In the lead up to small’s first birthday celebration the beloved has slapped another baking embargo on me. Some complaint to do with how we’ll be eating cake all next week. Bah. Clearly my only option was to wait until she’d left for work to squeeze in a little mid-morning bake. I needed a recipe that was quick, easy, didn’t require eggs and, for maximum sucking-up potential, could be gluten free. Oh, and it had to come from the aforementioned epicure: chocolate: a book that begins by describing chocolate… “a dark mistress or a comforting friend” and goes on to tempt with recipes such as ‘Coco the burlesque wonder cake’ and ‘Kamikaze brownies’.
My choice – Valmai Hall’s Chocolate Coconut Fingers, tweaked slightly and re-christened.
I’m pretty sure that back in the 90s all tuck shops had the same stock – hedgehog slice, apricot blocks, those big, dry choc-chip cookies, pies, sausage-rolls and Big Ms. I really can’t remember our high school tuck shop stocking anything else, they might have made the occasional sandwich but there certainly wasn’t anything fancy like fresh fruit. But then, back in the 90s, our school tuck shop was basically a shed with a counter and a padlock. You bought your apricot block and went and sat on the ground somewhere under a tree to eat it. Ten years on, the shed has been repurposed (or some other made up word) and school food is now sold in a big, shiny cafeteria with actual tables and chairs and windows. I don’t know for sure but I’m guessing lunch orders are no longer organised by scribbling your request for a pie on the back of a paper bag. The spoilt noughties generation of angsty teenage girls even have a bloody coffee machine.
Anyhoo. This slice is like something you would have got in a tuck shop, pre-coffee machine era. Except it’s better, buttery, spicy, a bit crumbly and, unless you want to, you don’t have to sit on the ground to eat it.
Tuck Shop Slice
1 cup of cornflakes
1 cup of dessicated coconut, plus extra for sprinkling
1 cup of gluten free self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla essence
1/2 a cup of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of cocoa
150 grams of butter, melted
4 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar
1 heaped tablespoon of cocoa
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of butter, melted
Butter up and line the bottom of a square cake tin or a lamington tin.
Put all of the slice ingredients into a medium sized bowl. Stir until well combined (the mixture will be crumbly) then press into the tin.
Bake for 10-15 minutes.
While baking, sift the dry icing ingredients into a small bowl and add the melted butter. Stir together with a few teaspoons of hot water – as much as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. If you overdo the hot water, just sift in a little more icing sugar.
When the slice comes out of the oven, spread the icing on it, gently, while it’s still hot. Sprinkle with as much extra coconut as you like. Allow to cool in the tin, then slice your slice into pieces. I got 16 generous chunks from a square tin.
Then leave a tempting little stack of them on the kitchen bench for your beloved to find. And if your beloved is still peevish about their embargo being subverted and refuses to even try them (even though they are suck-uppishly gluten free) just eat them yourself. They’re good.