Sitting in the shade at a cute little café centred slap bang in the middle of a park is as good a place as ever to write blog posts. However as it draws closer to midday and the morning coffee/cake crowds disperse, the lunch smells start wafting by. Tantalising. The dad and small child seated at the table next to me have just ordered a rather large bowl of chips, and that juice I ordered over an hour ago is no longer cutting it in the stop-the-tummy-rumbles department. It’s times like this where I berate myself for not packing a small snack to consume on the way home, to keep the blood sugar levels from nose-diving to a babbling bambi level before one has a chance to prepare a decent lunch. Because when you’re starving, making lunch seems like an all too Everest task. This Chocolate Sultana Slice isn’t the healthiest of specimens, but hey it ain’t as indulgent (and heart-stopping calorific) as a brownie and it transports well.
Though deceptive, is it not? Why, it looks like a brownie. Of course that’s contingent on how you make your brownies, but that’s beside the point. No, one must think more along the lines of the love-child between a biscuit and a pound cake. A hybrid. Odd? Not really – it’s firmer and drier than a brownie (definitely not your fudgy kind of specimen) which yes, does sound rather terrible. Have some faith! With a light chocolatey flavour and wee gems of oh so sweet sultanas that add a fruity touch, it’s in a slice category all of it’s own! And a tasty one at that. Add in a simple, sweet icing to provide a little extra moisture and you’re laughing.
Easy-peasy to whip up, as 10/11 year-old tackers my sister and I used to make a slab of the slice before we set out on weekend family hikes. Dad sure knew what he was on about when he suggested we bake something – 1) it kept us occupied while he packed the ‘important stuff’ like tea and aerogard (insect repellent for those of you not from the land of Aus) and b) it was a darn good incentive to keep going when we began whining in harmony about “how much looooonnnnngggggeer until we get to the top?” and “caaaaaan I have a piggy back? Pleaaaaassseee?”.
So whether it be for keeping those hunger pangs at bay or bribing small children to “keep. on. walking”, this simple slice does the job nicely. Nicely slicely…oh dear it’s most certainly time to head home for lunch…
Chocolate Sultana Slice
Makes one 18x28cm slab.
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup plain flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
¾ cup sultanas
2/3 cup icing sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 tsp butter
2 tbsp hot water
Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease and line a baking pan with baking paper.
Place the butter in a large bowl and beat until creamy. Add the sugar and beat until very light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl sift together the flour and cocoa powder.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and gently stir until well combined. Stir through the sultanas.
Spoon into the prepared baking pan, ensuring the top is even, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the top is firm and a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing the slice and leaving it to cool completely on a wire rack.
Once completely cool, transfer the slice to a board and pour the prepared chocolate icing over the slice, tapping the board gently on your work bench to ensure that the icing is evenly distributed.
Leave the icing to set completely and then use a large sharp knife to cut the slice into rectangles or squares to the size of your liking.
Will keep in an airtight container for 3 days. Can be frozen for up to 2 months.
Place the butter in a medium sized bowl and pour over the boiling water. Whisk until the butter is almost completely melted.
Sift together the icing sugar and cocoa powder and then add to the butter mixture. Whisk until the icing is smooth.
Source: A Taste Without Waste original.