Category Archives: Australian

ANZAC Biscuits with Dried Blueberries

anzac_bluepFirst 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.

ANZAC Biscuits with Dried Cranberry

anzac_cranp

Have you ever heard of ANZAC biscuits? Many of you might be put off by the above unequally shaped, unattractive cookies, but in reality these are one of the most delicious and addictive sweet snacks I know. Until now I have been preparing only their standard version and I wish I had thought of cranberries earlier because I liked them this way even more.

ANZAC stands for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps”, created during the World War I and these biscuits were created at the same time by women desperate to send nutritious home-made food to their husbands, sons and boyfriends. According to this website, faced with at least two months’ transportation time, a group of women worked out a recipe based on rather healthy Scottish rolled oats biscuits and added only those ingredients which ensured long preservation. There are several theories on why eggs are not used, but their absence certainly makes biscuits last longer.

The first time I baked these biscuits (see the recipe here), I was inspired and encouraged by Mr. Three-Cookies, the cookie and biscuit specialist from Three-Cookies blog, where I found the recipe (actually at Easily Good Eats by the same author). Before tasting ANZAC biscuits for the first time I expected ordinary, but good crunchy biscuits, with a healthy twist, i.e. oats. What I obtained was well beyond my hopes: slightly crunchy, slightly chewy, addictive sweet snacks with a very pleasant  buttery taste, enhanced by baked nutty oats. In short, the mixture of such simple ingredients has created a complex, surprising result I am still fond of, after dozens of batches.

ANZAC biscuits have always been so satisfactory, I haven’t even bothered to modify the basic recipe. However, a couple of days ago, the beautiful Cranberry Coconut Quinoa Loaves posted by Kelly (from Inspired Edibles) convinced me that dried cranberries are a perfect pairing for coconut and this is how I had the idea to tweak my usual recipe. The experiment was a big success, at least for a big fan of chewy cookies like me (the cranberries’ presence has at least tripled the chewiness!). The flat rounded, more or less equal shape was more difficult to obtain with dried fruit inside, but then I’m not a very meticulous cook… Thank you so much, Kelly for such a wonderful inspiration; cranberries and coconut are an excellent pairing, definitely worth further explorations. Thank you again, Mr. Three-Cookies, for making me discover the world of ANZAC biscuits.

If you don’t like or have cranberries, I strongly advise testing the classic recipe first (or simply follow the below recipe eliminating cranberries):

anzac_p

If you are fond of coconut sweets, you might like these too:

kokos_pj

Easiest Chewy Coconut Cookies (aka Macaroons)

bountytrufflespj

Coconut, Chocolate and Rum Truffles

cocochococakepj

Moist Chocolate and Coconut Cake

cococakep

or the above Moist Coconut Cake but without chocolate

coffeecoconutcreamp

Coffee and Coconut Cream with Agar

chocococo2p

Light Chocolate and Coconut Cream (also with agar)

matchacoconutp

or Matcha and Coconut Cream with Agar

If you want to play with the basic ANZAC recipe, Mr. Three-Cookies has frequently (and successfully) experimented with these amazing biscuits, so check his Three Cookies blog for inspiration.

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.

Do not expect vivid red spots on your biscuits: the cranberries will darken during the baking process (the ones you see above are just meant to add a touch of colour to the dark biscuits.)

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 cranberries):

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 cranberries

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 cranberries, 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.

Roll small balls (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.

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.

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.

ANZAC Biscuits

 

ANZAC stands for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps”, created during the World War I and 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. According to this website, faced with at least two months’ transportation time, a group of women worked out a recipe based on rather healthy Scottish rolled oats biscuits and added only those ingredients which ensured long preservation. There are several theories on why eggs are not used, but their absence certainly makes biscuits last longer.

Nowadays ANZAC Biscuits are widely available in supermarkets in Australia, New Zealand and apparently also in the UK. They are also very popular among home cooks and there is myriad ANZAC Biscuits recipes on the web. Mine is taken from  Three-Cookies blog (or to be precise from Easily Good Eats by the same author) and if you know Mr. Three-Cookies, you understand that my choice was obvious. If you don’t, either of his blogs and you will quickly realise it would be difficult to find a better cookies and biscuits specialist. If you are familiar with ANZAC Biscuits, Mr. Three-Cookies is also a very adventurous experimenter and his Easily Good Eats blog features also modified versions of this classical recipe.

Before baking them I have never tasted ANZAC Biscuits, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I had already baked with rolled oats and desiccated coconut and expected good, but quite ordinary biscuits. Since my expectations were so low, the first bite felt like an electric shock on my tastebuds. I don’t know what magical chemical reaction is created among the ingredients, but the result is irresistible and surprisingly complex. I bet that if you have never tasted ANZAC Biscuits, “Wow!” is all you will be able to say while you bite into the first one. (UPDATE and 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).

I have only slightly modified the recipe and followed Mr. Three-Cookies’ advice (see his post here), using brown sugar, which gave a very pleasant, slightly caramelised taste. I have also put molasses instead of golden syrup. I also totally agree with him on one point: 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 it). The stay crunchy and slightly chewy.

UPDATE: You might also like ANZAC biscuits with dried cranberry.

Preparation: 1 hour (or 30 minutes if you manage to bake everything in one batch)

Ingredients (I have obtained about 30 biscuits):

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

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 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.

Roll small balls (mine were a walnut size) 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.

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.

Keep them in a tightly closed container. Apparently they keep for ages. All I know is they keep at least three days.