I Baked my Chin-Chin...!

Chin-chin
Funke Koleosho's Baked Chin-chin Recipe
Honestly, I do not quite know the history of chin-chin and where it originates from but I know it is a very popular party snack eaten in one form or the other across West Africa.

I am convinced definitely that chin-chin came as a result of the culinary influence from the West. Wheat flour, the main ingredient of chin-chin, is an import to West Africa, so I imagine that people were looking for new ways to utilise it. One of their gracious inventions is chin-chin.

The fact that it is fried rather than baked could be due to the unavailability of ovens as a domestic appliance way back then.

The name?!....now that is something on which to ponder; not sure where it comes from but it is definitely striking. A mention of chin-chin and you get the picture of short finger-like, brownish strips of fried sugary dough! These days you can find different versions of chin-chin incorporating different spices and flavours such as nutmeg, cinnamon, ground-nuts, ginger, chilli etc. All very exciting.

chin-chin
Funke Koleosho's Baked Chin-chin

I often wonder that, apart from chin-chin, puff-puff, meat-pie pastry and some basic cake recipes, I have not encountered that many wheat flour dishes/recipes in Nigeria (to be specific). There should be a lot more in my opinion, just to offer a breadth of foodie options.

Well, on this occasion, rather than fry my chin-chin the traditional way, I decided to bake it and rather than cut into strips (the traditional shape), I decided to make shapes and make it more relevant and applicable to other eating events rather than just being served as snacks at parties or at home.

I hereby introduce my chin-chin biscuits, chin-chin buns and croissant shaped chin-chin! I know that referring to them as chin-chin will result in a few protests, but I think they should still retain that name because they have been made from chin-chin dough. Serve these as starters, dessert accompaniments or at tea...they are excellent for dunking!

Texture...chin-chin is traditionally made with hard dough so they are quite hard to crunch. In fact, I know people who wont eat them if they are soft. I bore this in mind while experimenting with my new chin-chin creations, and I am pleased to say that they turned out all right. Quite crunchy on the outside with a soft crumbly inside.

I will leave the taste verdict up to you. Try the recipe out and tell me what you think....

Ingredients:

  • 450g of plain wheat flour 
  • 100g of caster sugar (add more or less sugar depending on your preference)
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar cane syrup (this helps to keep the chin-chin crumbly inside) 
  • 150 ml fresh milk 
  • 3 table spoons of vegetable oil 
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 2 teaspoons of baking soda (this will help to aerate the dough and make it less hard) 
  • 1 teaspoon (or more if you prefer) flavourings of choice (I used nutmeg) 
  • Raisins or other dried fruits (optional) 

What to do
  1. Sift the flour to aerate it. Add the sugar and baking powder and mix well. 
  2. In a food processor (or by hand in a large mixing bowl) mix the eggs, flour, and milk. Also add the dried fruits if using, syrup and flavouring. Mix until it turns into a hard dough. 
  3. Remove the dough and place on a board. Knead dough for about 5 minutes and roll using a rolling pin. Sprinkle some flour during this process to ensure easy rolling. Lay flat on the board and cut into your desired shapes using shape cutters. You can also stick to the traditional shape by cutting into strips.
  4. Allow the cut-out dough to rest for about 5-10 minutes then transfer onto a greased baking pan (or rather than greasing the pan use baking paper to line the pan)  and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees. (This will depend on the thickness of your shapes). Check frequently to avoid burning.


chin-chin
Funke Koleosho's Baked Chin-chin


Serve as your starter or dessert accompaniment. Also excellent to serve with tea, coffee or hot chocolate....yes dunking is definitely allowed. Enjoy!


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