Day 4 of Vegan MoFo is dedicated to “weird food combos”. I don’t know if this one counts as super weird, certainly it’s not too uncommon in the food blogging world, but out in the real world? People definitely think of it as kinda weird. For instance, my husband took these to his work to share around and everyone got a surprise when the taste hit them!
Yes, it’s chilli and chocolate. I first tried the “chilli chocolate” combo a very long time ago, on a childhood visit to the (very unvegan) Cadbury’s world. They had an exhibit about the origins of chocolate, and had taster cups of an old Aztec spicy hot chocolate. I didn’t really think much of it, I don’t think. But then, years later, I discovered the PPK and Isa’s wonderful Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles which probably rank as one of my favourite cookies ever. I decided I really love the spicy/sweet combo of chillies and chocolate.
It isn’t as uncommon as it used to be though, so I wanted to do something different. Not just a cocoa-cinnamon-chilli cookie – I wanted it to be my own. So I adapted my shortbread recipe to include cayenne pepper, and baked the shortbread into fingers.
Then, I dipped them in melted chocolate…
and added a flake of candied chilli on top. Yeah, candied chilli! Actually, it wasn’t as hard work as it sounds. I was surprised at how easy it was to candy chillies, and it not only left me with tasty candied chillies but a nice batch of spicy sugar syrup.
Slice the chillies into batons
Boil in a roughly 1:1 sugar/water solution for 20 minutes
Spread on a baking tray, and bake at 90C/195F for 1 hour until crisp
You end up with delicious – and secretly spicy – chocolate dipped shortbread!
Chilli Chocolate Shortbread
- For the Shortbread
- 300g plain flour
- 200g vegan butter
- 110g sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50g cornflour
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- Pinch salt
- 3 large red chillies, sliced into batons
- 200g sugar
- 250ml water
- 300g dark chocolate
For the Chillies
For the chocolate topping:
- Preheat the oven to 170C/340F
- Cream together the butter and sugar and add the vanilla.
- Sift in the flour, cornflour, salt and cayenne, and mix until a dough forms.
- Roll the dough until roughly half a centimetre thick, and slice into rectangles.
- Place on a baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven for 12-18 minutes, until golden brown.
- Leave the cookies to cool completely while you make the chillies. Let the oven cool as it needs to be at 90C/195F to cook the chillies.
- In a saucepan over a low heat, dissolve the sugar in the water.
- Add the chilli batons, cover, and cook for 20 minutes.
- Drain (keep the liquid for a spicy syrup!), and spread onto a lined baking sheet, making sure they are evenly spread.
- Bake in the oven for 1 hour, until chillies are crisp.
- To assemble the cookies, melt the chocolate. I did this in a bowl over a saucepan of hot water, rather than in the microwave, because it allows the chocolate to stay warm whilst you coat the cookies.
- One biscuit at a time, dip one end into the chocolate and, using a knife, smooth it until half of the biscuit is covered.
- Place on plate, and decorate with a piece of the candied chilli (the chillies will snap into small pieces easily).
- Dip all the biscuits in the chocolate and put a piece of chilli on each.
- Leave to cool in the fridge until the chocolate is set.