lemon slice

I'd forgotten how nice lemon slice could be. Especially when made with homegrown lemons picked straight from the tree. Mmmm. The scent of fresh lemons. Lemon oil on your hands. For me the key to this recipe is the huge amount of lemon zest. The original Women's Weekly recipe had just one teapoon. I've doubled the original recipe, because what would one do with a leftover half tin of condensed milk anyway?* The doubled recipe makes enough to take for morning tea at work and some for home. Or for a good showing at a cake stall. And it contains three table spoons of lemon zest which in my view adds a certain excitement.

You will need:
For the slice
1 cup (or tin) of sweetened condensed milk
250g butter
500g Marie biscuits (2 packets)
3 tablespoons grated/zested/finely chopped lemon rind with no pith attached. I use a sharp vegetable peeler and then chop with a knife
2 cups dessicated coconut
For the icing
3 1/2 cups of icing sugar
6 tablespoons of strained lemon juice
30g butter
coconut to put on top (if I have it I used the standed or flaked one here)
To make
Wash lemons and prepare lemon zest.
Crush Marie biscuits. I don't have a food processor so I place the biscuits in two plastic bags and bash and roll with the rolling pin. This is how my mum did it when I was a kid. But a food processor is also quite effective, just don't over process. Some lumps are good for texture here.
Mix biscuit crumbs, lemon zest and coconut.
Melt butter and condensed milk together. Stir and add to the dry mix. Combine well.
Line a big roasting or slice tray(s) with baking paper. Pour in slice mix. Place a piece of baking paper over the top and press down with hands. Then use a flat sided glass to roll out and compress well. Place in fridge.
Juice enough lemons to provide 6 tablespoons of strained juice.
Melt butter.
Mix juice butter and icing sugar together until it has a smooth consistency.
Ice the slice and sprinkle with coconut. Press down gently with that bit of baking paper from before.
Refrigerate overnight and then lift out of pan and cut into small(ish) squares with a big knife.
* I know, I know. One could eat half a tin of condensed milk. Or let your child eat it. Or fight the cat for it. Or turn it into lemon cheesecake mix and repeat as before.


Grace was very excited when I said we were going to make gingerbread men for the fun day. There's a Richard Scarry video that she watches sometimes which features slightly scary gingermen. I thought it would be a fun thing we could do together; it was and it wasn't. First there was the bad taste when she sneaked a lick of the spice mixture and then the (not badly) burnt finger when she tried to taste the syrup mixture. That said, the rolling out of the gingermen and the icing of them was greeted with much enthusiasm. As was the eating.

However, I have to say that as far as eating goes, I'd prefer a softer textured gingerbread. Dark and slightly chewy on the outside. These were quite hard and would be really good for Christmas tree hanging and as small gifts. Recipe is adapted from Biscuits, The Good Cook, Time-Life Books 1982. For the cake stall, I made a double quantity and that was heaps, with some over for home.

You will need

125g brown sugar
125g golden syrup or honey (I think molasses would work well too if you like the taste)
1tsp ground cinnamon
some fresh nutmeg
some mixed spice (actually I might leave the mixed spice and nutmeg out next time - the recipe called for 1/8 ground cloves instead, which I didn't have)
1 tsp fresh grated ginger (I'd be tempted to add more next time, but I love ginger)
1 tsp powdered ginger
90g butter
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
500g plain flour
pinch salt
1 lightly beaten egg
glace icing made from icing sugar, a tiny knob of butter and hot water and then coloured with lurid food colourings

To make

Dissolve the sugar, honey or syrup, spices and butter over a low heat and slowly bring to gentle boil. Cool to room temperature and add the baking powder. It will froth a bit.

Make a well in the middle of the flour and salt. Add syrup mixture and the egg. MIx well and ten turn onto a floured board and knead until it all comes together. Wrap in plastic or grease proof paper and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Roll the cooled dough to about 3 mm thick and cut into shapes. Bake in a preheated oven 170C oven for 8-10 minutes or just until they start to colour.

When the gingerpeople are cool, ice with icing from an icing bag or using a plastic bag with a small corner cut off.