This delicious traybake has all the flavours of Christmas and as it’s really rich, a little goes a long way. It’s a seriously grown-up traybake. The Cocoa makes it sophisticated, rather than sickly-sweet. The good news is that the kids will hate it and anyway, you can’t be feeding them Brandy, even if it is Christmas!
Despite all this, it’s simplicity itself to make – you don’t even need an oven – a little Hob and/or Microwave action is all it takes.
This will make a terrific presents for your foodie friends. Hidden in a dark, cool place, it will keep well for at least 3 weeks – I think of it as the Cook’s Emergency stash – and we all need one of those! Make it now, box it up as gifts and hide them away until the time is right for handing over!
Try it, and see how you get on
- Glass bowl to soak the fruit
- Plastic bag and rolling pin to crush the biscuits
- Glass bowl for biscuits and cocoa
- A small sieve.
- Saucepan large enough to take all the ingredients (I used my potato saucepan)
- 25cm x 16cm (10×7 inch) or a 20cm x 20cm (8×8 inch) tin – I used a 9”x9” tin
- Baking parchment to line the tin.
- 125g raisins
- 200g of your choice of dried fruit – think Festive – so Glace Cherries, dried Cherries, Dried Cranberries, Sultanas, apricots – even a handful of chopped nuts if you’re so inclined – all cut to be a similar size to the raisins.
- Finely-grated zest of a clementine or orange.
- 80ml brandy
- 150g butter
- 40g light brown soft sugar
- 180g golden syrup
- 300g Rich Tea biscuits (that’s a whole packet folks!)
- 25g Cocoa powder (definitely not drinking chocolate)
For the topping:
- 200g White Chocolate – I use Milky Bar. 200g is two of the regular bars from the supermarket.
- Put all the dried fruit into the Brandy to soak for as long as possible. If you don’t want to use Brandy just use 80mls Orange juice instead. Add the orange zest now too.
- Line your tin. I find it useful to leave a length of grease-proof paper overhanging the edges – this helps when you’re removing it from the tin, and cutting it up.
- To crush the biscuits: Do this in two lots. Put the half biscuits in a large bag. Beat with a rolling pin until the biscuits are in small pieces. Some biscuit will be powdered and some will be in larger pieces – that’s what you want.
- Add the Cocoa powder to the crushed biscuits, and mix thoroughly until the chocolate colour is evenly distributed.
- In a large saucepan, melt the butter, sugar, and golden syrup and mix to combine
- Turn off the heat. Remove the saucepan to a heat-proof non-slip board.
- Add the Biscuit mixture, and fold in with a wooden spoon.
- Add the fruit and any remaining liquor and mix carefully until everything is well combined. When you think it’s all combined, give it a few more turns for luck, going into the very bottom of the pan to make sure everything is fully mixed
- Press the mixture into the prepared tin with the back of a spoon. Push it down firmly, especially into the corners. Try to make sure that it’s level. Spend a bit of time doing this, it’s well worth it.
- Turn the spoon over and use its edge to tidy up the edges of the cake base
- Leave to cool until fully cold. I left it in the fridge overnight, but 2 hours or so would probably be fine.
When you’re ready to decorate:
- Put the chocolate into a bowl and melt it – either in the Microwave in 30-second bursts, or over a pan of simmering water on the hob
- When the chocolate has melted, pour over the base and spread evenly using a knife.
- Leave to cool. I pulled a dessert fork along the white chocolate to give it some texture at this stage. – see picture below – then cut into small squares.
- Using the lining paper, remove the Tiffin from the dish and place on a solid board. Leave it on the paper as you cut it up.
- Use a thin, sharp knife to cut the Tiffin into squares.
- I used Raisins, Sultanas, dried Cranberries and Apricots in these pictures.
- Cut this traybake into very small portions. I’m thinking about 2-3cm square. As you can see from the pictures, it’s quite deep. It’s also very rich.
- If you’re giving any as presents,arrange the squares in bun cases and pop them into any pretty food-friendly boxes you may have. Keep them in a very cold dark spot, or in the fridge.
- If you’re planning to give some of these away, be sure to write the ingredients eg: Brandy, and Nuts, if you use them.
- Despite having no spices apart from the Orange zest, these little Tiffin bars taste almost exactly like Christmas Cake! The biscuit gives a lovely crunch, so do use the whole 300g.
- I had great ideas for decorating these, but I ended up just spraying them with some edible spray from the supermarket! If you’ve got the time and/or the inclination, the sky’s the limit!