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Fifteens - a recipe for people who can't bake


I brought you back a present from Belfast.

Fifteens are a traditional Northern Irish recipe, origin unknown.

No actual baking and hardly any measuring is required, so they are perfect for when your oven is kaput or you are a crap baker.

You could give these as a gift at Christmas and fool people into thinking you can actually bake.

Fifteens are so called because there are 15 of most of the ingredients:

  • 15 digestive biscuits
  • 15 glace cherries
  • 15 large marshmallows
  • 150 mls of condensed milk. If you can get the squeezy tubes of condensed milk these are 170 mls so you can just use most of a tube without measuring
  • 50ish grams of desiccated coconut - say a few handfuls

And the method is super simple. No baking, no measuring, precious little technique:

  • Crush the digestives. You can do this in by putting them in a bag or a bowl and bashing with a rolling pin or any blunt object. Aim for about 90% dust and a few bigger crumbs
  • Cut the marshmallows and glace cherries in half
  • Combine the digestives, marshmallows and cherries in a bowl
  • Add the condensed milk to the bowl and combine to form a solid, slightly sticky dough. This is the only point in which it can go wrong because not enough and it won't stick together, too much and your mixture will be too sticky. It'll be tasty either way so don't sweat it.
  • Sprinkle the coconut on a flat surface 
  • Combine the contents of the bowl with your (clean) hands. Form it into a thick sausage and roll it over the coconut. You might get two sausages out of this much mixture. Press plenty of coconut into the outside of your sausage.
  • Put whatever results into the fridge for 2-3 hours to firm up. After that, slice it up and it should look like the picture above. You'll get anywhere from 12-20 pieces depending on the girth of your sausage and the generosity of your slicing.


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