My dream Coffee Walnut Slice perfection

I went to a very cute little cafe/delicatessen the other day and had a big piece of Coffee Walnut slice. It was really good… but, as is often the case when I eat out, I get to thinking…

‘I’d like mine with more [insert ingredient]’… or

‘If they hadn’t baked it so long it would be better’… or

‘If it had more base and less icing it would be SO much better!’

Anyway, you get what I mean right? Sometimes, as nice as something is, you just know it would be even nicer if you could make it to your exact taste.

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So today, that’s what I did.

I don’t like a ‘dry’ base – I like it slightly sticky, gooey even. And I like a good thick base, with a little bit of icing – but the icing has to pack a real coffee punch. And I like lots of walnuts… preferable fresh walnuts, not the rancid moldy old things you buy in a pack (thankfully I bought some fresh walnuts at the market last weekend, so I was able to be picky!).

My dream Coffee Walnut Slice

For the base:

400gm plain sweet biscuits (crushed so you have a mix of crumbs and chunks)
180gm butter
1 tin sweetened condensed milk (around 375ml)
100ml boiling water
3 heaped tsp coffee powder (or as much or as little as you like)

Gently melt the butter and condensed milk. Dissolve the coffee in the boiling water then add to the butter mixture, and combine. In a large bowl add the crushed biscuits, then pour in the coffee mixture. Gently fold through till all the biscuit is coated, then press into a tin lined with baking paper (my tin was 20cm by 25cm but anything around that size will do). Put in the fridge to chill completely.

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For the icing:

50gm softened butter
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tbsp boiling water
2 tsp coffee powder (or as much or as little as you like)

Dissolve the coffee in the hot water. Beat the softened butter and icing sugar together. Add a little of the coffee at a time until you get a nice smooth spreading consistency, and a light brown colour.

Spread the top of the cold slice with icing, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts then refrigerate again to set the icing. Once it’s all cool, take the slice out and cut it into generous pieces.

Enjoy with a cup of tea (is that weird…? – or coffee!).

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A girly slice – Pecan and Raspberry Blondie

After much debate with my children this morning we made a group decision – this week’s lunchbox treat would be a Blondie. Not something I have tried baking before, but my girls assure me they have eaten plenty of them (when and how they found the time and opportunity to do that escapes me). Now I love Deborah Harry, Parallel Lines is one of my all time favourite albums (not to mention album cover!) but the idea of the kind of Blondie you eat just doesn’t inspire me. Where’s the chocolate? White chocolate is just sweet fat… I need a minimum of 70% cocoa solids at all times, well – nearly all times.

I took The Hummingbird Bakery’s Blondie recipe, and added some frozen raspberries, and I have to say the result was pretty damn good! And prettily, perfectly pink…

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So please try:

150gm good quality white chocolate
125gm butter 150 gm caster sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
200 gm plain flour
A pinch of salt
120 gm pecan nuts, chopped
120gm raspberries (frozen worked fine, but fresh would be great too)

Preheat oven to 170c. Melt chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pot of simmering water (don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Leave until smooth, then remove from the heat.

Add the sugar and stir until incorporated. The mixture starts to look a bit split, but don’t fear, it’ll all come together soon enough. Add the eggs and vanilla stirring briskly so the eggs don’t scramble if the mixture is still hot. Add the flour and salt, and fold into the wet ingredients until smooth.

Finally add the nuts and stir through then pour the mixture into a 33cm x 23cm baking tray lined with baking paper and sprayed lightly with oil. Gently spread the mix out, then sprinkle the raspberries evenly over the top and lightly press into the mix. Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Leave to cool in the tray, then turn out and cut into squares once the slice is completely cool.