Thursday, 4 October 2012

I LOVE HobNobs! <3

HobNob Tiffin 
(Adapted from Jo Wheatley's White Chocolate Tiffin recipe from 'A Passion for Baking')

In September I entered a monthly baking competition which is hosted by Jo Wheatley over on her blog, ‘Jo’s Blue Aga’. At the beginning of each month she posts a new challenge for her readers to make, which is always a recipe from her new book ‘A Passion for Baking’, which was released back in the summer.

Jo was the winner of ‘The Great British Bake Off’ 2011 and she was definitely my favourite contestant during last year’s show. She came across as being such a lovely and humble person and it was great to see her getting better and better as the series went on. That loveliness still continues, she must be as busy as ever but what I am always amazed by is that she takes time to reply to messages – if you follow her on Facebook, you’ll know that you can ask her a question about a recipe in her cookbook and you’ll always get an answer, how rare and nice is that?

I hadn’t entered any baking competitions before but I was spurred on to give this one a little go I really had nothing to lose: 1) So far, all the recipes that I’ve tried from ‘A Passion for Baking’ have worked first attempt and, 2) Jo’s Facebook page is always really positive and in past competitions I’d noticed that everyone is really supportive of each other and their entries.

Septembers challenge was to make Jo’s White Chocolate Tiffin recipe. Tons of people entered and there were so many lovely entries! I didn’t win but I was pleased at how pretty my entry was in the end and I had lots of likes, yay! I kept the decoration uber simple with milk chocolate feathering and a sprinkle of glitter, everything in my eyes is better with some sparkle!


Rather than post Jo’s recipe exactly from her book, I freestyled after entering the competition and I made my own little milk chocolate version. It’s nothing revolutionary and it’s really just the original recipe with a few amendments, but my recipe contains *HobNobs*. I’m not sure if HobNobs are a biscuit brand that is known worldwide, but they are basically a small biscuit made from oats which are either covered in chocolate, or not.  I really LOVE Hob Nobs. This stems from childhood - as a kid I think I could have featured on ‘Secret Eaters’, the show for people who say that they don’t eat much, but when secretly filmed actually consume about 3000 calories over their RDA.

I wasn't the ‘fat kid’ in the class, but I definitely went through various phases of food addiction – Walkers cheese & onion crisps, chicken and mushroom pies (you think I’m lying), with chocolate HobNobs featuring heavily for a time. Luckily I managed to kick the pie habit but the pull of HobNobs is still too strong for my sweet tooth to resist, so much so that I generally never buy them because I couldn’t be trusted with a packet in the house. As a special treat I let them back into my life just as a one off for this recipe!


My HobNob Tiffin actually ended up tasting a bit like Cadbury’s Brunch Bars which are sold here in the UK, with more of a flapjacky, chewy bar consistency than regular tiffin or refrigerator cake. They really were lovely and actually overall tasted quite different to their white chocolate relative – much more buttery and squidgy. The only thing that I would change going forward would be to lessen the amount of milk chocolate on the top, it was just too much. I used two 230g bars of dairy milk and the layer of chocolate on top was a bit thick for my taste. Next time I would personally start with one 230gram bar and have a bar in reserve to add some more if needed.. this is all subjective depending on how much of a chocoholic you are! 


250g Plain HobNobs, or a similar oaty style biscuit
60g Desicated coconut
60 g Glace cherries, washed, dried and chopped finely
A handful of sultanas or raisins, chopped finely
130g Unsalted butter
2 tbsp Golden syrup
2 tbsp Malted drink powder
1 tbsp Caster sugar
230g-460g Milk Chocolate (depending on how thick you'd like your topping to be). Generally cheaper brands of chocolate melt better! 


- Lightly grease and base line a 30x23cm tin – work with what you’ve got if yours isn’t exactly this size

- Place the HobNobs into a large mixing bowl, and bash them up until they resemble small flakes/crumbs. Add the coconut, cherries and sultanas to the mix.

- In a pan, melt the butter, golden syrup, malted drink powder and sugar – over a low heat, stir until combined.

- Add the butter mixture to the biscuit mixture, making sure the biscuit mix is completely covered. Spoon this mixture into the prepared tin and smooth it out so that you have an even layer on the bottom of the tin – I press mine in with a fork so that it’s quite compacted. Cover with Clingfilm and leave to set in the fridge until firm and completely cool.

- Once your base is ready (this will take a couple of hours chilling out in the fridge) melt your chocolate either in short bursts in the microwave, or in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Spoon the chocolate over the biscuit base and return to the fridge until set! 

My top tips for this recipe are:

1 – Be careful when chilling the tiffin in the fridge - make sure you always cover it with clingfilm, or once cut store in an airtight tub. If you don’t the biscuits will pick up the taste of other things in the fridge, no-one wants a fridge cake that actually tastes of fridge! It doesn’t matter how clean your fridge is, strong flavours like onion/garlic will permeate into the biscuit:-/

2 – Don’t try and cut the tiffin straight from the fridge, give it a while to warm up a little and use a warmed knife (run it under the hot tap). If you don’t it will shatter, look at my pictures for evidence.

3 – If you don’t like one of the ingredients don’t despair, just swap them with the same amount of another dried fruit that you like better, or just leave it out.


You can find Jo’s blog here: 

Her cookbook is sold exclusively at Sainsbury's:



Em said...

you can never go wrong with a hobnob x

Louise Loves Cake said...

My sentiments exactly Em! Btw, I feel like a bit of a plonker, but last week I did a rose class at Fair Cake that my sister bought for me...I just didn't put two and two together and forgot you worked there, but on my way home I remembered and thought OMG - I think you were assisting that day - it was Friday? Xx

Unknown said...

Great post Louise, I'd forgot about hobnobs but they are now back on my biscuit list even if its just to make your delicious recipe.

Who you think is going to win GBBO the year? Brendan would be predictable!

Louise Loves Cake said...

Hi Asmaa! Thanks so much, they were really yummy!

I am so undecided on GBBO, last year Jo was my firm favourite but this year I can't settle on anyone. I think out of all of them, it is Brendan..I love how he's getting more confident and almost cries every time Mary gives him praise! I also think perhaps he could have a good career out of winning too, there are no other bakers out there like him, the fact that he's older and his retro baking style are definitely different!xXx

magie said...

I love the pretty pattern on your white chocolate tiffin..those look just so good!
I do enjoy a good hobnob as well..I had never had one till I moved over to the UK, we sadly don't get them in Canada (at least not to my knowledge).
I hope you are having a great weekend x

Louise Loves Cake said...

Hi Magie, that's so kind of you to say! Feathering is actually such an easy way of can see from the pics that my chocolate lines were not piped all that staraight, but once you run a cocktail stick through them it looks so much better :) I hope that you had a fabulous weekend too, I can't believe it's Monday already - boooo! xxx

Laura Loves Cakes said...

Your chocolate tiffins look amazing and I love the feathered look on the white ones. Jo's book is really good as there are so many manageable recipes to make! I'm with you on the hob nob addiction fact I may have to go out and buy a packet right now! ;-)

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