Deborah Ryan’s American Crunch

The Student Digestive: Baking to beat the stress

Photograph: Deborah Ryan

Photograph: Deborah Ryan

Fri, Jun 1, 2018, 12:43

  • Cooking Time: 30 mins
  • Course: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American


  • 115g butter
  • 60g sugar
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 75g desiccated coconut, plus extra for sprinkling.
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 140g plain flour
  • Chocolate Icing:
  • 60g butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 115g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 tsp vanilla


Stress can be quite consuming, as a student. There’s a lot to juggle, especially around exam season. Baking can be a good way to de-stress and get out of a study mindset. Another plus is that you can gift baked goods to other stressed out students, as we’re all in the same procrastinating boat.

Baking, another way of procrastinating, but with treats.

This is one of my dad’s recipes from New Zealand, where he grew up. They’re chocolate coconut biscuits, called, “American Crunch”. At this stage, my siblings and myself are like crack addic

ts for them. They’re crumbly and melt in your mouth, which may be due to the large quantity of butter in them. They’re topped with a fudgy chocolate icing and sprinkled with desiccated coconut. The best part is that you only need one pot to mix the ingredients in. It won’t take long to make and also it won’t take long for you and your housemates to demolish the whole tray.

*Warning: This requires adult equipment, as in a weighing scales. You can get one for around a tenner and they are useful to have.


• Preheat the oven to 180°c. Grease a 5” x 11” metal baking tray with some butter.

• Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients to combine.

• Press into the tin, making sure it’s even all around.

• Bake for 15 minutes until slightly golden around the sides.

• In the same saucepan, melt the butter and golden syrup and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until smooth.

• Spread the icing evenly on top. Sprinkle with some desiccated coconut and cut into squares