Romany Creams are one of the most popular biscuits sold in South Africa. These delicious cookies are crunchy, chocolatey and packed with coconut, and are sandwiched together with melted chocolate for extra decadence. This is how you make them yourself at home.
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Homemade Romany Creams
Who of you can remember a biscuit called Gypsy Creams? They were introduced into the UK in the late 60s / early 70s by McVities but unfortunately went out of production around 2005. These were the ultimate chocolate biscuits, chocolate being used both in the biscuit itself and also in the filling which was used to sandwich two biscuits together.
They were also packed with coconut and were extremely crunchy. They were the perfect biscuit for dunking in a cup of tea.
Fortunately, this biscuit is still baked today in South Africa by a manufacturer called Pyotts, under the name of Romany Creams. Unfortunately, if you don't live in South Africa, you can only buy these biscuits through Amazon, or from your local South African shop, at a price which is less than ideal.
Luckily, I have a recipe for you which will enable you to make these delicious biscuits at home. They are so easy to make that a child could make them. In fact, if you do have a child available you might want to rope them in to help you roll and shape the biscuits. It's the perfect way to keep the youngsters occupied on a cold winter's afternoon.
And if you are looking for a Christmas gift for a homesick South African friend, I'm sure a batch of these biscuits would be highly appreciated!
- Prep time - 30 minutes
- Cooking time - 15 minutes
- Yield - 25 filled cookies
- Calories - 207 per cookie
- Main equipment - a large baking tray (or two) will make quick work of baking these cookies. I use baking parchment to line my tray, but one of these days I'm going to invest in a set of non-stick silicone baking mats instead.
How to make Romany Creams
You can get the full list of ingredients and complete instructions for making Romany Creams on the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
You will only need 5 main ingredients -
- butter - don't use baking margarine, butter gives a much better flavour.
- sugar - you can use either granulated or castor sugar for this recipe. Castor sugar will dissolve more easily into the butter, but with a little extra elbow grease, you will be able to get away with using granulated sugar.
- self-raising flour - if you only have plain flour, just add 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour (or per 140g).
- cocoa powder - it's best to use unsweetened cocoa powder - using sweetened will upset the balance of sweetness in the biscuits.
- desiccated coconut - this is just dried, grated coconut, widely available in the baking section of supermarkets.
You will also need hot water (for the liquid content), and a little salt to taste, which as always with my recipes, is optional.
And of course, the biscuits need to be sandwiched together with melted chocolate, so you will need approximately 150g of Cadbury's Dairy Milk chocolate for the filling. If you prefer you could use Milky Bar or another white chocolate.
Mix the biscuits
- Start off by creaming the butter and sugar together. If you have a food processor or electric hand mixer, this will take seconds. If you don't, then you can just do it the old-fashioned way and use a wooden spoon. It will just take a lot longer. The end result should be a creamy mixture of butter and dissolved sugar (image 1 above).
- Transfer the butter/sugar mixture to a mixing bowl (if you used a food processor) and sift in the flour and cocoa powder (and salt if using) (image 2 above). Don't mix yet!
- Now add the coconut and hot water (image 3 above) and mix with a wooden spoon (or your hands) until you have a dense ball of dough (image 4 above) and all the ingredients are well combined.
Shape and bake
- This is where a child would come in handy. Use a teaspoon to scoop marble-sized pieces of dough. Roll the dough into a small ball and then flatten it into an oval shape, approximately a quarter of an inch thick.
- Don't be tempted to make them larger - the biscuits will be sandwiched together after baking and if you make them too big the finished biscuits will be too large.
- Place the flattened biscuits on a baking tray lined with baking parchment, or a silicone mat (image 1 above). This will prevent the biscuits from sticking to the baking tray. If you don't have either of these, just grease the tray lightly with butter before arranging the biscuits.
- If you like you can make ridges in the biscuits using a large metal fork.
- The biscuits don't spread very much during baking, so you can place them quite close together (about half an inch apart).
- Bake for approximately 15 minutes at 180C/350F until the biscuits are done. The biscuits will be soft when they come out of the oven, but they should crisp and harden on cooling (image 2 above).
Sandwich the biscuits
Once the biscuits have cooled they should be sandwiched together with melted chocolate.
- Break the chocolate into squares and place in the microwave on full power for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and give the chocolate a stir with a spoon (it won't be melted yet). Replace in the microwave and give it another 30 seconds. I found that was sufficient for my 900-watt microwave. If your microwave has a different wattage you may need to adjust the time, but be careful not to over-cook. After the second 30-second burst, heat for 10 seconds at a time until the chocolate is melted.
- You could also put the chocolate into a heat-proof bowl and place it over a pan of boiling water. Stir until melted, but be careful not to allow water to get into the chocolate or it will form lumps that will not melt.
- Sandwich the biscuits together using the melted chocolate.
- If you find some of your biscuits turned out larger than expected, just spread chocolate on one side and let it set. They are just as delicious served single as they are doubled-up.
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How do I store Romany Creams?
Store the cooled biscuits in an air-tight tin. They should remain crisp for up to a week.
Save for later
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Other baking recipes
If you enjoyed these Romany Cream biscuits you may like to try some of my other baking recipes:
- Walnut crescent cookies (vanillekipferl) - a traditional German Christmas cookie with only 4 main ingredients.
- Crispy pistachio butter biscuits - a crispy buttery biscuit with pistachio nuts.
- German bee sting cake - a soft spongy yeast-based cake filled with creme patissiere and topped with honey and almonds.
- Coconut meringue jam tarts - a traditional South African tea-time treat.
- Banana oat cakes - a quick and easy recipe to use up overripe bananas.
- Chocolate chip and brazil nut cookies - a crispy shortbread cookie, packed with chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 8 ounce / 225 grams butter at room temperature
- 1 cup / 200 grams castor sugar
- 1¾ cups / 245 grams plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt optional
- 1½ cups / 150 grams desiccated coconut
- ½ cup / 50 grams cocoa powder
- ½ cup / 125ml hot water
- 6 ounce / 150 grams Cadbury's milk chocolate
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F
- Place the butter and sugar into the bowl of a food processor and blend until creamy. Transfer the creamed butter and sugar to a mixing bowl. See note 1.8 ounce / 225 grams butter, 1 cup / 200 grams castor sugar
- Sieve the flour, salt, baking powder and cocoa into the butter mixture.1¾ cups / 245 grams plain flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, ½ cup / 50 grams cocoa powder, ½ teaspoon salt
- Add the water and coconut½ cup / 125ml hot water, 1½ cups / 150 grams desiccated coconut
- Mix until well combined and all the flour has been incorporated. The mixture should come together into a dense ball.
- Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. This will prevent the cookies from sticking to the trays. See note 2.
- Take a teaspoon of dough, form into a flat oval shape (approximately ¼" thick) and place on the baking tray.
- Place the baking trays in the pre-heated oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookies are done. See note 3.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. The cookies will harden on cooling.
- Melt the chocolate in the microwave and use to sandwich the cookies together. If you prefer you could just drizzle single cookies with chocolate instead. See note 3.6 ounce / 150 grams Cadbury's milk chocolate
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
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