Chocolate, Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake
A tiffin cake is never something I go about sourcing ingredients for deliberately. For me, the tiffin is a method of finishing my half packets of biscuits which lie about my cupboards, or finally using the very aromatic bananas which are on their last legs in the fruit bowl. The leftover peanut brittle which I made for my crunchy nut cornflake choc ices also needs to go somewhere that isn’t directly into my stomach whilst I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. Then a few dates which have been languishing in a jar probably since Christmas but still moist enough to provide a good chew to the cake are also included.

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

However, do not throw ingredients into your tiffin willy nilly. The beauty of a throw together dish, whether it’s in baking or cooking a quick supper after work is knowing when you should leave something out. Just because I also had half a packet of marshmallows, some sweetened cranberries which are begging for a home and some pretzels which have been outright taunting me from their half eaten packet doesn’t mean they should all go in as well. Be selective and purposeful and then you will find that your cobbled together garbage cake assumes its own identity.

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

Due to the bananas the cake is much softer than a regular tiffin cake so be gentle when slicing. I used milk chocolate for the cake as that is what I had to hand but if I were to make it again I would probably go for half milk and half dark chocolate to add more intensity of flavour and reduce the sweetness. Usually I am an advocate with more is more when it comes to cake, but here, you want to be thinking less. Just a slither of the cake will be deliciously ample, if you over indulge you won’t be thanking me an hour later. This cake is richie rich.

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

Although the serving suggestion I most recommend is to place the cake in the freezer for a couple of hours; it will emerge as a deliciously cool easy to slice dessert which will happily pair with freshly picked raspberries after a long lazy Saturday barbecue.

Chocolate Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake  |  Stroud Green Larder

Chocolate, Banana and Peanut Brittle Tiffin Cake

400g chocolate – milk or dark or a mixture of both
2 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
200g Lotus Biscoff Biscuits
175g peanut brittle, roughly chopped
50g dates, de-stoned and roughly chopped
A good pinch of sea salt

  1. Melt the chocolate in a large bain marie set over simmering water.
  2. Turn the heat off the water but do not take the chocolate off the bain marie, you want it kept smooth and melty whilst you are adding the other ingredients.
  3. Add the bananas first and mix in thoroughly to make sure they are well incorporated.
  4. Crush the Lotus Biscoff biscuits roughly with a rolling pin, so that some biscuits are obliterated and some are left quite lumpy to give the cake good texture. Then stir them in.
  5. Finally add in the peanut brittle, dates and the salt, mixing everything together so it’s all turned into a lovely chocolatey cake batter.
  6. Resist spooning the mixture into your mouth and pour into an 18cm, baking parchment lined, springform round cake tin. Smooth the top and cover with tin foil.
  7. Leave in the fridge overnight to set and chill before carefully removing from the cake tin and serving immediately. This is best served cold.

Crunchy Nut Cornflake Choc Ices

Crunchy Nut Cornflake Choc Ices
These ice creams have been a bit of a passion project of mine for a few weeks. Back when I was doing the Whole30 I was writing this recipe and counting down the days until I could commit to it. Then I finished my Whole30 and kind of got cold feet. It was a recipe which would take a good few days to pull together all the elements and then the last day you have to contend with warm tempered chocolate and cold ice cream without a meltdown.

Crunchy Nut Cornflake Choc Ices  |  Stroud Green Larder

I am prone to kitchen disasters as I like to constantly swim in unchartered waters. I have an excellent baker friend who is known for the most wonderful cakes. She has a few solid recipes which she brings out in rotation whenever I see her. When she presents her cakes they are reliably beautiful and delicious. Her baking abilities are never questioned; if she has any kitchen failures, she keeps them close to her chest and only brings forth her cakes after they have been thoroughly vetted in her test kitchen and she can wow us all with her brilliance.

I, on the other hand, love to try new recipes pretty much every day, I think I must thrive on the danger of disaster. If an occasion is called to bring a cake then I use it as a perfect excuse to try out the new five layer monstrosity I’ve been working on, complete with untested buttercream, flavours and batter method. It’s always a bit of a gamble as the knife goes through the multi-layered extravaganza in front of a hungry audience as to whether it’s cooked all the way through, whether I have added enough buttercream to the layers and if all the flavours work together. So why do I always live in this constant state of panic? For the pure excitement when it does go right.

Crunchy Nut Cornflake Choc Ices  |  Stroud Green Larder

Understandably, after days of prepping these choc ices; infusing the milk with cornflakes for a day, then making the ice cream the next day, then churning the ice cream the day after that, before leaving it overnight for setting in the loaf tin, I was very keen on day four that it would not all come to blows on the assembly line. I would be calm, collected, think through my presentation prior to beginning the chocolate tempering and make sure I have enough lollipop sticks, instead of improvising with cake pop sticks (nope, they are not good enough I have found out in the past).

So I got stage fright. The cornflake ice cream has been waiting patiently in the freezer to be organised into the choc ices for ten days now, fending off after-dinner advances from all members of the household, and generally making me feel like a half job.

Yesterday I bit the bullet and did it. And thank goodness it worked. No tears were shed, no ruined ingredients were thrown in the bin in a childish tantrum and more importantly, I could eat my delicious choc ice that I had invented in the garden after a sweaty day in the kitchen. Pure pleasure. That is what I love about recipe writing, testing and endless research, it’s so satisfying when you get it right. Thanks to the internet I discovered the best way for covering my choc ices in chocolate – filling a good sized jar with the just tempered chocolate and dipping the ice cream sticks in directly from the freezer. As soon as the chocolate touches the ice cream it forms a barrier against melting and the cold ice cream cools the chocolate immediately, also preventing it from melting the ice cream. Sprinkle those bad boys with the crunchy honey peanuts immediately and then lay to rest on baking parchment and place back into the freezer before they can even think about collapsing. This recipe takes time, the only way to finish the choc ices on the assembly line is by taking the cornflake ice cream sticks out of the freezer in batches. You will have to work quickly to ensure the chocolate doesn’t fall out of temper and your ice cream doesn’t fall off their sticks.

Crunchy Nut Cornflake Choc Ices  |  Stroud Green Larder

However, the most important element of this whole recipe is how damn delicious these choc ices are. Cornflake ice cream is a constant presence in our freezer and it is paired deliciously, as I had hoped, with the thick wrapping of milk chocolate and the salty honeyed crunch of peanuts. They are tasty, tasty, very very tasty. They’re very tasty.

Crunchy Nut Cornflake Choc Ices
Makes 8-10 choc ices

1.2lt whole milk
150g cornflakes
600ml double cream
12 egg yolks
180g golden caster sugar
250g natural unsalted peanuts
75g honey
25g light brown sugar
½ tsp salt
800g milk chocolate, tempered

  1. Tip the cornflakes into a large bowl and pour over the milk. Cover with cling film and leave to soak in the fridge overnight.
  2. Strain the milk and discard the soggy cornflakes. You should have achieved about 600ml of cornflake infused milk.
  3. Pour the milk and the cream into a large saucepan and bring to an even boil.
  4. Meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl until they are pale, thick and frothy.
  5. Once the milk and cream have boiled, turn off the heat and very carefully pour into the egg yolks and sugar in a very thin stream whisking it in all the while.
  6. Pour it all into a bain marie set over a pan of simmering water. Bring the cornflake custard up to 70°C, whisking all the while to avoid lumps and curdling.
  7. Remove the bain marie from the heat and plunge the bowl into a sink full of iced water to immediately drop the temperature. Stir the custard until the temperature begins to cool. Remove from the ice bath, cover the surface of the custard with clingfilm to ward off any skin forming then leave to chill in the fridge overnight.
  8. Once the custard is thoroughly chilled then churn in an ice cream machine until it forms a dropping consistency.
  9. Pour the soft set ice cream into a 9 inch loaf tin, cover tightly with cling film and place in the freezer to set overnight.
  10. To make the crunchy honey nuts first spread the peanuts on a baking tray and roast in the oven for 10 minutes at 180°C.
  11. Remove the peanuts from the oven and chop roughly.
  12. Meanwhile boil the honey and sugar with a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan until it reaches a rolling boil, turn down slightly and cook for about 2 minutes until the honey caramel darkens slightly.
  13. Turn off the heat then tip the peanuts into the saucepan. Mix quickly until the peanuts are evenly coated then pour onto baking parchment and leave to harden.
  14. Once the crunchy honey nuts have hardened then chop them roughly.
  15. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and turn the ice cream out of the loaf tin. If this is proving difficult, either run a blow torch around the outside of the tin or carefully run the bottom of the tin under hot water.
  16. Once the ice cream has been removed cut into slices, neatening the edges evenly. Quickly insert the lollipop sticks into the base of the ice cream slices and place on baking parchment lined baking trays then return to the freezer until needed.
  17. At this stage temper the milk chocolate.
  18. Pour the tempered milk chocolate into a jar large enough so you can dunk and fully submerge your ice cream into the jar.
  19. Working very quickly, remove your sticks of ice cream from the freezer in batches, dunk into the jar of chocolate then sprinkle the crunchy honey nuts over. Place the choc ices back onto the baking parchment lined baking trays then back into the freezer to set for at least 2 hours before eating.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Biscuits

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Biscuits
If I think back to what I have eaten over the past 7 days, I can really only think of these biscuits. I came up with the idea last weekend after I had finished rolling out the pastry for my Eccleswell Tart. I had a little bit of pastry left over, a tub of peanut butter was sitting next to me and a few minutes to kill whilst I was waiting for my tart shell to chill in the fridge. I dolloped a few tablespoons of peanut butter in with the leftover pastry, rolled it out and cut it into very rough squares. I threw them in the oven for about 6 minutes and I was rewarded with these extremely tempting biscuits.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Biscuits  |  Stroud Green Larder

I ate the first one hot out of the oven and thought, yeah alright these are a nice use of the excess pastry. Then ten minutes later as I was making a cup of tea I ate another, this time a little cooler. Hmm, actually these are quite nice. Then my husband came down and grabbed a couple. He concurred that yes they were quite good. Half an hour later as I was finishing off my tart I munched a couple more biscuits, then after another hour I went back into the kitchen to faff and found my husband scarfing down another. By the time we were settling down to watch TV in the evening I was upset to discover that we had both polished off the whole tray. But I want more, I thought petulantly. It turned out that they were more than a bit nice, they were completely and utterly addictive.

So the next day I made some more, this time making the pastry especially for the recipe. And the next day I made some more, this time with a couple of bars of milk chocolate by my side. Now, it’s not to say that the biscuits need the chocolate in any way, they are pretty delicious without. But peanut butter yearns for chocolate like Catarina for Arturo and it seems only fair to unite them at any given opportunity.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Biscuits  |  Stroud Green Larder

The peanut butter flavour is subtle which makes such a nice change from the ever prolific peanut butter cookies, which believe me I have no problem with, but they can sometimes feel heavy on the palette. These biscuits are excellent for dunking in tea, if you are so inclined, and would look pretty at an afternoon tea which isn’t something you can usually credit to peanut butter which is about the least sophisticated ingredient out there. The little peanut nugget baked into the biscuit is in no way essential but the salty hit is too good to miss out on.

I didn’t use tempered chocolate here when I dipped the biscuits as I wanted a nice quick homestyle biscuit. The results were fine, although next time I might contemplate using tempered chocolate as the biscuits didn’t transport easily. The chocolate never hardened so they were easy to damage as they were bashed about in a tin. However, since I had to make about 3 batches of the peanut butter biscuits before they made it to the chocolate dipping stage it is unlikely that these will go much farther than the kitchen counter to your mouth. I sped up the recipe by bringing the biscuit dough together in a food processor. I wouldn’t normally do this with pastry as the results are not quite as good but I wasn’t too worried about that for these biscuits. In all honesty if you are pressed for time you could also skip the resting stage but your biscuits won’t be quite as crisp and flaky.

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Biscuits  |  Stroud Green Larder

Chocolate Dipped Peanut Butter Biscuits
Makes about 20 biscuits

200g plain flour
75g unsalted butter, fridge cold
75g caster sugar
1 egg
3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
175g milk chocolate
A few salted peanuts for decoration

  1. Pulse together the plain flour and the unsalted butter in a food processor until they resemble rough breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the caster sugar and pulse again briefly until evenly mixed in.
  3. Add the egg and the smooth peanut butter, then whizz up until it is starting to ball up in the processor. Tip it out onto a clean work surface and bring together into a smooth dough, it will still be slightly sticky.
  4. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.
  6. Remove the peanut butter dough from the fridge and roll into a rectangle about 3mm thickness. Cut into about 20 rectangles then place on a large baking tray.
  7. Press a peanut half into each biscuit then place the baking tray in the fridge for half an hour for the biscuits to chill.
  8. Then bake for 6-8 minutes then remove from the oven. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes then place on a wire rack to finish cooling.
  9. Once the biscuits are cooled melt the chocolate in a bain marie.
  10. Dip the biscuits into the chocolate one at a time halfway up the biscuit then leave to set on some baking parchment.