At the end of November I made several cakes to feed friends at a church event, settling on a Mixed Fruit & Ginger version of our favourite (never known to fail) Knock Up Fruit Cake, a double sized Fragrant Marmalade Cake, made in two sandwich tins with more marmalade spread in the middle plus, as a nod towards Christmas and having come across the recipe the previous week, these White Christmas Slices. They proved to be very ‘moreish’ and I am thinking of making some more batches to give away at Christmas.
I discovered this competition winning recipe by Caroline Richards for White Christmas Slices in my local Sainsbury’s supermarket: one of many free cards available, in this case giving new ideas for Christmas food. It appealed because, not only did I have everything available at home (apart from the inexpensive and easily bought coconut biscuits and the white chocolate), it also looked quick, easy and did not require baking. I rarely make a recipe exactly as written and adapted this just a little. Firstly, I cut the amount of butter by one third as I do not like to add too much unnecessary fat. Secondly, I felt the original recipe was lacking something and decided the something was fruit, or similar. To compensate I added dried cranberries to give one of the flavours of Christmas: glacé cherries, sultanas/raisins, dried apricot, fig or date or even crystallised ginger could be added instead. In fact I have decided that this successful – and useful – little recipe is highly adaptable, so variations may be posted here. I have my eye on a gingery version, which I know would be a great hit here! These slices are quite rich so do not make them too large: I cut mine into bite sized squares.
Update 22.12.12: I have just made my third batch of these this year – they go like hot cakes, or should that be hot slices! I have also made Nigella Lawson’s Sweet & Salty Crunch Nut Bars, from her new book Kitchen, but the post will have to wait for another occasion.
White Christmas Slices
(Makes 20-24 small pieces)
200g dark chocolate
75g unsalted butter
400g coconut cookies
2tbsp runny honey
200g white chocolate
50g desiccated coconut
50g dried cranberries or alternative (see my suggestions) – optional
1. Gently heat the dark chocolate, butter and runny honey together in a pan, stirring with a spoon until the chocolate and butter are melted.
2. Crush the biscuits in a bag until they are large chunks and crumbs. Do not crush too much. Add to the melted chocolate along with the dried cranberries, if using.
3. Carefully stir, continuing for about 5 minutes until well coated and so the mixture starts to cook.
4. Using a spoon, press the mixture down well into a 30cm x 20cm baking tray lined with foil (or cling film as suggested in the original recipe, but foil is easier to handle).
5. Gently melt the white chocolate over a low heat. Do not overheat as the white chocolate spoils very easily. Drizzle over the biscuit base and spread out. (The base may be unevenly covered and dark patches may show through, but this does not matter.)
6. Sprinkle over the desiccated coconut. Place a layer of cling film on top and chill for 4 hours. If you are short of time then the covered tray can be placed in the freezer for about an hour, but do not leave too long as chocolate is better if it is not frozen for an extended period. Do not cut from frozen as it will shatter.
7. Once it is set, place the block on a board and while it is still cold cut into small squares with a sharp knife. If it warms up it is more likely to crumble, and should be returned to the fridge to harden before cutting. I cut my block 6 squares by 4 squares, giving 24 bite sized pieces.