My Christmas baking this year has included a special Aussie Christmas treat: Chocolate Slice. I made this sweet slice for two pre-Christmas functions last week and, on each occasion, it was a great hit. So much so, many people asked me for my recipe.

If you live in Australia or New Zealand, you’ll know what I mean by a “slice”. Apparently, the baking term “slice” is used only by those of us down under. In the UK folk speak of a “tray bake”, while in the USA, the equivalent is a “cookie bar”.

This year, I decided to use my Chocolate Slice recipe to produce a dinky-di Aussie Christmas treat by adding chopped crystallized ginger and almond slivers to the basic recipe. These two ingredients enhance both the flavour and the texture of the caramel-sweet chocolate-flavoured oats-and-coconut biscuit base. To complete the slice, I covered the biscuit base with a thick coat of chocolate icing.

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My recipe for Chocolate Slice is not new. I acquired it about 40 years ago. Since then, I’ve baked Chocolate Slice over and over again. The recipe is foolproof, and easily modified. I often add small quantities of dried fruit and nuts to the basic recipe, and the result is just as successful.

I’ve been collecting (and sharing) recipes for years (read Health Slice: Classic 1980s low-fat fare). I began to stock-pile recipes soon after I was married, in the mid-1970s. Since that time, I’ve lost count of the number of recipes I’ve accumulated. Each one has its own story. With few exceptions, I associate each recipe with a particular person, place and time.

The recipe for Chocolate Slice is a good example.

A dear old lady I knew when my husband Tony and I lived in Bundaberg shared her Chocolate Slice recipe with me. In my mind’s eye, she is “old” because, at the time (the late 1970s), I was in my late 20s and she was in her late 60s. Of course, now that I am in my late 60s, perhaps she wasn’t so old after all!

“Mrs Y” (as I will dub her) was one of many home cooks who supplied goodies for fellowship meals held regularly by our church in Bundaberg. She was typical of the church women – extremely capable, generous and (above all) modest. Of course, when I asked Mrs Y for a copy of her Chocolate Slice recipe, she was more than happy to oblige.

When I first met Mrs Y, she and her husband were living in a house next door to the church. Mrs Y was still active and in good health, but her husband (who was about eight years older than her) was quite frail. He spent the latter period of his life in a Bundaberg nursing home. Mr Y died in 1977. After nearly 50 years of marriage (the couple married in 1928), Mrs Y became a widow. She went on to outlive her husband by almost 10 years. Mrs Y died on 12 January 1987. As members of the church would have said, “She went on to Glory”.

Tony and I left Bundaberg and moved to Rockhampton in 1984. I’ve written about this in A loving gift, potent words (December 26, 2015). After leaving Bundaberg, I had no further contact with Mrs Y. I didn’t see her again.

However, I have not forgotten Mrs Y. Every time I use her recipe, I think of her and thank God for her life and legacy. And as I think of her, and her extended family, I recall the fellowship and witness of the church to which we all belonged. Mrs Y’s example, like that of so many others in that church, made a positive lasting impact on me and my husband. Indeed, Tony and I still keep in contact with people we knew in that church so long ago.

I regard my decision to include Chocolate Slice in my Christmas baking this year as a metaphor for the year that’s been.

The year 2020 is one most of us are unlikely to forget. I think (I hope) we’ve learnt a few lessons from the difficulties we’ve experienced this year.

#1. Draw on the past, but live in the present, and be willing and able to adapt to an ever-changing, uncertain world.

My recipe is an old one, but I still use it today and adapt it as needs be.

#2. Appreciate others and what they contribute to your life. We need each other – for support, encouragement, inspiration. Individualism and independence are out; community and interdependence are in.

I wouldn’t have this recipe at all if I hadn’t been part of a loving, supportive church community. My Chocolate Slice recipe is a reminder of how much I gain and learn from being connected to other people.

#3. Make the most of the time you have been allotted. Use your energies and gifts to bless others. Leave a legacy that lives on long after you have departed this earthly life.

Mrs Y blessed others by her home cooking, even when she was “old”. That she gave me her recipe for Chocolate Slice, I have been truly blessed over many years, and I continue to be so. For me, that’s her tangible legacy. And now I am sharing her recipe with you, so you may be blessed too.

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Biscuit base:
125g butter
1 dessertspoon (10mL) syrup
¾ cup brown sugar
1 cup Self Raising Flour
1 cup rolled oats
½ cup coconut
1 dessertspoon cocoa
6-8 pieces crystallized ginger, finely chopped
¼ cup almond slivers

Chocolate icing:
1½ cups icing sugar (not icing mixture)
1 tablespoon good quality cocoa
1 dessertspoon melted butter
hot water to mix


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius (160 degrees Celsius fan-forced).
  2. Line a small slice tin (27.5 cm x 17.5 cm x 3.5 cm) with baking paper.
  3. Place butter and syrup in a saucepan on the stovetop. Heat gently until the butter melts. Add the brown sugar and stir until smooth.
  4. Combine remaining biscuit base ingredients.
  5. Add butter mixture to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Spread evenly in the prepared tin.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  8. Leave in tin and cover with chocolate icing while hot.
  9. Cut into squares when cool.

Source: “Mrs Y” (late of Bundaberg), adapted by Judy Salecich


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Judith Salecich

Writer, researcher, former secondary and tertiary teacher and public servant, wife, mother, grandmother, child of God, photography enthusiast, lover of life, history, food and all things creative.

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13 thoughts on “Chocolate Slice: An Aussie Christmas Treat”

  1. Hi Judy,
    Thanks for the recipe and the story. My recipes remind me of the person I got them from each time I make them. Your comment about slices being known as something else in the UK and USA was interesting. One of my recipes is called Dutch Almond and Ginger Cake and was given to me by a Dutch friend. This is also what we call a slice.

    • Dear Steve. Thanks for sharing with us about your Dutch friend and his recipe. Yes, it is interesting how people in different parts of the world name similar foodstuffs. Apparently a slice refers to a “part” of anything that is cut up! That makes it very general, doesn’t it? Kind regards, Judy.

  2. Hi Judy This looks so yummy. I will have to make it. This recipe sounds as though it has everything. Not good for the waist line I expect however what does
    that matter at this special season. May we take this opportunity to wish you
    and Tony and the family a Happy Christmas and a happy and healthy 2021.

    May you receive God’s Blessing at this special time
    Love Neville and Margaret

    • Dear Margaret and Neville. As always, it’s a pleasure to hear from you and receive your feedback on my blog stories. I hope you make the Chocolate Slice and like it. You are right – it is somewhat indulgent. But remember, I did call it a “treat”. Just a wee bit from time to time. Many blessings to you both too. Love, Judy. xx

  3. Thank you for what I would imagine would be your blog/article for 2020. Your various pieces through out the year, have been a delight to read, with a wealth of incorporated information…both historical, and anecdotal. Again, thank you.

    With best wishes to yourself, and family, for Christmas, along with the coming New Year of 2021.

    • Correction….I never proof read my Comment. The line should read – “would be your last blog/article for 2020.”

    • Dear Graham. How lovely to receive your feedback on what you recognized will be my last blog post for 2020. I’m so pleased you have enjoyed reading my articles throughout the year. It gives me much satisfaction to research and write them, then to know that people find them interesting and informative. All the best to your and your family this Christmastime. Let’s pray 2021 is a good year for us all. King regards, Judy.

  4. Thank you, Judith, I love your stories and your recipes…
    You are definitely not old as yet… and I don’t claim the title either.
    Have a lovely Christmas young lady and a happy and healthy New Year!

    • Dear Chris. Thank you for your encouraging comments about my stories and recipes (from one writer and cook to another!). Yes, I think we are only as old as we are in our head. Perhaps you can relate to that! Christmas blessings to you and yours too. Love, Judy.

  5. Thank you once again Judy for all your marvellous stories and recipes during 2020. Surely has been a difficult year for many but it did give some of us ‘bakers’ extra time to try a few different recipes to help sweeten the time in lock-down. Your chocolate slice looks rather delicious. I will try it out when next I am baking – hopefully not in a lock-down!!

    Christmas blessings to you and Tony and the family from Ian & me. Keep blogging in 2021 – I really enjoy reading about all those little towns that were really the heartbeat of the country in days gone by. Hopefully many of them might come alive once again before they are completely forgotten.

    Merry Christmas
    Betty & Ian

    • Dear Betty. I am so encouraged by your comments – thank you! I’m so pleased you’ve enjoyed my stories this past year. I do hope you like the Chocolate Slice when you try the recipe. I am so grateful that we can keep in touch with you and Ian. Tony and I hope that you have had a blessed Christmas season, and we wish you well for the coming year. As believers, we always have hope! Lots of love, Judy. xx

  6. Hi Judy, it is always great reading your blogs and recipes, I will try this one sometime. Guess I don’t bale as often as I used to as there is only John & I & we do not go anywhere much. Cant’t share food over the phone only recipes and a lot of people do not bake cakes etc.

    • Dear Nancy. How lovely to hear from you again. Thank you for responding to my last blog post. I do hope you have the opportunity to try my recipe one day. I do understand that you don’t have much need to bake these days. I do hope you and John had a happy and holy Christmas season. Love, Judy.

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