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Nov 22

Chilli chocolate shortbread biscuits

Illustration of chilli chocolate shortbreadsMy new, and possibly all-time, favourite baking book is Warm Bread and Honey Cake by Gaitri Pagrach-Chanddra. My dad gave me a copy of the book about a month ago and I have been reverently working my way through the recipes ever since. Not in consecutive order, I must add. That would be slightly odd.

This chilli biscuit recipe is adapted from Gaitri’s delectable almond shortbread – exceptionally light, crunchy biscuits that will make you want to create an altar in their honour. I have made them twice now in quick succession. The first time topped simply with a blanched almond, and the second time flavoured with rose water as suggested by the author in her recipe introduction. That’s thirty two biscuits, the majority of which have passed my lips. I’m not ashamed. If I end up being airlifted out of my crumb-filled bed by a crane, I will be crying out ‘It was worth it!’.


My bountiful opportunities to pondour the flavour and texture of these little treats led me to wonder what they would be like with a spicy kick. So, I decided to go with the winning combination of chilli and chocolate. Although you do lose the delicate flavours and butteriness of the original, I think this version works exceptionally well with the texture of the biscuit. The chilli is not overpowering. It arrives on your palate slightly delayed so the first stage is chocolately delight followed by a warmth at the back of your throat. Just one word of caution: I have specified grinding dried chillis here. If you choose to use chilli powder check the ingredients first as many of them include garlic, herbs and other spice. Perfect for chilli con carne. Not so nice in a biscuit.

 Recipe: Chilli chocolate shortbread biscuits

  • 125g/4 oz plain flour
  • 25g / 1 oz cornflour
  • 25g / 1 oz cocoa powder
  • ¾ tsp finely ground dried chilli flakes
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 100g / 3 oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 75g / 2 ¾oz icing sugar

Optional ingredients for decoration

  • 50g / 2oz dark chocolate (you will not need all of this but it is easier to work with a larger amount and you can save any excess for another use)
  • edible red glitter, or sparkly red flakes


Sift together the flour, cornflour, cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the salt and chilli powder then mix together with a balloon whisk and set aside.

Beat the butter until creamy then sift in the icing sugar, a little at a time, continuing to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, a little at a time, combining well after each addition until everything comes together into a soft dough.

Preheat the oven to 150°C and line a baking tray with parchment or non-stick liner.

Roll the dough into a sausage shape (split the mixture into two portions if you find it easier to handle).

Using a knife, or dough slicer, cut 16 equally sized portions (use weighing scales if you find it difficult to do this by eye).

Roll each portion into a ball then place onto the baking sheet and flatten into a disc (the disc may crack a bit at this stage but unless it falls apart just leave it be).

Repeat until you have 16 discs then place the tray in the oven and bake for about 20 – 25 minutes.

Leave to cool slightly then transfer to a wire rack – they will become crisp when completely cool.

If decorating the biscuits, melt the chocolate slowly in a bain marie. Transfer the chocolate to a piping bag with a small nozzle and pipe small blobs of chocolate then, if you wish, embellish with some red glitter or suchlike. Alternatively, simply use a teaspoon to drag streaks of chocolate back and forth over the biscuits in Jackson Pollock fashion. Leave the chocolate to set then enjoy!

If you are eager to make shortbread biscuits, but chilli-chocolate is just not your style then here is a traditional melt-in-your-mouth shortbread recipe.

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  1. Traditional Scottish Shortbread » The Hungry Gannet

    [...] If you want to spice things up try my recipe for Chilli Chocolate Shortbread Biscuits. [...]

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