chocolate dessert squares stacked

What is a tiffin? If you’re not in the U.K., you may not be familiar with this dessert. Recipe developer Catherine Brookes explains that tiffin is a Scottish dessert, and is a kind of no-bake refrigerator cake. Her version is made from crushed graham crackers, but gets its chocolate flavoring two ways: First, from the use of cocoa powder to flavor the crackers, and second, from a top layer made from melted chocolate chips.

Brookes describes the recipe as "incredibly simple but so indulgent and delicious." She says it’s meant for people who like chocolate with fruit, as it does contain quite a bit of the latter ingredient. That said, she explains that you could use nuts in place of or in addition to the fruit, if that’s your preference. As to what to pair this tiffin with, she suggests that "It’s perfect with a cup of tea or coffee."

Gather the ingredients for chocolate tiffin

ingredients for chocolate tiffin

To make this tiffin, you’ll probably be using graham crackers. Brookes uses the similar "digestive biscuits," as these not-too-sweet cookies are common in the U.K., but graham crackers will give the exact same effect. Brookes also uses something called "golden syrup," but the closest U.S. equivalent is honey, and in this recipe the substitution will make no difference. You’ll also need butter, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips. For mix-ins, Brookes uses raisins and glacé cherries, but says there’s "no problem subbing [in] nuts or dried and chopped dates, apricots, [or] prunes."

Prepare the pan and crumbs

bag of crushed graham crackers

Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan. You can also line it. This dish isn’t going to be cooked, so wax paper will do fine, as will foil, or you can skip the lining if you aren’t concerned about your tiffin coming out in perfect squares. You should also crush the graham crackers, either using a sealable sandwich-type bag and a rolling pin or a food processor. Brookes does say, though, that "If there are a few bigger chunks remaining, that’s okay."

Make the bottom layer

melted chocolate with crumbs

Melt the butter in a pan, then stir in the cocoa powder and honey. Stir in the cookie crumbs, raisins, and cherries. Spread this mixture over the bottom of the prepared pan, then use the back of a spoon or a spatula to smooth out the top of the tiffin as best you can. It doesn’t need to be perfectly smooth, just relatively flat and evenly distributed.

Cover the tiffin with melted chocolate

Pan with melted chocolate

Melt the chocolate chips. Brookes does this in the microwave in 30 second bursts, but if you prefer using a saucepan, you can do that, too. Once you have melted chocolate, drizzle it all over the chocolate crumb mixture in the pan, then use a spoon or spatula to spread it out in an even layer.

Chill the tiffin, then return to room temp before serving

pan of chocolate dessert squares

Put the tiffin in the refrigerator for 2 hours to set up. Before you slice it, though, it’s best to let it return to room temperature, as this way the top layer will be less likely to crack. Brookes advises that the tiffin can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container, and should stay reasonably fresh for around 5 days or so. As for serving suggestions, she says "It’s lovely on it’s own," but adds that "you could always eat it in a bowl with some ice cream."

When you want a cake-like treat that requires no baking at all, you might want to try your hand at this easy chocolate tiffin recipe.

  • 14-ounce package graham crackers
  • ⅓ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup honey
  • ¾ cup + 3 tablespoons butter
  • ⅔ cup raisins
  • ⅔ cup glacé cherries, halved
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Grease and line an 8×8-inch or 9×9-inch square baking pan.
  2. Crush the graham crackers.
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring in the honey and cocoa powder.
  4. Stir the cracker crumbs, raisins, and cherries into the chocolate mix
  5. Spread the chocolate and crumb mixture into the prepared pan, smoothing it down with the back of a spoon or spatula.
  6. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring after each burst to prevent burning.
  7. Pour the melted chocolate on top of the crumb layer and spread to cover it evenly.
  8. Refrigerate the tiffin for at least 2 hours.
  9. Let the tiffin return to room temperature before slicing to prevent the top layer from cracking.