It seems that cutting out grains, legumes, dairy and processed food for the whole month of May is not enough of a challenge for some people. Last week the task masters at CFU West Melbourne put us to another test: to create a Paleo Tim Tam. (We’ve since realised they were just craving real Tim Tams and schemed a way for us minions to do the hard work for them, disguising it as some sort of Paleo Challenge Sub-Challenge. If they’re not careful we could have an anti-burpee uprising and multiple counts of soy lecithin coffee-spiking on our hands.)
For those of you not familiar with the Tim Tam, it consists of two layers of chocolate malt biscuit sandwiched together by a creamy chocolate filling, then coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate. Sounds pretty damn tasty, yes? (The rest of Australia thinks so. According to maker Arnott’s, 1 in 2 Australian households contains a packet of Tim Tams and around 35 million packets are sold each year. It’s crazy to think how our Paleolithic ancestors ever coped without them!) They come in all sorts of varieties including white chocolate, chewy caramel, double coat, choc mint…yes I think we have slight national obsession.
The Tim Tam Slam
One reason for the Tim Tam’s popularity is the practice known as the Tim Tam Slam, Tim Tam Shotgun, Tim Tam Bomb or Tim Tam Explosion, where a hot beverage is drunk through the Tim Tam like a straw. To do this, you bite off opposite corners of the Tim Tam, submerge one end in the beverage, and gently suck the beverage through the biscuit. The crisp inside biscuit softens, the outer chocolate coating begins to melt and one is forced to pop the whole gooey mess into one’s mouth, resulting in quite the foodgasm. For detailed instructions for doing the Tim Tam Slam, click here.
Given my general avoidance of sugar and resultant tendency to produce desserts that taste more like savouries, I initially wasn’t too enthusiastic to take on the Tim Tam Challenge. But after tasting very impressive creations from two other CFU members and spurred on by my inherent competitive streak, I bought a packet of coconut flour and got baking. Well, more accurately (let’s be honest here), the architect in me got sketching a single-point perspective diagrammatic cross-section:
The final biscuits didn’t exactly reflect the good intentions of my concept sketch, but I was still pretty happy with the results. Initially I was going to make them fructose-free, but as rice syrup is not technically Paleo (and I had no maple syrup on hand) I used honey as the sweetener. Feel free to adjust amounts of sweetener to personal taste (my recipe is not overly sweet). There are 3 parts to the recipe: the Chocolate Cashew Cream, the Chocolate Biscuit and the Chocolate Coating.
Chocolate Cashew Cream
- 3/4 cup of cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
- 4 heaped tbsp coconut cream
- 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 10-15 drops liquid Stevia (or to taste)
- Pinch of salt
Blitz all ingredients in a small food processor until smooth and creamy. It should be fluffy, spreadable and delicious. Try not to eat it all before the biscuit assembly.
I based this on Sadira’s Tim Tam recipe. Hopefully she doesn’t mind! Except I switched out the eggs and added some cacao nibs for extra chocolatey-ness.
- 100g almond/hazelnut meal (I used half half, use whatever you have on hand)
- 80g coconut flour
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (my mix seemed a bit dry, so I made it 3 tbsp)
- 2 tbsp ground chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water (vegan substitute for 2 eggs. Works a treat!)
- 2 tbsp raw honey or sweetener of choice
- 2 tbsp cacao nibs (optional)
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C (fan forced). In a food processor, pulse together the nut meal, coconut flour, cacao powder and salt. Add the coconut oil and pulse until just combined.
In another bowl, whisk together the chia mixture and honey until the honey is dissolved. Pop into the food processor along with the cacao nibs and pulse until the dough comes together. It should be firm enough to form into a ball.
Roll the dough out to about 5mm thick. Cut into Tim Tam-shaped rectangles, or use a square cookie cutter then cut each square in half. Pop on a biscuit tray lined with baking paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the edges start to lightly brown. Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 2tbsp cacao
- 2tbsp raw honey
- 1/2 tbsp ground chia seeds (optional)
Gently melt coconut oil in a small saucepan on the stove top. Add cacao and honey and heat until smooth, stirring constantly. Be careful not to bring to the boil because it could make the chocolate mixture split. Allow to cool slightly. I found the mixture was quite runny, so I added half a tablespoon of ground chia. It did thicken a bit, so experiment and see what works for you.
Line a baking tray or chopping board with cling wrap. Sandwich the biscuits together with the Cashew Cream, making sure to fill it out right to the edges and smoothing it off nicely. Be quite generous with the cream. It’s yum. (Once you’re done, then you can eat all the leftover cream. Or keep it to spread on your Paleo pancakes.)
Using a fork or tongs (or practicing your chopstick ninja skills), gently dunk each Tim Tam in the Chocolate Coating, turning to coat each side. Place on the tray. Repeat with the rest of the biscuits. I lined them all up closely together on the tray, then gently spread the leftover Chocolate Coating over the top to get a thicker layer.
Place in the fridge to set. IMPORTANT: I recommend leaving in the fridge overnight before eating to allow the biscuits to soften slightly. Otherwise the cream will explode out the sides (although you may enjoy this too).
So there you have it, the Paleo Tim Tam!