Abernethy biscuit

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Abernethy biscuit
Course Dessert
Place of origin Scotland
Region or state Edinburgh, Lewis, Shetland
Creator John Abernethy
Main ingredients Hardtack, sugar, caraway seeds
Cookbook:Abernethy biscuit  Abernethy biscuit

The Abernethy biscuit was invented by Scottish doctor John Abernethy in the 18th century as a digestive improver and hence aid to health.[1]

Abernethy believed that most diseases were due to disorders in digestion. In creating his biscuit, Abernethy was following in the footsteps of other medical practitioners, including William Oliver of Bath, Somerset (invented the Bath Oliver) and American preacher come nutrition guru Sylvester Graham (invented the Graham cracker).[2]

The Abernethy biscuit is an adaptation of the plain captain’s biscuit or hardtack, with the added ingredients of sugar (for energy), and caraway seeds because of their reputation for having a carminative effect[3] and thus being beneficial in digestive disorders. The biscuit is a cross between an all butter biscuit and a shortcake, raising through use of ammonium bicarbonate.[4] According to The Oxford Companion to Food, a baker at a shop where Abernethy usually took lunch created the new biscuit at Abernethy's suggestion and subsequently named it after him.[5]

Abernethy biscuits remain popular in Scotland. They are manufactured commercially by Simmers (Edinburgh), Walls Bakeries (Shetland Islands), and by Stag Bakeries (Isle of Lewis).[6]

Sample ingredient list[edit]

The following are ingredients:[citation needed]


  1. ^ Laura Halpin Rinsky; Glenn Rinsky (2009). The Pastry Chef's Companion: A Comprehensive Resource Guide for the Baking and Pastry Professional. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons. p. 1. ISBN 0-470-00955-1. OCLC 173182689. 
  2. ^ "Abernethy biscuit". theoldfoodie.com. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  3. ^ Prosper Montagné (1961). Larousse Gastronomique: The Encyclopedia of Food, Wine & Cookery. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc. pp. 209–210. 
  4. ^ "Abernethy biscuit". nicecupofteaandasitdown.com. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  5. ^ Alan Davidson (2006). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 78. ISBN 0-19-280681-5. 
  6. ^ "Abernethy biscuit". bakersandlarners.co.uk. Archived from the original on 11 February 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-14.