How does a recipe get its name? To many South Africans, “Romany creams” conjures up images of chocolate-coconut biscuits (cookies, in America!) sandwiched together with rich milk chocolate.
But, where did the name originate?
In the mid-1960s, Pyotts collaborated with Cadburys Chocolates in Port Elizabeth to produce a chocolately variation of a traditional English treat known as “Gypsy creams”, which consisted of two round-topped biscuits sandwiched together with a creamy white filling. Do you remember seeing Gypsy creams in South Africa?
Today, the familiar Pyotts logo on Romany creams has been replaced by Bakers. The range of flavors has expanded and packaging has changed, but the original Romany creams are to me, still the best.
Below is a quick and easy recipe, using basic ingredients, that gives a product pretty close to what I remember as being the perfect Romany cream.
As we are coming up for Valentine’s Day, I made a batch of hearts as well. Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!!
- 1 stick (4 ounces) butter
- ¾ cup sugar
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, mixed with
- 2 tablespoons hot water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 3½-ounce slab Cadbury’s milk chocolate
- Cream the butter, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Mix in the cocoa and vanilla.
- Add the coconut, flour and baking powder and mix until the dough comes together. If necessary, add a few more drops of water, but keep the dough stiff.
- Shape into 36 balls, flatten with a fork, and arrange on a large baking sheet.
- Bake at 350˚F for about 15 minutes. The biscuits will harden as they cool down.
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl or double boiler over boing water (or microwave on low heat, stirring frequently) and sandwich the biscuits together with the molten chocolate once the biscuits have cooled to room temperature.
For daintier cookies, make the balls slightly smaller.