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McVitie’s Caramel Big-gestive

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Just as a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a journey of a real pimp begins with a normal snack. This one began with the favourite biscuit of my friends and me: the McVitie’s Caramel Digestive! Surely, until this pimp, no lovelier biscuit had been made?

While some people may celebrate the end of their long and gruelling exam period by going out and getting pissed, we decided that 11 in the morning wasn’t a suitable time for excessive alcohol, and so attempted a grand project instead; the pimpin’ bikkit!

The biscuit, handily, is made of 3 separate layers: the bikkit, the caramel and the chocolate. Before grabbing any cooking implements, we first had to have a plan. The chocolate was going to be easy to do, for the caramel we decided to melt (like chocolate) Werther’s Chewy Toffees, (though actually these toffees were a bit hard – if anyone wants to attempt this pimp, we recommend using some slightly softer toffees). For the digestive biscuit base, although we toyed with the idea of using crushed up digestives, we thought it best to bake a proper biscuit base.

Therefore, armed with a recipe, some money, and a braincell between the three of us, we headed with all alacrity to the nearest Tesco!

We bought:

– 500g bag of wholemeal plain flour (estimated cost: £0.30)
– 500g bag of caster sugar (we used 125g, but the est. cost for the whole bag is £0.55)
– 250g of butter (est. cost £0.90)
– 10 eggs (we used 3½, but fried the rest for breakfast, we recommend doing the same. Est. cost for the lot: £1.75)
– 1 pack of McVitie’s Caramel Digestives, for comparison (est. cost: £1.10)
– 3 packs of Werther’s Chewy Toffees (est. cost: £2.64)
– 4 * 200g bar of Tesco Milk Chocolate (est. cost: £1.92)

We also used a teaspoon of baking powder, but stole that from our kitchen, as well as a Bon Jovi CD, Red Hot Chilli Peppers CD and a Keane CD for some background music.

Here’s our initial ingredients:

Total estimated cost: £9.16

We set to work, following the recipe, which required us to sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl. However, this was taking a while, so we sodded that idea:

Having added the sugar and butter, we then rubbed it into breadcrumb-like consistency. You know what they say, 4 hands are better than 2.

We added 3 small eggs, and then mixed it all together, but found it wasn’t quite sticky enough. This required some on-the-spot thinking, and we ended up adding half an egg, to get it to the right stickiness. If we’d been organised we would have fried the remaining half to eat, but weren’t, and just binned it. Anyway, after mixing it all up, we prepared to roll it!

We then rolled it out to about ¾ of an inch in thickness, amazingly without getting it stuck to the rolling pin! To get a circle, we took the largest bowl we could find, and placed it upside down on the rolled-out dough, and cut around it.

Then we faced a problem; how to transfer this overgrown monstrosity (I use the word in the nicest possible sense) from the table to the baking tray, without damaging the shape? At first we tried to slide the tray underneath the biscuit…but this wasn’t possible, as we realised that once on the tray, it didn’t slide too well. In the end, we just had to lift the whole thing, but thankfully, it stayed together. Hurrah!

Next, our expert artist demonstrated his prowess, by crafting the design of the original biscuit, onto our recreation. The holes were made with a chopstick, and the writing and design with a knife (using both ends).

And here’s the comparison between our version and the original:

Then, into the oven (at 180°C), for… a while. The recipe said 12-15 minutes, but that was for considerably smaller digestive biscuits. We just kept on looking at and prodding ours. It was done… eventually.

However, I think it turned out a success, despite the long baking time.

We weren’t completely idle in this time though, and got to work at unwrapping the toffees. You know what they say; many hands make light work.

And then the toffees were melted, as if chocolate. However, we found that the toffee never really got too soft – the Werther’s toffees are probably a bit too hard, if you try this, we’d suggest using Tesco’s own Dairy Toffees, or similar, here’s a nice shot of it going ‘gloop’ (this is a highly technical pimpin’-term – don’t worry if you don’t understand it):

However, at last it was soft enough to try and put on the biscuit. However, this proved somewhat harder than we thought, as the outside would set fairly quickly, and it seemed rather averse to running. Indeed, it proved impossible to spread with a knife, so in the end we just had to ‘squidge’ it down with thumbs and fingers. This proved highly amusing when one of us, talking on their mobile while squidging it down, put his fingers in some rather hot toffee, and emitted shrieks of pain. We regret that for this reason we cannot claim that no animals were harmed during the making of this biscuit.

Anyway, eventually we got all the toffee down.

Then we faced a new problem; how to get the lined patterns on the giant biscuit. We were at rather a loss as to how to do this – engraving them on after wouldn’t give the right texture, and they were rather funnily-shaped. In the end we settled on laying kebab sticks in lines across the biscuit, so we could pour on the melted chocolate, and then remove the sticks, to give a criss-crossing texture, although it wouldn’t be wavy.

So, we made a nice little set up:

However, when it came to pouring them on, we discovered a slight flaw in our master plan: the sticks moved! Chocolate was rather viscous, and pouring it over the sticks just forced the sticks out of the way, most unfortunately. With a bit of quick thinking, however, we decided to just use a stick and dip it in the chocolate on the biscuit and then lift it out, to give the texture. Ok, not quite such an elegant solution, but it worked.

Finally, our work was almost complete, all that remained was to stick in the fridge, and then devour it. And of course, we had to compare it to the original biscuit!

With some rudimentary measurements……we found it was 5 times the diameter of a normal caramel digestive. Using a set of scales, we discovered it to be a whopping 1.45 kilograms, 75 times the weight of a normal caramel digestive. Compare:

So, with much eating and scoffing later, we can give you the cross-section!

Happy pimpin’!


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