Serious chocolate tiffin

I found this recipe on the inside of a wrapper of Green & Black’s milk chocolate (currently my favourite chocolate, in case anyone feels like sending me some…) and propped it optimistically on the book stand on my kitchen windowsill, where it languished for some time:

The recipe

The recipe

To be honest, the recipe kind of intimidated me. It’s obvious that this is some serious, knock-your-socks-off confectionery. It uses ginger biscuits and pistachios, for goodness’ sake!

Finally, yesterday, the planets aligned. It was time for some serious tiffin-making.

Assembling and preparing the ingredients took some time. As usual when I bake, off I went with the young one to my local independent supermarket for the supplies. Needless to say, the recipe calls for Green & Black’s chocolate, but I had some Lindt to use up:

Photo 2013-07-05 00.54.40(4)

The cocoa was Green & Black’s, and the golden syrup – well, in this part of the world, the only show in town is Lyle’s:

Photo 2013-07-05 00.55.26

I have a feeling that tins of Lyle’s golden syrup would be left rattling down the streets after a nuclear apocalypse. Golden syrup is based on inverted sugar syrup, a substance I would rather not know any more about. And once you open the tin, some syrup inevitably drips over the side, despite the little gully around the edge, and you have a sticky tin for ever more:

Lyle's golden syrup gully

Lyle’s golden syrup gully

Next up are the nuts. This recipe calls for blanched whole almonds and pistachios. I couldn’t get pistachios pre-blanched, so I had to do it myself. Some of those babies are stubborn to prise open – cue a little swearing …

Photo 2013-07-05 11.36.11

Another challenge at the preparation stage: how to crush the ginger biscuits? Being a lazy sort, I decided to get down the food processor from its position on high…

The food processor on its lofty perch

… and whizz the biscuits. This produced an inconsistent mixture of biscuit dust and almost-whole pieces:

Whizzed ginger biscuits … not good

So I overcame my laziness and out came the plastic bag and rolling pin. The results were more even:

The more successful plastic-bag-and-rolling-pin method

If you do this, remember to be restrained in your battering of the biscuits, or you will end up with more dust. (Oh, and hold the opening of the bag closed in one hand, as semi-crushed biscuits all over the kitchen floor rarely leads to happiness.)

Next up was the roasting of the nuts, which takes only five minutes. But what a five minutes! The aroma of the pistachios as the heat of the oven draws out their oils is beyond words, so a picture will have to do:

Photo 2013-07-05 00.54.40(3)

The next step called for a little “necessity is the mother of invention”. I didn’t know what to do about the skins on the pistachios, and I temporarily forgot about the existence of the internet. So first I swirled them around in a colander…

Photo 2013-07-05 10.00.06

… but not many bits of skin came off. I then wrapped them in a damp tea-towel, rolled them up and roughed them around a bit:

Photo 2013-07-05 13.04.31

This process removed most of the skins.

Now for some actual mixing of ingredients. The crushed biscuits, sultanas, cocoa and roasted nuts come together first:


Then in go the melted butter and apocalypse syrup – I mean, golden syrup:


As you can see in the picture, an ordinary kitchen knife does a good job of  mixing sticky, unctuous mixtures like this.

That’s your mixture done. Grab a nearby small child (ideally one of your own) and get them to help you to scrape the mixture into the baking tin (my last food post contains a quick-and-dirty method of lining a baking tin). The child can lick the bowl and utensils clean as a reward:


Smooth off the surface of the tiffin with the back of a metal spoon:


Now for the chocolate. Some fancy folks melt their chocolate in the microwave. Call me old-fashioned, but I do it on the hob, in a perspex bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water.

Now pour that liquid joy over the biscuit mixture. The Green & Black’s recipe instructs us to do this in two stages, and who are we to disagree?

IMG_0967Clear a space in your fridge and in it goes for half an hour (the recipe says five to 10 minutes, which I don’t trust. Not that I think I know better than the Green & Black’s recipe designers – but they can’t be right all the time, can they?).

When it comes out, it looks like this:


At this point, your family or house-mates will be starting to circle, so cut it up quickly into the tiniest squares you can manage. This is how my finished product looked:


Now take a deep breath before biting in. This is powerful stuff, and only small pieces are needed to produce a truly heady sensation.

Posted on July 18, 2013, in Writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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