Australian Hedgehog

Hiya.  Sometimes you make and eat new things.  Sometimes you indulge in a little saccharine nostalgia.  This delectable treat is called a hedgehog slice.  Say it.  Now in an Australian accent (really go crazy with the “sloyyyeece”).  You got it.

These chocolate goodies are the reason I put on fifteen pounds the year I spent in Australia in high school.  (Ok, they also didn’t really do after school sports, which made me happy and my cross country coach back home very unhappy).  I ate one nearly everyday for recess, which occurred a couple hours before lunch.  Recess in Australia was a very civilized fifteen minute tea break at 11am.  In which I consumed a hedgehog slice.  (Or a vanilla slice for non-chocolatey days.)  These bloggers indulged my request for Aussie sweets on their fantastic foreign food blog.  I’m returning the favor with the best aussie treat I know.   Now, I have found many different variations on this roaming around the internet.  This recipe (via) turned out the most authentic to a small high school in Victoria, Australia-style hedgehog slice.

The Hedgehog Slice

WHAT:
180g butter
2/3 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
2 tsp vanilla extract
500g of morning coffee biscuits (This is very important.  Biscuits here means cookies.  But dry, flavorless, packaged cookies that are only good dipped in tea.  I bought “tea cookies” in the Polish section of my small grocery.  Maybe try maria cookies?  I also kind of eyeballed the amount.  I ended up with about 450g.  It will look like there is far too little chocolate with far too many cookies.  This is good.  The chocolate is really there to coat the cookies and hold them together.)
shredded coconut for topping

HOW
1) Grease or line with parchment paper a 9×9 baking pan.
2) Combine the butter, milk, sugar, cocoa and vanilla in a saucepan. Stir over a low heat until sugar is dissolved, then bring to a boil and remove from heat.
3) Place biscuits in a large plastic bag and very roughly crush with a rolling pin (you want some big pieces and some little pieces).
4) Tip the crushed biscuits into a large bowl, add the melted butter mixture and mix well.
5) Press mixture firmly into prepared pan and sprinkle with coconut.
6) Refrigerate until firm. Cut into small pieces to serve.

Makes about 30 pieces. The slices will keep for several days in an airtight container in the fridge.

note:  I added in a few peanuts for fun.  Cherries would be awesome.  Go wild.

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