chilli ginger biscuits with extra spice oomph

chilli and ginger biscuits
"One of the minor pleasures in life is to be slightly ill,” said Harold Nicolson, diplomat, politician, writer and husband of Vita Sackville-West. I can only agree. When I have been feeling slightly under the weather, there is nothing I like so much as retreating to my cave (or under the duvet), much like a hibernating bear. Of course, unlike the bear, I still feel a need to eat, even if I cannot taste too much.

In this situation, I will fall back to three options. The first is a return to childhood, with a lightly boiled egg mashed up in a cup with lashings of butter, served with marmite soldiers. Curled up in front of the television and being scared witless by Dr. Who and assorted Daleks and Cybermen is of course optional.

The second resort is to soothing comfort food such as macaroni cheese or cottage pie. This is probably still related to favourite childhood food, but it is soft food that doesn't hurt my delicate, sore throat. (fFeeble cough, cough, cough).

Lastly, I will always reach for the chillies. Again perhaps a relic of my childhood in the Far East, but more likely that over the years I have discovered that chillies are something of a cure-all - a bit like the Victorians' attitude to goose grease, although in my case, chillies actually work. There is nothing like a bowl of chilli noodles or a spicy curry to chase the cold doldrums away.
In the past two weeks, recovering from the cold-from-hell, my taste buds are slowly returning. I have been eating a lot of chilli and a lot of noodles. I also have a craving for something sweet. These chilli and ginger biscuits feed that need.

Makes about 25 to 30
Skill level: Easy


225g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp sweet curry powder (I make my own, which is 
fragrant with aniseed flavours of star anise and fennel seeds but you could use a Malay curry spice mix)
80g crystallised ginger, finely chopped
a pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C / Gas Mark 4.
  2. Line 1 or 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
  3. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and spices in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Add the butter and rub into the flour with your fingers until you get a texture like breadcrumbs.
  5. Add the syrup, sugar and 60 grammes of the crystallised ginger. Mix well until the mixture becomes a soft dough.
  6. Form the biscuits by scooping out about 1 tablespoon of dough and forming a ball. If you hands are slightly wet, it is easy to form the dough into balls.
  7. Space the dough balls out on the baking sheets. Make sure that the biscuits are spaced well apart on the baking trays as the will spread in the oven.
  8. Sprinkle over the remainder to the crystallised ginger and a few chilli flakes.
  9. Flatten with the heel of your hand, the base of a jam jar or even the back of a fork.
  10. Chill the biscuits for about 10 minutes before baking.
  11. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes and leave to cool on a wire baking rack. They will harden up as they cool.


  • An ice cream scoop is a good tool for scooping out the uncooked dough.

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