Tasty, bite-sized, addictive, crispy… these are some of the words I use to describe this decadent snack that owes its origin to West Africa. If you have ever wondered how to make oven-baked chin chin yourself, you will find a simple step-by-step guide below.
Be warned once you make chin chins at home, everyone in your household will be left demanding for more! Enjoy!
My oven-baked soft chin chins are super soft and perfectly seasoned to make your breakfast or mid-morning extra special.
What is Chin Chin?
Nigeria’s food culture is one of the most vibrant and diverse in the world, which means that its cuisine is also one of the greatest. You can’t mention Nigeria without mentioning it’s food.
Chin Chin are small cookies that are delicious, crumbly and sweet. They are very popular in West Africa, especially Nigeria where they originate from.
It is a great accompaniment to western-style breakfast or as a snack any time of the day.
In Nigeria, you will find Chin Chin in street stalls and markets everywhere. You can purchase them for as little as 50 Naira per Kilo (less than 1 pound)!…
I have been making this super delicious yam flour snack for my family and they love it.
The secret to great Chin Chin is to know how to make the dough correctly, how to deep fry them, and also baking them.
Flour: The flour provides the structure to the Chin Chin and holds the ingredients together.
Sugar: Sugar provides flavor to the Chin Chin; it also caramelizes when deep-fried which gives the finished chin chin a delicious crunch.
Salt: Salt makes the flavors of the spices really shine.
Baking Powder: Baking powder creates carbon dioxide bubbles that aerate and puff up the Chin Chin, thus making them soft and fluffy.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg is the secret ingredient to making really good chin chin. It is a very common spice in Nigerian cooking and gives dishes an aromatic, spicy flavor that cannot be compared with anything else.
Butter: Butter gives the chin chin a rich and luxurious flavor that cannot be replicated with oil.
Spices: Spices such as ground chili, black pepper and curry powder give the Chin Chin an added bite and warmth…
Eggs: Eggs provide structure and make the dough very easy to work with. Also, eggs bind all ingredients together in order to form yummy delicacies!
Vanilla: Vanilla flavors the chin chin and adds a wonderful fragrance.
Milk or Water: Milk is used for making the dough. It makes the chin chin moist and when it is baked, it caramelizes slightly, giving it a delicious flavor. You can also use Water instead of Milk if you wish.
There are endless ways of preparing oven-baked Chin Chin, but let me give you an overview of my favorite variations below. After preparing them once or twice, feel free to adapt the recipe to your own desire.
For example, you can play around with the spices. There are different adaptations to this snack depending on the country it’s made in. In any case, our variations are going to be somewhat healthy because we will be baking instead of deep-frying.
Chocolate: If you love chocolate as much as I do, you will love this! Add 4-5 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the mix and make sure you add more sugar as well.
Coconut: Add 4 tablespoons of Desiccated Coconut to the dough and make sure you use more sugar as well. This is probably my favorite; it’s like eating coconut cake, only better…
Nutella: Add 1-2 tablespoons of Nutella to the dough and make sure you use more sugar as well. This is also a wonderful variation if you love nuts in your chin chin.
Peanut Butter: I am a huge fan of anything with peanut butter! Add 3 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter to the dough and make sure you use more sugar as well.
Chocolate Cinnamon: Add 2-3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1 tablespoon nutmeg to the dough and make sure you use more sugar as well.
Coffee: Preferably instant coffee, add 1 tablespoon to the dough and make sure you use more sugar as well. This creates a slightly bitter but wonderfully fragrant chin chin that is perfect for those who love coffee…
Oreo: Add 4-5 crushed Oreos cookies into the mix and make sure you use more sugar as well.
Almond Butter: Add 1/4 cup of almond butter to the dough and make sure you use more sugar as well. This variation is very crunchy and chewy which makes it extra special…
Pecan Butter: Add 1/4 cup of Pecan Butter to the dough and make sure you use more sugar as well. This variation is also very crunchy and chewy but with a twist of sweet, nutty flavor…
Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan Butter: A combination of all the above variations! Add 2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon nutmeg, and 1/4 cup Pecan Butter to the dough, and make sure you use more sugar as well.
Spicy: I like adding lots of ground chili to my Chin Chin dough which gives it a wonderful bite.
Nutty: This is one of my favorite ways to make Chin Chin and it provides a wonderful alternative to the classic, sweet version. I like adding peanut butter and cashews to my dough which gives the chin chin a slight crunch that is simply heavenly!
Sugar-Free: If you are on a sugar-free diet, this is perfect for you. Prepare the dough as instructed and instead of adding sugar to it, add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 4-5 tablespoons of desiccated coconut. This version has a slightly bitter flavor which can be a bit too intense for those who do not have a sweet tooth, but if you love dark chocolate, this will be just perfect!
I cannot wait for you to try all these variations; I’m sure you will fall in love with oven-baked Chin Chin as much as I have! Should you try any of the above variations, please send me your feedback.
If you have a baking spray at home, you can use it to grease the baking trays instead of oil.
If you find that your Chin Chin still have a raw center after baking, simply add a piece of aluminum foil over the top and continue baking for another 5 minutes.
Depending on the size of your oven, you might need to bake your Chin Chin in batches. Make sure you always keep an eye on them because oven temperatures vary!
Frying vs Baking
I often get asked whether I prefer to fry or bake my Chin Chin. Let me make something clear; Chin Chin tastes like heaven regardless of how it’s cooked. However, knowing what ingredients are inside your food greatly influences your overall health and wellbeing. I always prefer to cook my food without adding too much oil if I can help it which is why I enjoy baking my chin chin instead of deep-frying it. However, if you prefer to deep-fry them, please check out my other Chin Chin recipe. Alternatively, you can use an Air Fryer which still requires you to place your chin chin in a pan, but this way you will need no added oil.
How to use an Air Fryer for Chin Chin
To prepare Chin Chin in an Air Fryer, please follow the instructions below:
1. Pre-heat the air fryer to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. Using a silicon pastry brush, apply a little bit of Coconut Oil on both sides of the chin chin. The oil helps prevent them from sticking to one another plus it makes them extra crunchy!
3. Make sure you place each chin chin piece in a different compartment of the air fryer. This way they will not stick to one another and they will cook evenly.
4. Air-fry for 4 minutes or until crispy.
5. Remove from the air fryer, allow them to cool off for 1 minute before serving…
Additional Tip for using an Air Fryer:
The best way to monitor the cooking process and prevent your chin chin from sticking together is this: Leave enough room between each piece so you are able to see the shape of each Chin Chin. This way, even if they start sticking together or they get too dark, it will be easy for you to remove them from the air fryer.
How to store oven-baked Chin Chin
In order to keep the Chin Chin fresh for as long as possible, make sure it is stored in an air-tight container. The Chin Chin will last for 2-3 days at room temperature or if you would like to keep it fresh for 4-5 days, store them in the refrigerator. Another way to preserve it is to freeze the Chin Chin. If you decide to freeze them, make sure you eat them within 1 month.
More delicious African snacks
- Puff Puff
- Chin Chin
- Banana Puff Puff
HOW TO MAKE OVEN-BAKED CHIN CHIN
- 4 3/4 Cup flour
- ¾ Cup Sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 2 Small eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Cup milk or water + 2 tablespoons
- Preheat the oven to 160°C / 320°F.
- Mix all dry ingredients; flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and nutmeg together.
- Then mix milk, egg and vanilla liquid together in a separate bowl and put it aside.
- Add the butter into the dry ingredients and mix it with your hands until both are well mixed up.
- Then add the milk, egg, vanilla extract mixture into the dry ingredients and mix it well together.
- Make sure to knead the dough on a floured surface and add more flour if needed until the dough is smooth.
- Take half of the dough and start rolling it out until it is 1/5 – 1/6 inches thick and start to cut your desired shape. There are many different ways to cut chin chin, which vary in size and shape. In my view, the oven-baked chin chin come out best when they are a little bit bigger than the fried ones.
- Use a pizza knife to get the best result or a sharp knife.
- Put the pieces on oiled oven sheets and sprinkle some oil on top of them. Then, put them in the oven for around 15- 20minutes. While baking, check a few times to see if the color turns into a light golden brown.
- Take them out and enjoy.