Fennel and Chilli Thins

I felt a little guilty for ignoring my good friend cheese in my more recent bakes, but thankfully these biscuits bring it back with vengeance. I would describe these fennel or chilli thins as crackers with a bite of spice. I cut them into slightly off-triangles on a mere whim, and then spent ages chuckling because I could call them fennel and chilli ‘fins’. You could cut them into any shape you like, however. Slightly smaller biscuits would make lovely nibbles for the start of a dinner party, or larger rounds for after dinner cheese. I would recommend eating them with a light, crumbly cheese, like Lancashire or Wensleydale.

100g unsalted butter
100g plain flour
100g wholemeal flour
pinch of salt
100g parmesan
1 tablespoon of fennel
1 tablespoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon of nigella seeds (optional- mostly for extra crunch)
3-4 tablespoons water
1 egg

1. The first thing I like about these biscuits is they are wonderfully easy to make. Firstly, line two baking trays with parchment before your hands get messy.

2. Chop the butter into cubes, then add to the two types of flour. Rub the butter into the flour with the ends of your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs and there are no lumps of butter left. This is much easier if you have a food processor, but unfortunately I don’t.

3. Add the salt, fennel seeds, chilli flakes (and nigella seeds if you like), and mix through thoroughly. Then add the parmesan grated finely.

4. The water can be added a bit at a time, until the mixture can be brought together into a dough, with no excess flour left in the bottom.  The amount I gave was only an approximation so don’t feel obliged to add it all…nobody likes a soggy cracker, it completely defeats the point of the crack.

5. Chill for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200•C.

6. Roll out to be uniformly about 3mm in thickness, or thinner if possible. Cut out your desired shapes and place them on the oven tray.

chilli and fennel thins1
7. Brush the tops lightly with some beaten egg.

8. If they are roughly the size of a cracker, bake for 12-15 minutes. If you’ve cut them into more crisp-sized shapes they may need baking for a little less time.


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