We’ve been away in Newcastle for a couple of days going to a mid-week wedding and as we were driving home today, it suddenly hit me that 2015 is only a few weeks away. Generally it feels terrible to wish time away, but I’ll be glad to see the end of 2014. There have been some definite ups – my sister getting engaged, our art deco apartment and lots of yoga classes – but mostly, it’s been pretty rough. My hours have been so long that it’s been almost impossible to maintain even a little balance (this poor neglected blog is proof enough of that) and I miss sleep and friends and watching Call the Midwife. The work I’ve been doing has also made me stop and think more deeply about what I want to do in the long term (I feel like this often!) and while it’s good to figure that stuff out sooner rather than later, change is scary.
Anyway, all of this has absolutely nothing to do with baking, but I wanted to come say hi (hi!) and I’ve had this recipe sitting in my drafts folder for way too long, so chocolate coconut slice it is. My sister and I have made this recipe dozens of time – it’s the taste of my childhood. I think it’s the first thing I every learnt to make on my own. (Though the first time we attempted this without parental supervision we realised mid-way that we didn’t have vanilla extract and couldn’t possibly bake the slice without it. The only logical thing to do was eat as much batter as we could and feed the rest to the garden. I hope our baking skills have improved considerably since then!). It’s buttery, sweet and far more satisfying than it should be given the short list of ingredients, none of which are fancy.
[Ed: as I’ve been writing this, it’s hit me how funny it is to write about change and fear of what the future holds along side the oldest, most steadfast and comforting recipe I know. I feel like I should thank the universe for giving me a surprise but much needed dose of the familiar. Or is that just too much yoga going to my head?]
Chocolate Coconut Slice (recipe from the Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits published by the Australian Women’s Weekly)
1 c plain flour
1/2 c white sugar
1 c desiccated coconut
1 tbsp cocoa powder
185 g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 c icing sugar mixture
2 tbsp cocoa powder
30 g butter
1 1/2 tbsp hot water
desiccated coconut, for sprinkling
1. Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F. Line a 19 x 29 cm cake pan with baking paper.
2. Melt the butter over low heat. When it is completely melted, remove from heat and leave to cool.
3. While the butter is melting sift the flour and cocoa powder into a medium mixing bowl. Add the sugar and coconut and using a wooden spoon, stir to combine.
4. Add the butter, egg and vanilla essence to the flour mixture. Stir until the flour has been fully incorporated into the butter. Press the mixture into the cake tin.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture is firm but soft to touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.
6. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a small mixing bowl. Stir the melted butter and then add the water or milk and the vanilla essence. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth (it should be the consistency of thick honey or nutella). Pour the icing over the slice and spread with a knife. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of desiccated coconut over the slice. Eat up!
- I have been making this slice for years as outlined above but it is very buttery. I’ve had a look online and others report having great success with 125 – 150 g butter. I’m going to test it out soon and report back.
- This recipe doubles really well (if you can bring yourself to use so much butter).