Anzac biscuits are wonderfully easy, seemingly healthy biscuits (cookies to you Statesideans). I never grew up eating them but I learned how to make them during Home Economics in grade 8 (first year of high school), where I impressed the teacher with my naff sewing skills (home sweat shop; I churned out those pillowcases while my classmates struggled to thread the machine) and inability to discern the difference between parsley and coriander (she asked us to bring in parsley and when I asked what it was, she showed me a picture. I was so happy: we had plenty growing in the backyard. My shepherd’s pie ended up tasting a bit funny. First foray into fusion cooking!) The Home Ec teacher was also flabbergasted that I had no idea what oats were but after the coriander confusion, she said she would bring some in for me. I’m sure she dreaded it when I stuck my hand up to say, “Miss? What’s thyme?” or “Miss? What’s brown sugar?”
I love these biscuits. They might keep for a long time (so the story goes – they are so named because women in Australia and New Zealand made them for men (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) fighting on far away shores during The Wars) but they barely lasted a morning when I took them into work recently. Best compliment on a biscuit? The girl who never eats anything sweet or remotely bad, eating two and emailing me to ask for the recipe.
You will need:-
- rolled oats (1 cup)
- plain flour (1 cup)
- desiccated coconut (1 cup)
- sugar (1/2 cup)
- butter (125 grams)
- golden syrup (2 tablespoons) *
- boiling water (2 tablespoons)
- bi-carbonate soda (1 teaspoon)
- a big mixing bowl
- a saucepan
- baking trays
- greaseproof paper
How to make them:-
- At some stage during this procedure, preheat your oven to 160 degrees celsius. My oven is electric and warms up really quickly, so I turn it on when I am rolling the biscuit patties (Step 8). You’ll also want to line your baking trays with greaseproof paper preferably before you get your hands all dirty rolling the patties, but if you forget, it’s useful to have a Partner on hand whom you can plaintively call for help.
- Dump all the dry ingredients (oats, sugar, flour, coconut) into the large mixing bowl together. Leave them alone.
- Melt butter in a saucepan.
- Boil some water in a kettle.
- When the butter (125 grams) is all melted, add golden syrup (2 tablespoons) and freshly boiled water (1 tablespoon).
- Add bi-carbonate of soda (1 teaspoon). Supposedly, this will make your melted butter and golden syrup mixture foam up. I have never had this experience, which is terribly sad for me. Here’s hoping yours foams up. I have no idea what purpose this serves but nor I have had the guts (yet) to skip this part.
- Add the (non) foaming melted butter / golden syrup mixture to the dry ingredients and mix it all up. Don’t worry about making sure it’s mixed in really well, this will happen at the next step.
- About here might be where you turn your oven on to pre-heat and certainly where you want to line your baking trays.
- Form roughly a tablespoon full of dough into little patties, about 5 cm (2 inches) in diameter and 1 cm (1/4 of an inch) in height.
- Place these on your greaseproof paper lined baking tray, leaving about 5cm between each.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cool on the baking tray for a few minutes; this is very important because if you try to move them straight to a cooling rack, they will fall apart and you will not have Anzac biscuits. Instead, you will have really tasty oaty crumbs. Not that that has ever happened to me.
- After about 10 minutes of cooling, you will have yummy soft, chewy Anzac biscuits. You can also call them cookies if that’s your bent.
- After a day of cooling, you will have harder, crunchier Anzac biscuits.
- You can send these far and wide. Or just eat them before they even cool down.
A word on Golden Syrup:
I hear this is difficult, if nigh impossible, to obtain in the US of A. I reckon you’ll be fine substituting with honey, possibly even with maple syrup, maybe with molasses (though I’m not sure on the last because I don’t really know what molasses is but where it’s in a recipe, I’ve substituted with golden syrup without disastrous results). Your biscuits (cookies) won’t taste like mine, but I think they’ll still be pretty damn tasty and reasonably close to the original. Well, you’ll be in the right ballpark anyway. And that’s all that counts (per me).
Update on Golden Syrup (Thank you wonderful friends!)
- Treacle is probably a better replacement (thanks, Kirsty!)
- Molasses is probably too dark and too flavoursome to be a substitute. A blend of plain corn syrup and molasses might be better. (thanks, Nikkipolani and Wandering Chopsticks!) NB – none of us have tried this. If you do, I’d be totally chuffed if you report back …