Monday, 6 April 2009

Pooh Bear Honey Slice

Recently I have been seeking an elusive memory of a slice made of rice bubbles soaked in honey. Was it made by the mother of a childhood friend, or bought from a cake stall or even made in a student household.? I can’t remember but it is unlikely I had it in a café. It is not an impressive sort of slice. It was on the tip of my tongue, literally.

Last year I bought a Country Women’s Association (CWA), Victoria cookbook called The A to Z of cooked and uncooked slices. I like the homely feel of the cookbook which has no pictures and includes quaintly-named slices like Joan Collin’s Slice, Kiddie’s Delight and Churchill Squares but I would like an index. The recipes are obviously family favourites of CWA members and are full of great ideas, if not terribly healthy. I also love the home hints at the bottom of each page because when I was young I always loved the home hints column in the Australian Women’s Weekly.

My first attempt at a honey bubble slice was a dismal failure. I found a recipe that looked interesting. We don’t habitually have rice bubbles in our house so I bought a smaller organic packet of rice puffs which was more expensive and tasted horribly stale. Then I mixed it with honey and peanut butter and dried fruit and it tasted awful. I was going to throw it out but E bravely made his way through a lot of it. I think he liked it.

I lost interest until I surrendered and bought a box of regular rice bubbles for the Mars Bar Slice. Then I had to find ways to use the rest of the packet. So I thought I would try again at this honeyed memory. I returned to the CWA cookbook and found a slice with the cute name of Pooh Bear Honey Slice. It had ¾ cup of honey. This seemed a lot but I was game.

It was an easy melt and mix slice, like the mars bar slice. The recipe called for wheat bix but rice bubbles were a fine substitution. The result was a tooth achingly sweet and sticky, full of the intense honey flavour that I was seeking. It is not something that you can eat too much of but is pleasing in small pieces. I even wonder if I could put a little less honey next time.

The name, Pooh Bear Honey Slice, would appeal to literature’s greatest lover of honey. Yes, the small bear who said, isn’t it funny how a bear loves honey, buzz buzz buzz I wonder why he does. When I was young we didn’t have DVDs but we did have stories on vinyl records. My best friend had Pooh Bear stories on vinyl and I remember listening to over and over (and trying not to bounce around the room so vigorously that we scratched the record). By sheer coincidence on the day I made the slice, Sylvia was wearing her Pooh Bear suit from her Scottish grandparents. So you will understand that I felt compelled to take some photos of her suit and her toys for this post.

Pooh Bear Honey Slice
(From CWA The A to Z of cooked and uncooked slices cookbook)

125g butter
¾ cup honey
¼ cup desiccated coconut
¼ cup finely chopped peanuts
4½ cups rice bubbles

Melt butter and honey in a large saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Spread into a slice tray (18 x 28cm). Set in the fridge for a few hours and then cut and serve at room temperature. Mine lasted a week in an airtight container out of the fridge and probably would have lasted longer.

On the stereo:
The BBC Sessions: Belle and Sebastian

13 comments:

  1. For some reason, that slice reminds me of baklava, which I never liked because it was also "tooth achingly" sweet with honey--not a flavor I've ever enjoyed on its own (though my "honey" just loves it). But I love the Poo Bear toys and Sylvia's other goodies. Too cute!

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  2. Wonderful memories Johanna! and I enjoy the Pooh Bear toys. I loved reading that story to my boys didn't have the record.

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  3. Such a wonderful story, gorgeous honey slices, and beautiful photographs!! Poor Bear stories were my favorite when I was a child - thank you for bringing back the special memories!

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  4. I want to eat this right now. They look like these desserts that I had as a kid...rice based. Hmm, sweet, sweet nostalgia.

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  5. I had those Winnie the Pooh records! And yes, I believe ours died from listening to it over and over and over and over.

    These treats look delicious! I'm curious if you could lessen the sugar.

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  6. What an adorable name! I'm glad you found a more successful recipe - I like the sound of the coconut. Was it a very noticeable addition to the taste? The cookbook sounds good too - I like the idea of no-bake slices!

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  7. My mom used to make something similar. I don't often eat sweets, but honey is a good substitute for sugar. I bet these would be good if you included some peanut butter instead of the peanuts too.

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  8. Thanks Ricki - it is like baklava - I confess to loving honey, although I couldn't eat it all the time but go through phases when I am loving it

    Thanks Tanna - I love it how Pooh Bear is a part of people's childhoods in so many ways

    Thanks Astra Libra - I love how food brings back those childhood memories

    Thanks Bunches - yes, I love the nostalgia but wish I could remember where I had this slice years ago

    Thanks Mary - I think you could get away with less honey - Pooh Bear wouldn't approve though :-)

    Thanks Lysy - no-bake slices are great - I actually started thinking about them in summer when I wanted to bake without turning on the oven - the coconut does add to the texture but very subtly

    Thanks Lisa - I didn't like the peanut butter in the first version of the slice I tried but I felt that I should - not sure if it was the dodgy rice puffs that made it taste so bad - but I think I preferred the chopped peanuts in the slice (although I love my peanut butter)

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  9. This is such a neat recipe, and I love the name :). I'm sure Pooh Bear would approve. Great alternative to Rice Krispie Treats!

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  10. Wow 3/4 of a cup of honey does sound sweet although I suppose a lot of cakes have even more sugar than that.It sounds like a great treat in modest doses and who would ever say no to the name! :D

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  11. Thanks Sophie - Pooh Bear would love a slice or two!

    Thanks Lorraine - yes the name makes it sound much better but it is a lot of honey

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  12. I love Winnie the Pooh, I used to read the A. A. Milne books when I was young and have many fond memories of it. And these! They sound so delicious! Just curious, how much of the original ingredient (not rice puffs) were in the recipe? I'm aching to try them both ways!

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  13. Thanks Anon - The original recipe called for 4 1/2 cups weetbix (or you could substitute cornflakes) but I only had rice bubbles - I am sure it would be great with any of these cereals. Hope you love it like I do!

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