During my childhood, while we did have special family recipes that were handed down, as well as more recent innovations of my parents, one of the things I remember clearly was the important role held by the classic Australian Women’s Weekly cookbooks. My parents had surprisingly few cookbooks, and many of the ones they had; like Chinese Gastronomy, The Joy of Cooking and an enormous book of classic French cuisine with the most incredible table settings I’ve ever seen, were not terribly accessible for beginner cooks.
The exception was the AWW books – over the years we collected the Commonsense Cookery book, books on dinner parties and italian cooking, the Cakes and Slices cookbook, and most importantly, the Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits. I remember regularly sitting down with this book to make lists of the biscuits I wished I could make – the lack of ingredients such as ground nuts, glacé cherries and condensed milk meant I tended to focus on the simpler recipes, and one of them was this recipe.
I’ve mentioned before the dreaded Sunday night rush to get food organized for lunchboxes for the week. What I prefer, and what we do on an ‘organised’ week, is to get the kids to bake something on Sunday afternoon. I got incredible enjoyment from seeing Miss Lego baking a chocolate slice based on a recipe from the same Beautiful Biscuits book that I’ve kept all these years.
It’s an easy, melt and mix, one bowl recipe that would be a good one to make with even quite small kids. I particularly like the fact that the texture of the icing, and even the odd lump doesn’t matter as spreading it while hot make it completely smooth. The one bowl thing doesn’t hurt either!
It also lasts well – the kids happily ate the last couple of pieces nearly a week later.
Chocolate coconut slice
Adapted from the Australian Women’s Weekly’s Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits
- 75g plain flour
- 60g wholemeal flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 c desiccated or shredded coconut
- 1 Tbs cocoa
- 125g butter
- 100g brown sugar (I used rapadura)
- 1 egg
- 125g icing sugar
- 1 Tbs cocoa
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 Tbs milk
Preheat oven to 180C. Line a 18x28cm pan (7×11”) with baking paper. Heat the butter in a medium bowl in the microwave on 50% power until just melted. Stir in the dry ingredients, followed by the egg. Scrape the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for approximately 20 min until just firm. Meanwhile, combine the icing sugar and cocoa, and stir in the butter and milk, using just enough to create a thick paste. Spread the icing carefully over the hot slice and sprinkle with a little extra coconut. Cut into squares or bars once cool.