Thursday, June 24, 2010

Anzac Biscuits

I read some of the food boards on the web. Sometimes I learn a few things, other times I contribute something I know to the discusssion. One asked, the other day, what a woman could send her boyfriend on his tour of duty in Afghanistan. Something that would be a treat but would not spoil or be any other kind of disappointment on its arrival. Had to be Anzac biscuits.

Ate them all the time as a kid, an endless staple in school lunchboxes, that once I got to be about 12 I would make myself as my contribution to the week. Easy as they are I was still very pleased with myself when they turned out golden and chewy and fabulous.

April 25th every year we would march in the Anzac Parade, a day of national remembrance for the 8,000 soldiers who died in Gallipoli in their disastrous attempt to conquer Constantinople in the first world war.

Took me a while to make the connection between the bikkies and the parade but eventually I did wonder how they could both be Anzac. Their origins are somewhat murky. The story that seems most likely - or at least the one that I like the most - is that the wives and loved ones left at home made these to send overseas. There is nothing in them to spoil, so they would arrive pretty much as they had been sent to have bring joy to their recipients, carrying the love with which they were made from one side of the world to the other.

It has been years since I've eaten one let alone made a batch. I'm delighted to say they tasted as good as I remember - and the man loved them too which surprised me a little. Claims he doesn't like coconut.

Anzac Biscuits

The golden syrup adds a rich depth of sweetness, the bicarb makes it fizz like honeycomb.

Makes 24

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup dessicated coconut
125g butter
2 tbspn golden syrup
1 tbspn water
1tspn bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4.

Line a baking tray with parchment.

Mix the oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.

Put the butter, syrup and water into a small pan and stir over a medium heat till the butter melts into the syrup. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda - it will make the mix fizz up to the top of the pan. Take it off the heat.

Stir the butter syrup into the dry ingredients and mix well. You will have a mix that is ever so slightly crumbly rather than wet.

Drop teaspoonfuls into little mounds onto the baking tray a couple of centimetres apart - they will spread as they bake.

Cook for 15-20 minutes until golden. Cool on a rack before eating.

They will keep in an airtight tin for a very long time, though I've never been able to resist them to find out quite how long.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

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