour. Then sliced them and baked that way. That sounds like a good thing to do too.
Adapted from the AWW.
- Preheat your oven to 180.
- Cream together 90g soft butter and 1/2 cup light brown sugar. Add 1 egg. When combined, stir in 1/4 cup dessicated coconut, 1/3 cup oat bran, 2/3 cups wholemeal SR flour and 1/3 cup white plain flour.
- Please see my notes above. You can either roll out the dough and cut out the biscuits, or roll out balls and flatten them, or roll into a log then chill then cut. Whatever you like.
- Place on baking trays and bake about 20 minutes (depending on the thickness of your biscuits).
- Meanwhile, melt your dark cooking chocolate, in either the microwave or over a double boiler, whichever method you prefer. I used 100 grams and got a thin coating, but the recipe specifed 185 grams - which is what mum used, by the look of it, nice thick chocplate bottoms! Wait til biscuits are absolutely cooled before spreading over the base of each one. You can be neat and smooth, creative and use a fork to make wiggly marks, or I rather like mum's thick painterly smears.
- These will soften gradually because of the chocolate. So eat them up quickly.