Chili & Chocolate work. The heat of the chili brings out that smokiness of chocolate and all those other flavour notes you don’t usually notice when you’re chowing down on your favourite bar. In these biscuits the chili added a delicate warmth that is pleasant, but not overwhelming. Actually a few people who tried these couldn’t even taste the chili (although one of them has asked me if I’d like to try his ghost-chili hot sauce!) Also, I gave one of these to my daughter (she’s not even two) and she didn’t even flinch, so next time I’ll be adding a little bit more.
I’ve used old-skool chocolate icing for these - I was going to use tempered chocolate or ganache… but I thought ‘what’s wrong with icing?’. The good ol’ icing you used to get on little patty cakes your mum used to make back in the 80’s. Or even better – the icing mum used to make, for us to ice the back of Arnott’s Arrowroot Biscuits and make Funny Faces with smarties and liquorice allsorts. Ah, those were the days. The icing really is quite fantastic. It dries nice and hard and if you use a good whack of good quality cocoa it’s just as good as chocolate itself.
60g Caster Sugar
175g Plain Flour
1tsp Chili flakes (but I’ll crank it up to about 2 teaspoons next time!)
1. Put the chili flakes in a mortar and pestle and grind them up, then add the sugar and grind your little heart out until the sugar is tainted with the chili colour.
2. Cream the butter and chili sugar together until fluffy
3. Add the flour and mix until it looks like this. Then sprinkle in about a tablespoon or so of water (slowly) while kneading it with your hands. Knead it until it comes together into a ball
4. Roll it out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. Cut out your shapes and place on a baking sheet.
5. Gather up all the cut-off pastry bits and roll it out again and cut, and roll out and cut until it’s all used up.
6. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees for about 15 minutes or until lightly coloured. Let cool.
1 1/4 cups pure icing sugar
1tsp lemon juice
1 egg white
1/4 cup the best cocoa you can afford (My sister brought home THE best cocoa I’ve ever tasted from a holiday in Bali – off a farm they visited. It was so fresh and of such high quality it actually tastes fruity. One day I’ll go there and import 11 kilos of the stuff, all for myself.)
Extra milk, if needed
1. Whisk the egg white and lemon juice until just frothy
2. Combine the cocoa and icing sugar in a seive and shake over the wet ingredients. Combine slowly until you have a smooth, lump-free paste. If it gets too thick add a couple of drops of milk to loosen the mixture. It needs to be quite thick, but still spreadable.
3. Scoop it up with a spatula and place in a ziplock bag (or a piping bag), seal the bag and snip the tiniest corner from the bag with scissors
4. Use the bag to pipe pretty squiggles across the biscuits
(see how I slowly got the hang of it as I went along?)
5. Let them rest for a few hours until dry, keep in an airtight container or tin.
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