Sunday 22 March 2015

ANZAC biscuits

ANZAC biscuits? What are those? I get asked this whenever I make these. Admittedly, it has been just a little shy of a decade since I last made a batch, but I did used to make them fairly frequently. The story I've been told is that these were the cookies sent over to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during the war, as they were simple and travelled well.

They are meant to be brittle, worthy of breaking a tooth, but I prefer them chewy. I messed up and didn't make them that way this time, but if you are in America and can get good coconut, these can be truly divine. They look deceptively boring, just appearing to be a plain oatmeal cookie, but when you bite in you get a hit of coconut and you realise just how more-ish these can be.

Another good thing about them is that you don't use any eggs, so no salmonella worries with the dough. Not that this has ever stopped me from eating raw cookie dough.

Oh, and one last tip: when adding sugar, don't mistake a jar of bulgar wheat for a jar of demerara sugar. Trust me on this.


One other nice thing about this recipe is that everything gets thrown into a bowl and mixed together at once. So here we have brown sugar, flour, baking soda, coconut, oats, and a dollop of golden syrup.

Then on went some melted butter.

Then it was mixed.

Err, it seemed a bit dry. So then I actually looked at the recipe and realized I was meant to add a couple tablespoons of water. That made it better.

Then it was rolled into sizeable balls and put in to bake. I can only really fit two trays in my oven at a time, so I crowded them in closer together than perhaps I should have in order to save time.

They flattened out, and I also realized I had overbaked them. Oops.

Not perfect shapes, to be sure. Nevertheless, I brought them to the playground after school and quickly found myself surrounded by children willing to eat them and thus take them off my hands (and a few parents too, of course).

I might try making them into bars next time, as I think that might help prevent overbaking and would also take less oven space. But here is the recipe for them as out of my Mrs Beeton cookbook (and why these are in a "Mrs Beeton" cookbook when she wrote her recipes prior to the war is a question for the publishers at Marks and Spencer):

75g rolled oats
100g plain flour
150g sugar (I use brown sugar)
50g coconut
100g melted butter
1Tbsp golden sryup
1 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
2 Tbsp water


Preheat oven to 160C. Line two baking sheets. 

Combine ingredients and mix well, then roll into balls and place on sheets. Bake for at least 10 min, more if needed but make sure you don't overbake. 

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