Going Local for SHF #34 was going to prove problematic, I thought. Sure, we have Lamingtons, Pavlovas, TimTams and Vegemite – some of which have contentious origins, as far as being “Australian” goes. Apparently the first pavlova recipe was made in New Zealand, for example, and one of my favourite biscuits, the Anzac, appears to have come from parallel origins.
As there really is no reason to recreate something already as perfect-from-the-packet as the TimTam (unless of course you want to pimp that snack), I present to you, the humble Anzac Biscuit (originally an oat biscuit, now renamed to commemorate the ANZAC forces). My love affair with these deliciously chewy biscuits, stem from their simplicity in being cobbled together (one pan, one bowl, one spoon). These biscuits have no egg in them; rather, they are bound together by the inclusion of golden syrup, which based on the history of their origins, is partly due to the fact that eggs were scarce during the war. Aside from the great taste golden syrup lends, the lack of egg also enables them to stay fresh for longer. But like Belinda Jeffery says, it’s not often these popular biscuits would last that long in your house anyway.
It is also worth checking out this interesting article about the “Anzac Biscuit Myth”. And while you’re at it, why not whip up a batch of these biscuits. We can argue about where they come from, but there’s definitely no debate about where they’re going to end up – down the hatch, with a good cup of tea!
Anzac Biscuits :
(Recipe from Belinda Jeffery’s Mix & Bake)
90g rolled oats (not quick cooking oats)
50g shredded coconut
150g plain flour
165g castor sugar
125g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
whole blanched almonds (optional) for topping
Preheat your oven to 160’C. Line a couple of large baking trays with baking paper and set aside. In a large bowl, thoroughly mix together the oats, coconut, flour and sugar.
Put the butter and golden syrup into a small saucepan over low heat and warm them, stirring occasionally, until the butter has melted. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the boiling water and bicarbonate of sodar and stir them in briefly; just be a bit careful as the mixture froths up. Pour this buttery liquid into the oat mixture along with the vanilla extract. Quickly stir the two together until they’re thoroughly combined.
Roll the resulting sticky dough into walnut-sized balls, then flatten them slightly and sit them at least 5cm apart (as they spread quite a bit) on the prepared baking trays. Press an almond, if using, into the top of each biscuit; the almonds are really just a bit of window dressing to make them looking a bit different, so you certainly don’t have to use them. Depending on the size of your oven, you may find you need to bake these in batches.
Bake for 16-20 minutes or until the biscuits are deep golden brown but still soft, then remove them from the oven. Leave them to cool on the trays for a few minutes, then carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.