The body was willing but the mind was not. Baking has been unceremoniously shoved to the back burner. Perhaps it was a subconscious reaction to having a diabetic guest, my father, who stared with hungry eyes at the few home baked treats. I certainly found it hard to munch through a biscuit while speaking with him; his grand children have no such scruples. Why cruelly tempt the poor man? My resolve was broken by The Scotsman, who peered deeply into the bowels of the fridge before flinging open cupboard doors, scavenging for treats. It went on for days, The Scotsman getting more ornery without a post-dinner sugar fix. I finally got the message and donned the baking apron. I wished for the cupboard hinges to remain intact.
Traybakes are the godsend of harried women, and reluctant bakers, everywhere. This easy-going, coconut and chocolate bake comes from a book by the Australian’s Women’s Weekly, succinctly named Traybakes & Slices. These are solid, undemanding, dependable recipes. They don’t challenge, instead they offer that unsophisticated but satisfying pulse of sweet comfort. My sweet button goes into overdrive with coconut, as you might have guessed. I can’t get passed a recipe with coconut. I’ve got a stockpile of the American sweet, shredded variety and they are put to good use here. This is the bake to take to school bake sales, welcome-to-the-madhouse visits, thanks-neighbour gifts and bribes for children to behave (you know you do!).
You essentially make a macaroon base, studded with chopped chocolate, folded with the coconut and then go Pollock-crazy, with white or dark chocolate drizzled madly over the drop. The base cooks to a spongy sort of soft meringue, which melts to give way to sweet, nutty coconut with the dark chocolate rounding out with bitter notes. Very nice indeedy. The Scotsman was sweetened up nicely, the kids behaved and Dad nicked one as he strolled passed the counter. I didn’t have the heart to chide him. I just followed his lead.
Choc-Cherry Macaroon Slice
From the Australian’s Women’s Weekly book titled Traybakes & Slices
3 Egg Whites
1/2 cup /110g caster sugar
100g dark eating chocolate, coarsely grated
1/4 cup /35g plain flour
1 1/2 cups / 95g shredded coconut, toasted
3/4cup / 150 g glace cherries, chopped coarsely
50g dark eating chocolate melted
Preheat the oven to 150 deg C. Grease a 19cm x 29cm baking tin, line with baking paper making sure to extend the paper by 5 cms over the sides of the tin.
Beat the egg whites until you get soft peaks. Gradually add the sugar, beating well between additions. Gently gold in the grated chocolate, flour, coconut and cherries. Spread evenly in the tin and bake the slice for 45 minutes. Let it cool in the tin.
Once completely cold, drizzle with melted chocolate. I like to pour the melted chocolate into a freezer bag and snip off a tiny bit of the end to make a quick and cheap piping back to drizzle the chocolate. Refridgerate to set the chocolate and then cut into squares.