Baking Days

This weekend, I wanted to bake. The whole purpose of having this weekend was to bake in it. If I had not done baking, it would have been a wasted weekend. Unfortunately I don’t have much in the way of a baking cupboard, so aside from butter, flour and sugar for cake making I didn’t have any of the required ingredients for today’s baking. So I went to Morrisons and accidentally spent ¬£30 on baking supplies and a box of cheerios (and bread and fruit). Ah well, it’s an investment for future baking, right? Yes.

Anyway, today I am going to show you how to make chocolate tiffin. Or Chocolate Raisin Squares, as the recipe from my mum is called. I reckon you could add mini marshmallows and call it Rocky Road as well. Whatever it’s name though, it’s a whole pan full of chocolatey, biscuity goodness. Well badness really, but we’ll overlook that just for now.

So, the recipe if from my mum’s book of recipes that she’s been writing since forever. A spiral bound notebook that is getting less spiral bound by the day, the spiral bit is gradually working it’s way out of the holes in the side of the page and is making a bid for freedom. Perhaps time for a new notebook?

Very kindly my mum wrote out the recipe for me as I was packing to come back last week.

You will need:

8 oz Rich Tea or Digestive biscuits (Graham Crackers in America?)

6 oz Plain Chocolate (this is just less than two bars of Morrisons Value Plain chocolate. It leaves you three squares spare which will likely be scoffed by peckish husbands, so watch out.)

4 oz butter (real butter, not margerine)

4 oz Golden Syrup (no idea of US alternative I’m afraid – light corn syrup perhaps?)

2 oz Soft brown sugar (not caster or granulated, this sugar has more the consistency of flour)

1 tablespoon of Cocoa powder (I had to buy 250g of this for one bloody spoonful. Still, investment in baking, keep repeating that.)

2 oz raisins (or sultanas, which I prefer)

1 oz glacé cherries, chopped

Here we go …

Crush your biscuits in a pretty blue bowl. I used the end of a rolling pin to do this. Don’t be tempted to put them in your fancy mini blender thingy that your mum gave you for your birthday, because despite purporting to chop, it will in fact blitz them into very fine crumbs. And you have to wash it up anyway despite it not being the slightest bit of use for this task.

I like chunky bits of biscuit in my tiffin, but feel free to break them up more. I wouldn’t leave them any bigger than you see above because it’s tricky to get the mix into the tin nicely if they’re too big.

Melt the chocolate, syrup, butter and sugar in a pan over a low-medium heat. Don’t burn it! Stir it now and again and keep an eye on it, but in the mean time prepare your fruit. Chopping cherries is mega sticky, take care not to get it on your camera. Please note cherries are in their pre-chopped state here owing to aforementioned camera/sticky issues.

(I was generous with the sultanas because they’re lovely. An extra ounce or so in the mixture won’t cause you any problems.)

Once your pan of syrup, butter, chocolate and sugar has melted down into a panful of YUM, add in a tablespoonful of cocoa powder. It should be level, but I was lazy. Also, it might help to sieve the cocoa powder in because mine was a bit lumpy and would have benefited from sieving. Note to self … buy a sieve.

Take it off the heat and add in your crushed biscuits and fruit, taking care not to spill it as you attempt to take an action shot of it falling it out of the bowl. Yeahhh.

Use your spoon to break down any naughty big bits of biscuit that have sneaked in, and then stir well to combine.

Spread the mixture into a tin that is seven by eleven inches (I’m all about imperial measurements when I cook, the only metric one I use is to weigh the flour for pizza dough!). You will note that this tin is not seven by eleven inches. I have no idea what size my tins are, but the one I was planning on using I need for a cake. Just cram it in any tin you like, the smaller the tin the thicker the tiffin etc. Squish it all in and then leave it to cool, before putting it in the fridge to chill. You can eat it any time you like, but leaving it to set makes it less likely to fall to pieces everywhere.

Scrape every last bit out of the tin. Le Creuset have some hand tools to help you here. Most people believe that these excellent spatulas are for helping you to get all of the mixture out and into the tin with the rest of it. They are wrong! You should always use the most inefficient spoon you have to get the mixture into the tin, and then the spatula to get all the leftovers when you lick the bowl. Better idea, non?

(I didn’t actually do this, because I’m good, but if I was bad I totally would have done.)

Leave the tiffin to chill in the fridge until set, then serve. You won’t need much, trust me. It’s rather sickly and a small amount will do you fine. Sadly the light was fading so I had to chip a bit off to take a photo before it was set properly, but it still tasted good. Yum.

If I had more time before it got dark (stupid winter) then I would have made it look faaaar more attractive on the plate. But it got dark, so I just ate it. And then had to have a lay down while the sugar headache wore off. I don’t really eat much sugar, it was a bit of a shock!

I imagine you could vary the recipe however you wanted, perhaps adding some cranberries or chopped dried apricots or nuts or something. But there you go – my mum’s chocolate raisin tiffin squares. Yum :-)