Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Ginger and chilli biscuits

Now I’m going to start with a moan: I am fed up with the way chilli is being put into things it has no place being just to be trendy. Maybe it’s me, but I’m yet to taste any chocolate bar that benefits from teaming up with chilli - it always tastes like an unwanted add-on. I don’t like lots of spice with creamy things – it’s a personal choice – I can’t even eat creamy curries. These biscuits have proven to me that chilli in baking can work. I haven’t tried any chilli in cakes so if you have any recipes you think might educate me please share!

The first time I made these biscuits I wondered why they didn’t spread on baking. Then I realised that the idiot making them i.e. me, had left the golden syrup out – but they tasted delicious and looked like domed buttons:

Second time of making I made sure my brain was awake, and added the golden syrup. This created a softer dough that did spread on baking. Just as tasty, but a different look. The golden syrup does diminish the hit of chilli – so if you use it, I’d consider adding more chilli. Here they are made with the syrup:

This recipe appealed to me because I suspected the spice would work really well...and it does. You don’t get a burn of chilli; what you get is delicious enhancement to the gingery fire of the biscuit. This recipe is the way forward for me, as often in the past I’ve put loads of ginger into biscuits to get that burn of spice and it’s been a hit-and-miss affair. This is far simpler – you only put in a little ginger and the tiniest hint of cayenne yet achieve a warmer, rounder flavour.

The biscuits can be made two ways – larger for a soft, chewy cookie (don’t get me started on soft, chewy cookies. I’ll save that rant for another day!) or smaller for a crisp biscuit. I got 50 cherry-sized (they spread on baking) biscuits from the mix. Did someone say, “bargain”?

These biscuits couldn’t be easier to make. The one snag, which could hold you up if you don’t read the recipe in advance, is the chilling time required. It needs to chill for several hours (or overnight) before you roll your biscuits. You need a firm, chilled dough:

Incidentally, it’s National Baking Week this week; I only knew because Tanya from Cooking Fantastic
told me! Was everyone else aware and it’s just me with my eyes and ears closed?

No update from me this weekend as I’m off to enjoy a long weekend with Mr CC.


125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g light muscovado sugar
3 tablespoons golden syrup – you can omit this if you wish and you’ll get a firmer, smaller biscuit
180g self raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
Generous pinch of cayenne pepper – use two pinches if you include the golden syrup
50g stem ginger, cut into tiny pieces – I used the food processor


Cream together the butter and sugar until it is light and well combined.

Add the golden syrup and beat well. (NB. you can omit the syrup for a smaller, firmer biscuit - just as delicious!)

Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ground ginger and cayenne pepper along with the chopped stem ginger and stir well.

Place the dough in a bowl, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/ fan oven 180°C/ 390°F/ gas mark 6.

Line two baking sheets with baking paper.

Take cherry sized balls of dough and roll between your hands. This will give you crisp biscuits; if you want chewy cookies take a walnut sized piece of dough.

Place on a baking sheet leaving approx 2cm between the biscuits. Maybe leave more room if you put golden syrup into the mix.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the biscuits are golden.

Leave to cool, on their trays, as they will be soft at first.

When cool store in an airtight container. They will keep for several days.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have made.



Anonymous said...

Ooh I love the idea of using real chilli in addition to the ginger to add extra kick!

I was aware that it was National Baking Week, but only because I'm slightly baking obsessed :-)

Kezia said...

I agree with you on the subject of chilli and chocolate. Why would anyone want to spoil a lovely bar of chocolate with chilli?
And yes, I was aware that it was National Baking Week (which by the way I think should be lengthened to month, or even year lol) but to me it doesn't really make any difference because I bake quite a lot:)

Enjoy your weekend!

Suelle said...

I totally disagree - I love the chilli and chocolate combination. The best chilli and chocolate cake I've ever made is a Sam Stern recipe available online on the Guardian newspaper site; it adds orange zest too:

I like the sound of these biscuits too - ginger and chilli should compliment each other very well.

Lucy said...

I haven't tried baking with chilli yet because I agree that chocolate and chilli is an unnecessary combination. However, I love the use of chilli here and think that these little biscuits look quite addictive!

Jo said...

This is the kind of biscuit my oldest brother would absolutely love! Unfortunately I'm just not a chilli fan, but teaming it with ginger makes more sense than chocolate (in my brain anyway). Hope you enjoy your long weekend!

Nom! The Indulgent Baking Blog said...

I've tried chilli and chocolate many times...I'm not so sure it works either...I blame the film Chocolat! :) I do love the ginger kick in biscuits so this looks like a winner!

Nom! x

Baking Addict said...

I'm not a fan of the chocolate and chilli combination. I did make white chocolate brownies with chilli recently and they were amazing!! Ginger and chilli sounds like a good combination, I can just imagine the taste of your cookies. Have a great weekend :)

Cakelaw said...

Yum - I am sold!

Step-parent's Cove said...


Maria♥ said...

I feel the same way about chilli being added to things where it just doesn't belong!! These biscuits however look lovely.


Choclette said...

Oh no, don't ban chilli from chocolate. I really like the combination and I really like it in cakes too. In fact this month's We Should Cocoa is all about chilli and chocolate. I do agree with you though about chilli and ginger and your biscuits sound brilliant.

Hope you enjoy your weekend

Mia said...

I really like the chili and chocolate combination, though I think it works better in certain dishes than in others.
I made a chocolate cake (torte, really) that includes black pepper for a nice kick. I thought it sounded awful at first, but it isn't! It would also be good with cayenne instead of black pepper. If you try it, experiment with the amount of pepper you use until you find the balance you like.

forklore said...

How about a chocolate and grated yam combination...?! It's one I experimented with last winter, with unexpectedly mouth-watering results. Let's just say, it goes down well with a healthy glass of wine.

Going downstairs to make this biscuit dough right now. Hope I'll have sufficient will power to wait out the chilling time.

Fuss Free Helen said...

Sounds good. The first thing i really learnt to bake was a ginger biscuit containing syrup.

How could you not know it was NBW? I am astonished that their PR company does not have you on their database!

Maggie said...

I can see the ginger and chilli biscuits would work.
I can't do chilli and chocolate, now there is a drinking chocolate with chilli - yuk!

Sumaiyyah said...

My Dad once bought a pack of instant, 3-in-1 chocolate drink with chilli as an additional flavour, and I never got around to tasting some- I just couldn't find the courage.

I think both versions of the biscuits look lovely, though I like the look of the with the golden syrup better :)

Anonymous said...

I triple heart ginger in sweets! Yum!

g1ggles said...

I made these and put in two teaspoons of Cayenne pepper. We love them