First of all, I I would like to apologise my dear visitors and blogging friends for such a long absence due to wonderful holidays I have spent once more in Japan. As always, the stay in Tokyo was highly inspiring, filled with unforgettable culinary moments and I hope I’ll be able to share with you some of my discoveries in future posts. The only thing I strongly regretted about my trip was having naively hoped once more the plane food would be at least edible. Leaving more than half of the meals intact I kept on dreaming how happy I would have been if I had an onigiri, a simple sandwich or some ANZAC biscuits in my bag… Next time I take a long flight these treats will definitely travel with me!
If you have never heard about these biscuits, ANZAC stands for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps”, created during the World War I. The biscuits bearing this name were created at the same time by women desperate to send nutritious home-made food to their husbands, sons and boyfriends. This is apparently how the eggless, nutritious recipe ensuring long preservation was born. I first prepared ANZAC biscuits thanks to Mr. Three-Cookies and will always be grateful for this amazing discovery.
ANZAC biscuits might not look very attractive, but with their buttery aroma, slight chewiness and nutty flavours for me they are no more no less but the best thing in the world of crunchy sweet treats. They are also easy and quick to prepare, so I make them quite regularly. The basic recipe is flexible and every version I have made proved delicious. Apart from the basic recipe, until now I have only posted a dried cranberry version, which I love particularly because of its tanginess and an even higher degree of chewiness.
One day I was given a big bag of luscious dried blueberries and, afraid of spoiling them in baked dishes, I kept on treating them as exceptional snacks. The friend who has kindly offered these blueberries has lived for many years in Australia, so somehow adding them to ANZAC biscuits seemed suddenly obvious. The result was absolutely luscious and much superior to the addition of boring raisins I have tested once.
TIPS: Unless you have a health problem, do not use margarine or any other vegetable shortening. The butter taste and aroma is so strong, you will lose a big part of the pleasure.
As I have mentioned above, they keep fresh in a tightly closed container for several days (and maybe even more, but I wasn’t able to test more than five days). The biscuits stay crunchy and slightly chewy.
WARNING: do not taste the raw dough! You will end up eating it straight from the pan while you wait for your previous batch to bake.
Preparation: 1 hour (or 30 minutes if you manage to bake everything in one batch)
Ingredients (I have obtained about 35 biscuits, you will obtain a bit less if you skip blueberries):
70 grams/1 cup rolled oats
90 grams/1 cup desiccated coconut
120 g/1 cup flour
125 g/about 4,5 oz butter
160 g/3/4 cup brown cane sugar
1 tablespoon dark syrup (I used 2 tablespoons molasses)
1 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carbonate of soda, in countries where it is not widely available, for example in France, it can be easily bought in pharmacies)
2 tablespoons boiling water
pinch of salt
6 heaped tablespoons dried blueberries
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Melt the butter and syrup or molasses in a big pan.
Combine the flour, the oats, the coconut, the blueberries, the salt and the sugar. Add slowly to the melted butter.
At the end combine the boiling water and soda. Pour the mixture into the dough and stir well with a spoon.
Don’t worry if the dough seems crumbly. It is normal. Just squeeze well the dough when forming balls in your hands and don’t flatten them too much.
Roll small balls, making them as tight as possible (I usually make walnut-sized balls, but this time I wanted smaller biscuits, so I made the balls 1/3 smaller) and put them on a baking sheet (leaving at least 3 cm spaces between each ball since they will spread).
Flatten them slightly (they will flatten even more during the baking process) and bake 10-15 minutes or until golden.
Keep them in a tightly closed container. Apparently they keep for ages. All I know is they keep for at least five days, well closed.