These Romany creams are quick, easy, delicious, homemade, from scratch chocolate coconut biscuits sandwiched together with milk chocolate. A firm favourite in many South African households.
These chocolate coconut creams were developed by Pyotts in 1965, this biscuit was a hit! Everyone loved this crunchy chocolate coconut biscuit.
These biscuits were such a hit that people needed to recreate them in their own homes. In fact, my mom used to regularly bake a batch of Romany creams when it was biscuit baking time. And she used a recipe out of the Kei Road Women's Association Centenary Recipe Book.
Now, the original recipe was okay, but they never particularly tasted like Baker's Romany creams to me. I mean, yes, my mom never sandwiched them together with chocolate, but the overall taste and texture were off. It was a good enough biscuit, but a Romany cream it was not!
Other favourites growing up include condensed milk biscuits and ginger biscuits.
If the Baker's man can...so can I!
Because I already knew the recipe I had was not going to cut it, I needed to improve on it. The first thing I did was read up on the ingredients of the now, Baker’s Romany Cream.
The ingredients that jumped out at me were maize starch (corn starch) and golden syrup. I needed to incorporate these ingredients into my recipe.
Additionally, I could not bloom the cocoa powder as is called for in the Kei Road Recipe Book. Romany Creams have a barely-there cocoa flavour. So, I axed the boiling water. Played around with a few ratios, and added eggs to bind the whole mixture together.
The original recipe also called for dropping spoonfuls of the cookie dough onto the cookie sheet for baking. This gives the biscuits a very rustic look, but I was aiming for a more uniform look. And years of watching YouTube videos on cooking and baking have taught me that sometimes a cookie just has to chill out in the fridge for a bit to be great.
Eureka! I have a Romany Cream!
I mixed up the cookie dough, and even raw it was bringing back memories. I called my partner into the kitchen and we tasted the dough before I wrapped it up for a little stay in the fridge.
Now, before you @ me about the dangers of eating raw cookie dough, I have been eating raw cookie dough and cake batter my whole life. The reward at this point has greatly outweighed the risk.
Then I baked them. My little chocolate coconut delights came out of the oven, onto the cooling rack and we waited. It was agony.
“This is better than the original,” said Dave when I finally allowed him a taster. And I had to agree. I wasn’t breaking my jaw trying to bite into the cookie, and well, a freshly baked cookie is going to knock a mass-produced cookie that has been sitting on a shelf out of the park every time.
What You Need for this Recipe
This biscuit recipe does not require any special ingredients. However, a hand mixer or stand mixer can be used to bring the dough together. A cookie-cutter about 4-5cm big is recommended for cutting out the biscuits. A baking tray with
Butter gives a deliciously rich flavour. However, Baker’s biscuits are made with baking margarine of sorts. I prefer baking with butter, but in this case, margarine will is a perfectly fine substitute.
White or caster sugar is a must in this recipe, as brown sugar will alter the flavour profile, competing with the other ingredients.
Golden syrup is a staple in the Baker’s biscuit line. It’s also a staple in South African, British, Kiwi and Aussie baking. Golden syrup has a light flavour. If you cannot get your hands on golden syrup I would use maple syrup or fructose syrup.
Flour – any plain, all-purpose, standard-grade flour will do. Nothing fancy here.
Corn starch/Maizena adds a lightness to the texture of the biscuit/cookie. Alternatives to corn starch include arrowroot powder, rice flour, or tapioca starch.
Cocoa powder B – a plain old cocoa powder will do. My go-to Cocoa Powders in New Zealand are Cadbury and Nestle.
Desiccated coconut – any sort of unsweetened desiccated coconut will do, the finer the better. I have tried to make this biscuit with shredded coconut, and while they taste just fine, cutting out the biscuits was a bit difficult as the cookie-cutter did not want to cut through the coconut.
Eggs bind the cookie mixture together.
Milk chocolate for sandwiching the biscuits can be substituted with dark chocolate as well as white chocolate. My go-to chocolate in New Zealand is Whittaker's.
Use room temperature ingredients! Using room temperature ingredients ensures that ingredients in the batter or dough will incorporate easier. Take note that room temperature refers to around 20°C/68F.
- To bring eggs to room temperature quickly, place them into warm water for about 10 to 15 minutes.
- To bring butter to room temperature quickly, cut the butter into cubes and zap in the microwave at 20% power in 10-second intervals. Or place the cubes in a bowl over warm water (such as with a double boiler) over low heat for 1 minute!
- Milk, buttermilk, and cream can be brought to room temperature by zapping in the microwave at 20% power in 10-second intervals. Or on a low heat for a minute or two swirling every 10-15 seconds.
Weighing ingredients is more accurate than measuring cups overall, and this is my recommendation for my recipes as they are all developed and tested using grams only. However, I have activated the US customary conversions on the recipe card, these are based on generally accepted conversions. Cups are equal to 236mL/ 8 fluid ounces, tablespoons are 15mL and teaspoons are 5mL.
Measuring cups and spoons are an essential addition to every kitchen! Especially if you don't use a kitchen scale. Invest in a set to ensure you add the correct ingredients for accurate measuring. When in doubt - always use a level spoon or cup measure.
Test the freshness of your baking powder or baking soda (bicarbonate of soda or bread soda) by placing a small amount in some boiling water. If it bubbles and fizzes, it's good to use!
Substituting Plain/All-Purpose/Standard Grade Flour with Self-Raising/Self-Rising Flour: For every ½ teaspoon to 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup/150 grams of plain flour, simply use self-raising flour and leave out the baking powder. For recipes needing more than 1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup (150 grams) - add the additional baking powder per cup.
For this recipe, a direct 1 to 1 substitution of plain flour for self-raising flour will work perfectly.
Salt is a crucial ingredient in all baked goods. I use table salt in all my recipes. One teaspoon of table salt equals 1.5 teaspoons of Morton Kosher Salt equals 2 teaspoons of Diamond Crystal.
Making Romany Creams
Step 1 - Cream together the room temperature butter, sugar, salt and golden syrup. Then add the room temperature egg and mix through until light and fluffy.
Step 2 - Sift in the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and cornstarch. Add in the coconut and mix until just combined.
Step 3 - Place the biscuit dough onto a sheet of cling film or plastic wrap and bring it together into a disc or rectangle, seal tightly and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Step 4 - Liberally flour a clean surface, place the dough on the surface, flour the top of the dough, and roll out until about 0.5cm thick. Cut out rounds or squares about 4-5cm big. Place these rounds back in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
Step 5- Preheat the oven to 170°C/340F. Place the biscuits on a baking tray lined with baking paper about 3cm apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow cooling on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Step 6 - Once the biscuits are completely cool, melt the chocolate. This can be done in the microwave by zapping the chocolate in 20 seconds intervals, stirring well between each interval. Or by placing the chocolate in a glass dish over a saucepan of water (do not let the water touch the glass), and heating over low-medium heat until the chocolate is melted.
Step 7 - Sandwich the biscuits together and allow to set before serving.
Pro Tips for this Recipe
Fan-forced or fan-assisted oven temperature must be decreased by 20°C/25F. Use an oven thermometer to determine the accuracy of your oven dial.
Bakeware: Metal bakeware is superior when it comes to baking biscuits, cookies, brownies, muffins and quick bread, scones, cakes. These heat up and cool down faster than glassware. Glassware is heavier, heats up and cools down slower than metal and is more suited for bread puddings, pies, crisps, crumbles and cobblers.
All my recipes are currently tested at sea level.
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Romany Creams (Crunchy Chocolate Coconut Creams)
- 115 grams butter softened
- 100 grams white sugar
- 20 grams golden syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 125 grams plain or cake flour
- 15 grams corn starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 30 grams cocoa powder
- 50 grams desiccated coconut
- 1 eggs
- 125 grams milk chocolate chips/bar/slab
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Cream together the softened butter, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and golden syrup until combined.115 grams butter, 100 grams white sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ teaspoon salt, 20 grams golden syrup
- Then add the room temperature egg and mix through until light and fluffy.1 eggs
- Sift in the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and cornstarch. Add in the coconut and mix until just combined.125 grams plain or cake flour, 15 grams corn starch, 30 grams cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 50 grams desiccated coconut
- Place the biscuit dough onto a sheet of cling film or plastic wrap and bring it together into a disc or rectangle, seal tightly and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Liberally flour a clean surface, place the dough on the surface, flour the top of the dough, and roll out until about 0.5cm thick. Cut out rounds or squares about 4-5cm big. Place these rounds back in the fridge for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 170°C/340F. Place the biscuits on a baking tray lined with baking paper about 3cm apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Allow cooling on the baking tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
- Bake the cookies for approximately 10 to 12 minutes, checking at the 10-minute mark.
- Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then place them on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once the biscuits are completely cool, melt the chocolate. This can be done in the microwave by zapping the chocolate in 20 seconds intervals, stirring well between each interval. Or by placing the chocolate in a glass dish over a saucepan of water (do not let the water touch the glass), and heating over low-medium heat until the chocolate is melted.125 grams milk chocolate
- Sandwich the biscuits together and allow to set before serving.
Nutrition information is an estimate. If scaling the recipe remember to scale your cook and bakeware accordingly.