Recipes for using up stale bread or leftover scraps of pastry used to be part of a thrifty cook's repertoire. These recipes aren't seen so much anymore, but Recipe Swappers managed to find some when Donna Gylywoychuk wrote in about a treat her mother used to make by rolling strips of bread in coconut and then baking them.
Thanks to Albert Kolthof, who offered a recipe for a baked version called Cinderella Crisps, and to Rose Bowler, Margaret Sucharov and Lynn Jette for some no-bake chocolate-flavoured recipes. Margaret found her recipe in the Carillon Centennial Cookbook of 1974, a book she received as a young newlywed from her mother, then lost after lending out, then found again in a used bookstore. Lynn wrote in with a tried-and-true Chocolate Finger recipe she got from her mother-in-law.
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Stale bread, cut into strips 2.5 x 2.5 x 7.5 cm (1 x 1 x 3 inch)
Sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 220 C (425 F). Dip bread sticks in condensed milk and then roll in coconut. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake until golden.
Tester's notes: The amounts aren't specific here, since they depend on whatever amount of old bread you happen to have on hand.
I used sweet, eggy challah bread for this recipe, and the result, which is best served hot, was like a cross between candy and French toast. I found my coconut started to burn at the 4-minute mark, so I might lower the oven temperature slightly. I also found that the gooey coating stuck to my cookie sheet, even though it was well greased, so I'd advise lining baking sheets with parchment paper. I also might make my bread fingers a little smaller, to enhance the crispiness.
1 loaf white bread
90 ml (6 tbsp) cocoa
30 ml (2 tbsp) butter, melted
500 ml (2 cups) white sugar
180 ml (¾ cup) boiling water
10 ml (2 tsp) vanilla
Cut bread slices into fingers.
Place coconut in a shallow dish.
Combine cocoa, butter, sugar, boiling water and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent burning, for about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a fork, dip bread fingers into chocolate mixture and then roll in coconut. Place fingers on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper to cool.
Tester’s notes: These no-bake fingers taste a little like chocolatecoconut macaroons, but are quick and very easy.
If you find the chocolate mixture thickening while you dip the bread, just rest it over hot water.