Friday, April 25, 2014

Anzac Cookies

Today is Anzac Day!  Before I explain Anzac Day to non-south-of-the-equator people, let me first apologize to my aussie/kiwi readers for calling these cookies and not biscuits.  I'm American.  I tried, I really did, but I just couldn't make myself type "biscuit".  I understand under Australian law I am
not allowed to refer to Anzac biscuits as cookies, but I am not in Australia, and this is my blog, so I'm calling them cookies.  No disrespect intended.  I do apologize.

Now, for the rest of you.  "Anzac" stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.  Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in both Australia and New Zealand for all those who have served and died in military service.  It originates from the landing of Allied forces at Gallipoli on April 25th, 1915 during World War I.  There were more than 10,000 casualties of Australian and New Zealander soldiers, and April 25th became the day their sacrifice was commemorated.  There.  Now you know.

The story of the cookie (biscuit) seems to be that these were popular treats for wives to send to their soldier husbands, because the ingredients kept a long time without spoiling and the cookies (biscuits) traveled well.

Not being originally from Australia, I did not grow up eating these cookies.  I have made them a few times, and having a preference for soft and chewy over crisp and crunchy, I developed my version that way.  I combined elements of a few different recipes to come up with this one.  The cookies turn out thick and soft, which may or may not be completely authentic, but it's how I like them.

So make a batch, either to commemorate Anzac Day, or just because they are delicious.  Or both.

The Step-by-Step

So first we mix the oatmeal, brown sugar, flour, coconut and salt in a mixing bowl.  Set that aside for the moment.

Next, in a small saucepan, melt the butter, then add the golden syrup.

Golden syrup, for those who don't know, is a rich, buttery, caramelly like syrup you can find in places like England and Australia.  It's really a heavenly addition to the food kingdom.  Hey America, we should get some of this stuff. Really. 

If you don't have any golden syrup, I suggest a substitute below in the recipe portion.  It won't taste quite the same, but it'll do in a pinch.

Then mix the soda and the hot water together, and stir into the butter.   It'll foam up like this a bit.  But after everything is all dissolved together, remove the mixture from the heat and stir it down some.

Pour the butter mixture into the dry mixture and mix until combined.

It'll be moist and crumbly -- like this.

Squish the dough together into balls, and then smush them a bit so they are flattened.

Bake 10-12 minutes in a 350F oven (175C)

The Recipe


1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oats
1 cup coconut
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons golden syrup*
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons hot water

Mix flour, oats, coconut, brown sugar and salt in a mixing bowl.  Set aside.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter.   Add the golden syrup and mix until dissolved.

Dissolve the soda in the water and then add to the butter mixture.  Stir for a moment until everything is mixed together well.  Remove from heat and stir down the foam, if necessary.

Pour the butter mixture into the dry mixture.  Stir until well combined.  Dough will appear crumbly.

Form flattened balls from the dough and place on a baking sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350F (175C)

*Substitute for 3 Tablespoons golden syrup:  
Instead use 2 Tablespoons corn syrup and 1 Tablespoon molasses.  Alternatively, you could replace the golden syrup with honey.   Neither of these will exactly match the flavor, but it will still be yummy.