Friday, December 3, 2010

Sugared Cinema: Love Actually (2003)

What's that?
It's a cinnamon stick, sir.

Actually, I really can't wait.

Oh, you won't regret it, sir.

Wanna bet?

'Tis but the work of a moment.  There we go.  Almost finished.
Almost finished?  What else can there be?  Are you gonna dip it in yogurt?  Cover it with chocolate buttons? 

Because you didn't see that one coming.  A quote from the Rick-Man. 

I had always heard good things about Love Actually but I, being the overly picky rom-com viewer that I am, didn't get around to watching it until last Christmas.  My mom bought the soundtrack when it first came out (Sunday Morning is her jam) and would play it when she was cleaning the home that her 23 year-old grown ass daughter still occupied at the time.  Looking at the tracklist, I didn't realize then that it had a few Christmas covers.  In fact, I never once associated the film with the holidays.  Of course, all of that has changed.  From now on, you'll find Love Actually at the top of my queue every December until Netflix becomes obsolete or I buy the dvd, whatever comes first.

Who do you have to screw around here to get a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit?

Natalie, apparently.

The first time I heard Prime Minister Hugh Grant mention chocolate biscuits, my salivary glands went ballistic.  I didn't know what these "chocolate biscuits" were but I immediately knew that I needed them in my life/belly.  A quick visit to Wikipedia informed me that biscuits (or digestives, as they're commonly known as) are "a semi-sweet biscuit popular in the United Kingdom."

And they look like this:

And a chocolate biscuit is simply a digestive with chocolate on one side:

It just got better and better.

I found a recipe for chocolate biscuits on the blog, The Obsessive Gardener.  This girl was relentless in her quest for the perfect digestive and I bow to her thoroughness.  In fact, that's how I'm going to address her, should we ever meet in person or cyberspace.  Her Thoroughness.  Because these turned out PERFECT.

Chocolate Biscuits (or Digestives)
Recipe from The Obsessive Gardener
Makes a little over a dozen biscuits

Here's what you'll need:

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup wheat bran*
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
5 Tablespoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons butter, diced
1 Tablespoon Crisco
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons half and half
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted

*I couldn't find wheat bran.  So I pulverized 1/4 cup of rolled oats to smithereens and used that instead.

In a large bowl, combine the flours, wheat bran, baking powder, baking soda and cream of tartar.  Mix well.

Add the brown sugar and mix it well again.

Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter and Crisco until the crumbs are pea-sized.

Add the vanilla extract and half and half.  If you don't keep half and half stocked in the fridge, a combo of milk and heavy cream works, too.

Use the pastry blender to fully work the liquids into the dough.  Form the dough into a ball, wrap it snugly with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

On parchment paper or a floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thickness.  If your dough starts to crack, don't sweat it.  Just use your hands to patch it up and re-roll.

Use a 2-1/2 inch round cookie cutter to cut out your biscuits.

Transfer to your cookie sheet and prick with a fork.  Slide them in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden.  These biscuits are supposed to be crispy so if you're usually tempted to take your cookies out early to maintain some chewiness, fight the urge.

Let them cool on a rack while you melt the chocolate chips.

Slather chocolate on one side of the cooled biscuits.

Crunchy, oat-y, mildly sweet and topped with a layer of chocolate.  A simple, delicious treat.

Go on, Prime Minister.  Show us your Pointer Sisters dance while we destroy these chocolate biscuits.

Have a great weekend, you saucy minxes.


  1. Chilling out isnt chilling out without Love Actually, Hugh doing his thang & chocky biscuits..., I totally understand, it crept up on me too and now its just one of my go to movies.

  2. Every time I watch a british feel, I feel bad because I don't have a british accent. Even a fake one like Madonna's.

    These cookies look heavenly. Everything you make looks heavenly. I bet they taste like clouds.

    Oh Alan. Read me the phone book, please, in your sexay voice.

  3. Love this post, love this movie! My husband was watching Sense & Sensibility last weekend with half the same cast and it made me crave Love Actually. Must watch soon and make these to go with.

  4. Did I tweet to you when this was on tv the other week? If not, you have my sincere apologies.

    I developed a personal relationship with these biscuits when I visited Scotland. They kept my pal and I company in the car as we drove through a freakish spring snow storm in the mountains. I like how "healthful" digestive biscuit sounds. Because then I can eat an entire package and not have "cookie" guilt.

  5. Anna - I used to think it was like all of the other romantic comedies. The title kinda throws you off.

    Margie - have you seen the Family Guy bit with Alan Rickman's answering machine?

    breadandputter - thanks! I also watched S&S for the first time last year when I started working my way through Alan Rickman's that one, too.

    Wendi - no but I did see the Waitress tweet so you have my sincere thanks :D I kept telling myself that these were good for my digestive system as I polished off my 5th biscuit.

  6. Not familiar with the movie. Familiar with the biscuits though.

    And if you'll permit me a Debbie Downer moment, I urge you to throw out your Crisco and start just using butter instead. Crisco has partially hydrogenated oils used to soften the fat, increase shelf life, and decrease refrigeration need. But partially hydrogenated oils = trans fats. In 2007 Crisco reformulated their product to contain far less trans fat than before, however "Trans-Fat Free" labels are misleading, because to qualify to put that label on your product all you need is less than .5 g of trans fat *per serving.* So you're still definitely consuming trans fats (which of course is now directly linked to heart disease and cholesterol issues) any time you eat Crisco - thank you FDA for that one. Especially if you're indulging in more than one serving - which I'm sure none of us would EVER do.

    This is true of pretty much any "shortening" - they just about all have hydrogenated oils in them.

    It's just better to use butter and it's fairly easy to convert. For a recipe like this, use a 1 to 1 ratio. Easy peasy. But if you have a recipe that calls for a liquid like water as well as Crisco, don't use as much of the liquid when you use butter. This is cause butter is about 80%/20% fat/water whereas Crisco is 100% fat. Otherwise though you're pretty safe just going 1 to 1.

  7. Liam - I was waiting for you to mention the Crisco :) I rarely ever bake with the stuff (though I keep a canister of it for my working surface when I'm playing with fondant) and this was the first recipe I'd seen in a while that asked for it. Next time I make the biscuits, I'll try going the all-butter route. Hopefully it won't make too much of a difference :)

  8. lord i love that movie, and i actually own. alan rickman is delicious.

    as are these biscuits.

    have you seen the holiday? mercy, i finally saw the appeal in jude law in that movie.

  9. Am I that predictable? lol I suppose so.

    I promise it will taste even better using all butter, too. I have made a lot of things that call for Crisco but used butter instead. I mean how could more butter make it worse? Really now.

  10. Love Actually makes me so happy, it's ridiculous. That scene in the jewelry store is HILARIOUS. And the Pointer Sisters dance! And the little love-struck kid! And chocolate biscuits! Puts me in the mood for the holidays :)

  11. Angry Asian - Lan, don't even get me started on The Holiday. I saw that around the same time I saw Love Actually. "D-I-V-O-R-C-E-D?" "W-I-D-O-W-E-D." Waterworks.

    Liam - haha, not predictable. Knowledgeable. And knowledgeable is powerable.

    Steel City Flan - Yes! And Colin Firth speaking broken Portugese! And the scene with the note cards to Keira Knightly! Waterworks, part two.

  12. I can't believe I HAVEN'T seen Love Actually ugh! It's going on the Netflix queue immediately. I just realized the Rick-Man was Hans Gruber in Die Hard. The chocolate biscuits look delish, Ali. Wish we were house sitting this weekend so we could kill the rest of them haha jk. ;) Love you!

  13. I bow down to you, we should be besties. I love this movie #1 holiday movie FOR SURE

    along with The family stone I am in heaven.

  14. #1: Love Actually is awesome. Nuff said. Definitely a favorite in my family.

    #2: I had "chocolate biscuits" during my first trip to London and immediately feel in love with them. While your recipe looks great, I think if I'm craving them again, I'll just have to go the online purchase route. Sadly, baking from scratch doesn't love me. I would love it to love me, but it just doesn't. :(

  15. Love Actually has been in my holiday movie cycle for awhile now (I sure do love that Liam Neeson), and I'm so glad that you love it too!

    And by the way, Kevin and I do the Alan Rickman answering machine bit (from Family Guy) all the time! I've been so close to leaving that on your voicemail so many times! :)

  16. Manda - next time you and J watch the kids, we'll pay you in chocolate biscuits (or any other baked form of payment.) xo!

    Jennifurla - I just watched the Family Stone again the other night. I have a girl crush on Rachel McAdams. She has nice teeth.

    Stacy - you know, I'm kinda curious about the pre-packaged ones myself. I hear the McVitie ones are yummy.

    Hanny - do you know how thrilled I would be if you left that on my voicemail? Doooo eeet.

  17. Thanks for the shout-out! These biscuits were definitely a labor of love. 6 hours of labor isn't so bad :)

    Although you found these on my garden blog, I have, since posting that recipe, created a separate cooking blog just for my recipes called The Obsessive Chef. Perhaps you will find other goodies there. I see you are a baker so I highly recommend my Awesome Apple Pie! It is made with rum because rum is yum!

  18. yessss... what an amazing post... i might just have to watch it for the 1243th time right now!

  19. I actually love your biscuits. Well done!

  20. Your Thoroughness/Sylvana - thank you again for such a great recipe. I typically box up extras to share with coworkers but husband and I got greedy. Oops. P.S. Now following the Obsessive Chef :D

    Claire - I ordered it through OnDemand on Sunday and watched it twice that day. If I buy the dvd, I may catch up to your 1243 before the new year.

    Lora - thanks!

  21. This is one of my all time favorite movies! I haven't watched it yet this year and forgot entirely about the "good biscuits." Cool recipe! I seriously need to carve out some time to make these as a movie snack :)

  22. Sounds good to me, Ali! Just say when. ;) xoxo