Hedgehog Slice


Our local library invariably has a small display of books that are for sale. These are either former library books or (I am guessing) they are books that people have donated that the library has chosen not to add to its collection. That’s the only way I can explain why some have barcodes and some don’t. The books are always insanely cheap (20c for a paperback) and while the number and range available varies widely, it is always worth spending a minute or two perusing.

A month or so ago I picked up Basics to Brilliance: Slices Recipes, put together by Family Circle and published only a few years ago. For some reason, I have it in my head that now that Master 4 is at pre-school (and soon to be at school) slices should be a part of my repertoire. I don’t know why I think that – I’m not the type of parent who includes sweet treats in a lunch box and we certainly don’t have cake and friends all the time at home.

I’ve spent quite a lot of time poring over this book and even managed to induce some cookbook envy in at least one friend. Even though the book was only published in 2007 the recipes definitely have a slightly old fashioned feel to them. I’m not sure that had this book been produced in the 70s or 80s it would have been much different.

And that is a good thing – there’s a reason why classics are classics. Some things just work and taste good. And don’t need trend driven labels attached to them.

Last weekend we were heading to my cousin’s house for my aunt’s birthday celebrations and we were planning on taking a plate of charcuterie with us. However, a quick check meant my cousin requested something sweet and, on very limited time, I consulted the book and found the hedgehog slice.

Many slice recipes are a bit time consuming because you have to deal with layers. Not so the hedgehog and it has the bonus of being a refrigerator cake – no oven and perfect if you are wanting an activity to do with a small child. If you are really pushed for time then you can skip the ganache topping.

Hedgehog Slice


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • ½ cup caster sugar
  • 125g plain, sweet biscuits (I used a plain shortbread)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup coca powder
  • 1 egg
  • ganache
  • 125g dark chocolate
  • 30g unsalted butter


  1. Line a 20cm square tin with foil. If you only have a larger tin - don't worry. The hedgehog mixture is very thick and will stay in one part of the tin.
  2. In a pan, heat the butter and sugar until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved.
  3. Lightly crush the biscuits. Put them in a freezer bag and give them a gentle beating with a rolling pin.
  4. Chop the walnuts. I did this in the food processor - you want them reasonably chunky so with a knife would be fine.
  5. Lightly beat the egg.
  6. Once the sugar has completely dissolved, reduce the heat to low and add the biscuits, cocoa and walnuts. Stir well and then remove from the heat.
  7. Allow to cool a little and then mix the egg through thoroughly.
  8. Pour into your pan and flatten off. Put in the fridge to set.
  9. Once the hedgehog is set (this will only take half an hour to an hour), make the ganache. Melt the chocolate and butter together (in the microwave for speed and ease) until smooth, allow to cool and thicken slightly and then spread over the hedgehog.
  10. Using a fork, create a wavy pattern if desired.
  11. Refrigerate again. When ready to serve, cut into squares. It should make around 16-20 pieces.
  12. Best served straight from the fridge.

Nigella’s Chocolate Nut Bar

Nigella Lawson's Chocolate Nut Thing

Normally, when I go to a lunch or dinner at a friend’s house I take some chocolate brownies. But it has been so hot here in Adelaide that there was no way I was putting on the oven. No way at all.

I don’t really do a lot of no-bake desserts so I was at a bit of a loss, until I was around at my parents’ house and my dad had made some sort of peanut-chocolate-biscuit bar thing that he’d seen on a Nigella Lawson program on TV (I don’t know which one – whatever is on TV at the moment … does anyone know?!).

Of course, being dad he had changed things and me, being me and hating peanuts and all (seriously – they’re not even NUTS – that really winds me up) a few things had to change further. I had a search around the internet and found a few recipes and had a discussion with him about what he had done and not done and I was ready to go.

Begin by melting 200g of dark chilli chocolate with 90g of salted butter and 1 tbsp of golden syrup. If you’re looking for speed here, you’ll do that in the microwave! And my top golden syrup hint is to coat your spoon in a flavourless oil (I used peanut) – that way the syrup will slide off effortlessly and you won’t have a sticky mess to clean up.

Once the chocolate is melted, stir in a generous pinch of salt. I used ½ tsp which, with the salted butter, might be a tad too much for some (it makes the finished product very moreish, I have to say). Then mix in about 150g of roughly chopped nuts (I used raw macadamias, my dad is on to using hazelnuts and I think brazils would work a treat too – so use your favourite nut). Finally stir in 170g of chopped KitKat. Here again, I used this because I love KitKats and 170g is the size of the big bar you can buy. I used the milk KitKat but my dad maintains you have to use the dark. But use your favourite chocolate bar – because a Violet Crumble mixed through it would be awesome too!

Grab a baking tray, cover it with baking paper, spread the chocolate mixture over it and pop in the fridge for at least 4 hours – preferably overnight. If the weather’s stupidly hot, a quick sojourn in the freezer won’t do it any harm (particularly if you have to transport it).

Once it’s set, cut or break into bite size pieces and enjoy.  Aside from the setting time, this is really quick and painless to make – if it’s late at night and you need to make something for a shindig the next day … this is it!