Thursday, April 25, 2013

ANZAC Biscuits

Today is ANZAC Day in Australia and New Zealand, a national day of remembrance to commemorate all the soldiers from both countries that have served in our armed forces. 25 April is the anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli of the ANZAC forces, the first major military action of our countries in the First World War. It's kind of the equivalent of Veterans Day in the US.

ANZAC Day can be pretty politically charged and almost never passes without some kind of "incident" in either Australia or New Zealand. I've talked a bit before about celebrating ANZAC Day as an Atheist. Today I did the same thing I do every year on ANZAC Day - I baked ANZAC Biscuits.

Tradition has it that ANZAC Biscuits include the slow-perishing ingredients they do so that they could be baked by "wives at home" and sent to the soldiers serving overseas. Or perhaps they don't include eggs because of shortages during the war. Because "ANZAC" is protected under Australian and New Zealand law, the recipe for ANZAC biscuits must be kept generally the same, with the basic ingredients unchanged. Technically, all those ANZAC Biscuits recipe variations with macadamias, or craisins, or whatever aren't really ANZAC Biscuits. Also they must be called "biscuits" and not "cookies".

My recipe is based on the Edmonds Cookery Book recipe. Edmonds is the New Zealand cooking bible and I wouldn't be without mine, although it's starting to look a little worse for wear. I double the recipe and substitute rapadura* for regular sugar and wholemeal for plain flour. So it's still true to the "correct" recipe! ANZAC Biscuits are really easy to make too.

ANZAC Biscuits
1      cup wholemeal flour
2/3    cup rapadura sugar
1 1/3  cups desiccated coconut
1 1/2  cups rolled oats
100g   butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp  baking soda
2 tbsp boiling water

Preheat oven to 180C. Stir together the flour, sugar, coconut, and rolled oats. Melt butter and golden syrup together (I just do this in a jug in the microwave). Dissolve baking soda in boiling water and add to butter and golden syrup. Stir butter mixture into dry ingredients. Place tablespoonsful of mixture onto cold greased trays. Flatten with a fork (mine never spread like they are supposed to so I have to flatten them). Bake for about 15 minutes until golden. If you bake for shorter time they will be chewy; longer time they will be crunchy. Cool on trays for extra crunch, or wire racks if you like them chewy (mine are chewy). Makes about 20. (The original recipe is supposed to make 20 but I have no idea how, my doubled recipe makes 20 and they're not huge).

* Rapadura sugar is evaporated sugar cane juice that is not refined or crystalised, is organic, and still includes all the molasses. It's similar to brown sugar but even less refined. It's grainier than regular sugar, but you don't notice it in crunchy-oaty-coconutty ANZAC Biscuits.

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