Charcoal Biscuits - Made in The Black Isle
“Dear Kimberly and John, your parcel has arrived safely, thank you so much for your kind and helpful attention.
I thought it would amuse you to see my first attempts at making charcoal biscuits for my Father - since we cannot get Bragg’s medicinal charcoal biscuits for him anymore - they’ve been discontinued (they are once again being produced in the UK as of 2010). He is nearly 90 and since a nasty bout of amoebic dysentery caught in India during the 2nd world war has had problems with his digestive system. The tablets just don’t do it for him.
So I looked online for recipes but only found the charcoal wafers made for eating with cheese, and we can get these in our small village’s delicatessen shop. Somehow they don’t look terribly medicinal and probably have only token charcoal content. I next looked in my library of cook books and remembered a small insignificant pre WWII confectionary book found in a junk shop. There it was - the Charcoal Biscuit recipe. I have taken pictures to show you the book and also my first attempt to make the things.
I have to say charcoal is jolly messy stuff and I found I had to be very careful or it got stuck to anything I touched. I mixed the ingredients in my processor and was pleased that the resultant black machine washed off
clean in copious amounts of hot soapy water, as did everything else. I found that rolling out the dough was easier between cling film. I cooked them at 180°C for 12 minutes, then decided to bake them again for 20 min. at 150°C, turning them half way through the time, to dry them out, like biscotti.
My husband and I tried them out with butter and cheese and they are Not Bad. Now I have to present them to my Father. Maybe I can get a picture of him consuming one or two! I think he’ll be pleased. I am. I couldn’t have done this if I had not found your web site, once again thank you. I wish you and yours a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”
Charcoal Biscuit Recipe
8 lbs. of flour
1½ lbs. of butter
1¼ lbs. of sugar
¾ lbs. of charcoal
½ pint of eggs
Milk as required
Rub the butter very finely into the flour, make a bay, add sugar and eggs, and whip up by the fingers to a thick cream, draw in the flour, into which you have previously mixed the charcoal, and make to a nice biscuit dough. Roll out fairly thin, cut out to any desired shape, wash with water, and bake in a good sound oven, taking care to see that they are thoroughly well done.