I would definitely consider myself adventurous with food and love trying out the famous dishes and baked goods from countries all over the world. Last year I not only went to Japan, Korea, and the Middle-East with my kitchen adventures, but also Nigeria, Russia, and Finland. I like to think I’m culinary well-travelled, but one place that has never once popped up on my curiosity list is Australia. I’m not sure if it’s because a lot of the food can be similar to that of the UK, or I just don’t find it exciting, but today, the day I discovered what a Tim Tam is, I realised I’ve been sorely missing out.
Similar to last week’s Japanese baking adventures, this week I attended Bread Ahead’s Introduction to Australian Baking course. I’ve got to admit, before reading about this course I hadn’t really heard of a Tim Tam, but I soon learned that it was very similar to a British biscuit called a Penguin, where two biscuits are sandwiched together with a malted chocolate ganache, and then covered in chocolate. How had this not crossed my path before?!
The chocolate biscuit dough was very slight but sticky and had to be put in the fridge to rest and firm up before I could cut the individual biscuits out. The instructor informed us that Tim Tams are normally rectangular, but instead of cutting the biscuits out roughly with a knife, we could make life easier and just use a round cookie cutter. I followed his advice and picked out, what I thought was an appropriate sized cutter, only to realise about ten steps later that I cut them way too big! They looked a normal size whilst the thin biscuits were laying on the baking tray, but as soon as I started to construct them, spreading the delicious chocolate buttercream in the middle, I saw that they were easily the size of my palm – not exactly a small bite! It was too late to go back, plus who was I kidding, giant biscuits are exactly the sort of thing I want to be baking, but for the sake of making them the right way I luckily had some leftover dough in the fridge that hadn’t been cut yet.
The malted powder that was meant to go into the buttercream filling was ridiculously expensive here, so I tried to make it a bit more exciting by adding some sea salt flakes to the mix. It turns out this was a little too good, as I nearly demolished half of the buttercream before it got anywhere near the biscuits – licking the icing is half the fun of baking right? Anyway, once I’d torn myself away from the spoon and sandwiched the biscuits together, I left them in the fridge to set before getting to the really exciting part, the chocolate coating.
I’ve tried tempering chocolate before, and although doable, it is a bit tricky, so I was pleased that the course gave a handy hack to get a similar looking result. Normally, when melted chocolate dries it goes a bit dull, giving the finished product a bit of an unappetising finish. For the Tim Tams, we added a little butter to the melted chocolate and I was surprised to be left with a shiny and glossy chocolate coated biscuit.
These are so flipping delicious, it won’t be the last time I’m baking some. I love this type of biscuit for the afternoon munchies: not splashy or fancy enough for a dessert, but chocolatey and crunchy enough to make it a treat. They’re very simple to make, and just require a little time for chilling the dough and then the buttercream, so I definitely encourage you to have a go if that sounds like your type of thing (did I mention they’re covered in chocolate?!). I’ve looked around and found a similar sounding recipe to what I used here.
I don’t think I’ll be overlooking any country’s local dishes from now on!