5 Spice Biscuits – gluten-free, vegan with a fab crunch

  • Chinese five spice biscuits #glutenfree #vegan and sweetened naturally with maple syrup

Crunch! A delectably delicious crunch! That’s what I love about making this type of biscuit.

This version has a spicy kick with my homemade Chinese Five Spice blend being the star of the show. You take a bite (and after the thrill of that crunch) you go on a bit of an adventure. You sort of think ‘oh yes I can taste the star anise – or is it the fennel – yep there’s the cinnamon popping through’ and then before you know it, the deeper layers of the pepper and cloves weave their way onto your taste buds.

Or else none of that happens and you remain in a mysterious bliss just saying something like hmmmm, wow, I am not sure what spices I can taste here, but I like it’.

I thought I’d do a bit of a step-by-step visual with these (below). Gluten-free, vegan baking is easy once you know how. Gluten-free flours work a little differently to regular wheat or glutenous flours. They love to work in unison with a combination of different flours to bring out the best in each other. (Haha – how many times can I say ‘flour’ in one paragraph!)

In this recipe, I’ve used my favourite rice flour and tapioca flour (available in good health food stores). Instead of tapioca flour, you can even use tapioca starch (and to be honest in England, where I currently live the tapioca ‘flour’ that I buy is more like tapioca starch anyway) or yucca flour.

Add maple syrup to sweeten and the effect is a light, crunchy, slightly melt-in-the-mouth affair.

Chinese five spice biscuits #glutenfree #vegan and sweetened naturally with maple syrup

OK, the first step in this recipe is to mix the ingredients together and create a lovely sort of dough ball.

Once you’ve done that you want to lightly sprinkle some extra rice flour from your packet over the surface that you are going to roll on.

Chinese five spice biscuits #glutenfree #vegan and sweetened naturally with maple syrup

You will need a rolling pin.

However… I have worked on retreats before abroad, finding that there is no rolling pin in the kitchen. In which case I would find something else, like a round, flat surfaced jar. Otherwise, I would simply just press the dough out evenly with my hands (maybe making it a little thicker than I would if I could actually roll it).

So then we’ll pop your dough on to the surface ready for rolling (or pressing). Then we roll it out. Gluten-free flour doesn’t have the elasticity that wheat flour does, so if you get cracks at any time, it’s easy – just press it back together with your fingers…

Chinese five spice biscuits #glutenfree #vegan and sweetened naturally with maple syrup

And then if the dough starts sticking to the rolling pin, simply sprinkle a little bit of rice flour on top and then continue to roll.

You need to keep turning the dough so that you roll it evenly. It shouldn’t fall apart unless it starts sticking to the surface (in which case push the dough back together and sprinkle a little more rice flour on your rolling surface)… You want to get it as thin as you can (about a half a centimetre if possible – but if that’s tricky just go with what you can do and they’ll be fine).

Chinese five spice biscuits #glutenfree #vegan and sweetened naturally with maple syrup

Then use either a cookie cutter or the open end of a glass jar and cut out as many rounds as you can.

Once you are finished with that, press the rest back together and roll out again. Cut more rounds. Take the last lot of unrolled dough; press it back together; roll out and then just cut squares or triangles with it.

Chinese five spice biscuits #glutenfree #vegan and sweetened naturally with maple syrup

Pop all of your biscuits onto a baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 15 to 18 minutes at gas mark 4 (350F or 175C) and then take out to cool on a baking tray…

Easy!

Oh yes, one last thing. I used homemade my Chinese Five Spice recipe for this. If you would like to know how to make your own, then hop over to my 5 Spice page here for my formula. Alternatively just use a pre-ground shop version and it’ll still work a treat.

Homemade chinese 5 spice mic recipe with star anise, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves and fennel

Yield: 12 biscuits

5 Spice Biscuits - gluten-free, vegan with a fab crunch

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Crunchy gluten-free vegan Chinese 5 Spice biscuits, naturally sweetened with maple syrup. Using rice and tapioca flours.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 75g rice flour (approximately 3/4 cup)
  • 75g tapioca flour (approximately 2/3 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese 5 spice powder
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Melt the coconut oil.
  • Measure the flours and mix together.
  • Add the flours, 5 spice, coconut oil maple syrup and vanilla altogether in a mixing bowl until you get a nice dough ball. I start off using a spoon and then quickly move to using my hands, which is easier.
  • You will need a rolling pin (or if you don't have one use a large flat surfaced jar). Otherwise, you can actually simply just press the dough out evenly with your hands (maybe making it a little thicker than you would if you could roll it).
  • So then we'll pop your dough on to the surface that you've lightly sprinkled with rice flour ready for rolling (or pressing). Roll it out. Gluten-free flour doesn't have the elasticity that wheat flour does, so if you get cracks at any time, it's easy - just press it back together with your fingers.
  • Roll and then turn the whole dough 90 degrees and keep repeating to get it more even.
  • If the dough starts sticking to the rolling pin, simply sprinkle a little bit of rice flour on top of your dough and then continue to roll.
  • It shouldn't fall apart unless it starts sticking to the worktop surface (in which case push the dough back together and sprinkle a little more rice flour on your rolling surface)... You want to get it as thin as you can (about a half a centimetre if possible - but if that's tricky just go with what you can do and the biscuits will be fine).
  • Then use either a cookie cutter or the open end of a glass jar and cut out as many rounds as you can. Pop all of your biscuits onto a baking tray.
  • Once you've cut out as many as you can, press the rest of the dough back together and roll out again. Cut more rounds. Finally, take the last lot of unrolled dough; press it back together; roll out and then just cut squares or triangles with it (gets a bit tricky to use the cookie cutter with the last bit).
  • Bake in a pre-heated oven on a medium shelf for about 15 to 18 minutes at gas mark 4 (350F or 175C) and then take out to cool on a baking tray.
  • Once cooled, enjoy!
  • Pin for later…

    Chinese five spice biscuits #glutenfree #vegan and sweetened naturally with maple syrup

     

     

     

     

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