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Tuesday 30 March 2010

Baking for Beginners: Fifteens

If, like me, you're less talented in the kitchen than most of the Domestic Sluts, you need to keep a few tricks up your sleeves. Lacking in baking confidence, I was continually at a loss about what to make when asked to provide a sweet treat. That's until my friend Rachael taught me how to make fifteens. Though they still seems something of a novelty at London's kitchen tables, apparently it's a very common recipe where she grew up in Northern Ireland. Like the Chocolate Fridge cake the recipe requires no oven cooking and derives its tastiness from simply chucking lots of good things together.

They're called fifteens because you use 15 of each of the main ingredients. Traditionally this also includes glacé cherries but I tend to miss them out - there's already more than enough teeth aching sweetness in this recipe without them.

You will need (makes approximately 20 slices):
  • 15 large marshmallows
  • 15 digestive biscuits
  • 15 glacé cherries, halved (optional)
  • 397g tin of condensed milk
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconuts
Make it!
  • Put your digestive biscuits into a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to crush them as finely as possible.
  • Cut your marshmallows into quarters (or you could use mini marshmallows instead) and put them with the crushed digestives in a large bowl. If you've decided to use the glacé cherries, add them in too.
  • Gradually pour in the condensed milk and mix the ingredients together until they become a soft, moist dough.
  • Get a large sheet of baking paper. It needs to be about double the width of your baking tray. Put it onto the tray and cover the paper with a layer of the flaked coconut.
  • Transfer your dough onto the paper and shape into a long rectangle, roughly one inch thick. The marshmallows will stick out and make it look a bit odd but trust me, it'll taste good.
  • Cover the top of the dough with the rest of your coconut.
  • Wrap the dough up with the paper and leave them in your fridge for at least 3 hours. It works best if you're able to leave them overnight.
  • Once hardened, slice up the log into small slices and serve with coffee: fifteens make for perfect elevenses.


  1. This sounds perfect for someone like me (who can't bake. At all). I think I'd miss out the cherries too.

  2. Ah yes, fifteens. The best thing that growing up in Northern Ireland taught me :) Plus now I can feed them to my London friends and they go crazy for them!

  3. An Irish friend taught me to make these, but we make them in balls. We form the 15s into balls though, and then roll them in the coconut. They disappear from the fridge like nothing else!

  4. These sound awesome! Who needs baking anyway?

  5. They truly have changed my life! Katherine, complete agree with the success of Fifteens here in London: they always get snapped up really quickly. Also love Lina's tip too on making them into balls - that'll help with the speedy eating!

  6. I found this whilst in the middle of a bad day at work and just reading it made me feel better. Went home and made them - buying loads of items from the 'oooh I daren't' section of the shop + smashing up biscuits = an amazing stress reliever. Thanks sluts! x


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