Is it sacrilegious to tweak a biscuit as important to national identity as the Anzac? Probably. So I’m not really sure why I did it. N says it’s easily his favourite biscuit, but it was always much too sweet for me. Overwhelmingly sweet, and it didn’t taste of much else.
I’ve since substituted treacle for golden syrup to give it a slightly bitter undertone, and shredded coconut for dessicated so that it tastes more coconutty and has added texture. And, I added salt – because salty-sweet is always a winning combination.
Update: further research (and a tip off from a friend) has led me to a recipe from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs which suggests treacle is A-OK! You’ll find their recipe here. Interestingly enough, culinary historian Allie Reynolds says that modern-day Anzac biscuits bear little resemblance to the sturdy, long-lasting biscuits which were shipped to Diggers.
These Anzac biscuits are crunchy on the outer edges and chewy in the middle. If that’s your preference, bake them to colour as shown in the picture above, if you prefer yours crunchy throughout, which is probably how they were eaten back in the day, to reduce spoilage, bake them a few minutes longer.
So call it what you will, and despite my research, it may not even qualify as an Anzac biscuit to you without golden syrup, but here’s my version of the Australian (and New Zealand) classic. This is my second batch, I should add, because N felt the need to bribe his work colleagues with cookies with all of the first batch.
Did everyone get a cookie? I asked. No, he said, there weren’t enough cookies to go around. He did admit to eating the first five or so.
“If they want cookies, they have to come to me,” he said, beaming. He’s really getting delirious on his cookie powers.
- 155g butter
- 2 tbsp (30ml) treacle syrup
- 150g plain flour
- 150g white sugar
- 100g rolled oats
- 50g shredded coconut
- ½ tsp salt flakes (or ¼ tsp normal salt)
- 2 tbsp (30ml) boiling water
- 1½ tsp bicarb soda
- Preheat oven to 150C.
- Melt butter and treacle in a medium saucepan.
- Combine flour, sugar, rolled oats and coconut in a large mixing bowl and toss with your hands to combine.
- In a small cup, add the boiling water to the bicarb soda, and stir to combine. Then quickly tip this mixture into the warm butter mixture - be careful, it will bubble up.
- Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well ensuring that all the dry ingredients are coated.
- Place tablespoons of the mixture onto lightly greased baking trays, ensuring that you leave lots of room for the biscuits to expand. Start with no more than 6 on a tray to see how much they expand.
- Bake for 12 minutes for the perfect crunchy-chewy texture, or closer to 15 for a crunchy Anzac.