Wednesday, 25 April 2007

A short history lesson told by a biscuit

Today is Anzac Day, a very special day for both Australia and New Zealand. It is the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. Since I couldn't wake up in time for the dawn service, I thought that I would pay my respects in the way I know best...yes, it is yet another good excuse to bake. Bake biscuits to be precise. Not just any biscuit...of course it had to be Anzac biscuits.

There are a few versions concerning the origins of the Anzac biscuit. My favourite version is the one that describes the thoughtfulness and resourcesfulness of wives and mothers who wanted to send treats to their loved ones who were fighting in the trenches during World War I. All these women could use were rationed supplies that they had available. They also had to make sure that these biscuits could survive the long journey by sea-mail to the war front. And that was how the Anzac biscuit was created. So much history in a little bicky!

I think that this is the easiest biscuit recipe that I've ever come across and the biscuits keep well in an airtight container. There are several variations of this recipe and this is the one that I used (my notes in italics). Since we didn't have golden syrup in our pantry, I used maple syrup instead. Maybe it was not such a good move (see taster comments below).

Anzac Biscuits
(makes 8 giant or 24 regular biscuits)

1 cup plain flour, sifted
1 ¼ cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
125g butter, chopped
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (slightly heaped)
2 tablespoons of hot water

(1) Pre-heat oven at 160 C (fan-forced). Line baking tray with non-stick baking paper (I used a non-stick baking tray).

(2) Combine flour, oats, coconut and sugar in a bowl.

(3) Place butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and stir over low heat until melted (I used the microwave). Remove from heat. Combine bicarbonate of soda and hot water (it will froth up) in a small bowl and stir into golden syrup mixture. Add immediately to flour mixture and stir until well combined.

(4) Roll mixture into balls (what size depends on your preference, you can make 8 "giant" cookies" or 24 regular sized ones). Place onto baking trays & flatten it, allowing a bit of room for spreading. (important: Since the biscuit dough doesn't spread much during baking, I had to flatten the balls quite a bit)

(5) Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden. Vary the baking times depending on whether or not you want your cookies crunchy or chewy and how large your biscuits are.

(6) Transfer cookies to a cooling rack and allow biscuits to cool completely. Keeps well in an airtight container.
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Taster Notes by Quikong:
The biscuits are nice tasting, have the correct aesthetics, but if we're to strive for prefection I can think of a couple of suggestions. Firstly, don't use maple syrup, not only is it no longer an anzac bicky in name, it tastes weird to any australian used to eating the genuine article. Secondly, I think they need more oats, the biscuits were very grainy and not chunky ( the way my mum makes them).
6.5 spoons out of 10.


Eva said...

Note by taster no.2: Not having had any Anzac biscuits before, I thought these to be just perfect. Nice crunch, the sweetness just right - yummy!

Nora B. said...

Glad you liked it, Eva. I should make you the "real" biscuit soon