Gilded chocolate tiffin

Gilded chocolate tiffin
  • Serves icon Serves 16-20
  • Time icon Takes 15-20 min to make, plus setting and decorating

These decadent chocolate fruit and nut bars are from cake designer to the stars Fiona Cairn’s book Bake & Decorate. They make a special gift or after-dinner treat.


For the tiffin


  • 100g unsalted butter, diced, plus more for the tin
  • 80g shelled, unsalted pistachios (or hazelnuts or pine nuts)
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 100g 70% cocoa solids chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g plain biscuits (or even unsweetened cornflakes)
  • 80g dried sour cherries (or dried blueberries, cranberries, apricots or figs), finely chopped

To gild

  • 4–20 sheets of loose gold leaf, to taste and to budget!
  • 2 small paint brushes


  1. Lightly butter a 20cm square tin or Swiss roll tin and line it with clingfilm; this will make it easier to remove the tiffin later.
  2. Preheat the oven to 170ºC/fan 160ºC/340ºF/gas mark 3 1/2. Scatter the nuts on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes, shaking once and watching carefully to make sure they don’t burn, then remove and chop into chunks.
  3. Find a bowl that will fit over a pan of simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl does not touch the water. In the bowl, melt the butter, syrup and chocolate together. Place the biscuits in a large polythene bag, seal the top, then bash with a rolling pin until very finely crushed. Add the nuts, dried fruit and biscuits to the butter mixture and stir until all is very well blended.
  4. Spoon into the prepared tin (or the silicone moulds, if you are making nuggets) and set in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. If you have used a tin, wait until the tiffin is set, then bring to room temperature to make it easier to cut (it might crack if too chilled). Cut into 3cm squares, wiping the knife with kitchen towel between slices.
  5. The gold leaf needs to be applied very carefully in a room with no draughts. Take 1 square of tiffin or nugget at a time on to a work surface. Place the gold booklet close by and slide off 1 sheet, by gently holding the top 2 corners with the tips of the 2 paint brushes, using both hands. Static will cause the bristles to grip the sheet. Try not to breathe on or touch the gold before it is on the tiffin!
  6. Loosely place the gold on a tiffin square, or wrap it around a nugget, then smooth it down with a paint brush. If it tears, it doesn’t matter, you can choose to patch it or leave it as it is with the chocolate showing through. You can either lay the gold randomly over the squares, leaving many of them plain, or wrap each nugget completely in gold. Store in the refrigerator… or maybe the safe.

delicious. tips

  1. If you want to make nuggets, you will need silicone petit four tins. You can buy edible gold leaf from


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