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#anzacfail

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Happiness. I was back in the kitchen recently after a fairly long hiatus. For the past few months, I’ve spent pretty much all my waking hours furtively tapping away at my laptop trying to wrap up my PhD thesis. Thankfully, it’s all bound and parcelled now; it’s probably sitting in the in-tray on some grey-haired examiner’s desk many miles away.

My copious thanks to Emily for holding the blog fort while I was occupied elsewhere.

So what did I decide to cook on my first day back?

Anzac cookies.

And why? It’s not the most interesting story, but I’ll share it anyway. A few weeks ago, I met an English girl at a conference, who asked me where she could buy a genuine Anzac cookie around ol’ Melbourne town.

I honestly could not think of one good place to buy an Anzac cookie. There must be some little bakery that sells them, but I don’t know where it is.

What I do know is that my grandmother makes a mean Anzac cookie – as I’m sure most grandmothers do. I remember chewing on them as a kid, stuffing one after the other into my mouth.

I dug out my grandmothers’s old recipe to try to recreate her Anzac cookie greatness. In true retro style, the recipe quantities were vague. It called for ‘a large cup of oats’ and ‘a small cup of sugar’. I’m pretty sure they weren’t metric cups either! A few phone calls to relatives have since revealed the standard cup in my grandmother’s recipes is “Auntie Win’s breakfast mug”.

Undeterred, I set out to recreate her cookies. I made four batches. Fail after fail, after fail.

The first batch resembled oats lodged in hard toffee. (We established that *someone* forgot to add the flour. I blame Emily, but she says it was my fault. I maintain she was in charge of the dry ingredients!)

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Batch number two, which included the missing flour, looked and tasted like chalkey oatey rocks.

The next batch was too syrupy. The final batch was ok, but I burnt them. After that, I did the honourable thing and gave up.

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I’m going to tackle these little babies again one day, hopefully in time for Anzac day in April – the traditional time of eating.

What about you out there in blog world? Any tips for next time I tackle the Anzac cookie?

Here is the recipe that I used. Any suggestions welcome…

Ingredients
2 large cups John Bull oats
1 small cup plain flour
4 oz butter
2 large tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons boiling water

Melt the butter and syrup. Add the soda disolved in the boiling water. Then, add all to the dry ingredients. Place in single teaspoon sized piles on a buttered tray. Cook in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes.

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10 Responses to “#anzacfail”

  1. sqeesh says:

    Don’t they usually contain dessicated coconut? That’s the way I usually make them, anyway. Not that that should make a difference to the problems you were having…

    Great blog, btw!

  2. Oh yum! Being an Aussie, I just can’t get enough of anzacs!

  3. Cindy says:

    Congrats on submitting your thesis! A major achievement. 🙂

    My one attempt at Anzac biscuits was for the benefit of some American friends and it didn’t turn out so great either, so I’m afraid I can’t offer any tips. Good luck with your next batch.

  4. Megan says:

    I recommend the recipe that comes from the AWW Kids Cookbooks that were published back in the early 90s… sure, it’s not a great source for decent recipes (I recollect most of them looking pretty disgusting) but I’ve made their Anzac bikkies more times than I would care to admit to, and they’ve always come out perfectly. Though I definitely use a microwave for the melting-butter step, and I’ve only used margarine. 😉

    “2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
    1 cup plain flour
    2 cups desiccated coconut
    1½ cups caster sugar
    250 g butter
    4 tablespoons golden syrup
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    2 tablespoons boiling water

    Put oats, flour, coconut, and sugar in big mixing bowl.
    Melt butter and golden syrup in pan, stirring. Take off heat.
    Mix baking soda and boiling water in cup.
    Add to melted butter in the pan.
    Add quickly to big bowl. Mix it all well.
    Roll tablespoonfuls into balls. Put onto tray 5 cm apart.
    Press lightly with fork.
    Bake 20 mins, one tray at a time. (160 degree oven)”

    Hope this works out for you! I recommend under-baking them so that they’re chewy. I simply can’t abide by dry Anzacs! 🙂

  5. J says:

    Trust Emily to forget the flour! My mother has a great recipe that my sister and I have made without a hitch many times… i shall dig it up pre April for you! Congrats on finishing your thesis Sass! Jx

  6. Bryan says:

    Yes, I’ll stand by Megan’s recipe. I’ve done that a few times and it tastes good. : ) I bake mine for 12-15 mins until I see a semblance of turning gold so that they come out super chewy, LOL. And use normal salted butter!

  7. Agnes says:

    Another vote for the recipe that Megan has posted. I’ve baked ANZACS from a AWW recipe too that was similar to Megan’s one, with the addition of chopped up macadamias , and they turned out great.

  8. Cousin S says:

    Hi S and E – perplexing problem! I made the Auntie Win version last year and they worked ok, although not quite up to N’s standard! In discussions re said biscuits with Auntie A, she said she has success using marg instead of butter… good luck and hope to sample some soon. S x

  9. Saskia says:

    Hi everyone – thanks for all the feedback! I’m going to tackle these again soon. I’ll let you know how I go…

    Squeesh – I think I will try dessicated coconut next time. It’s a tasty addition to any dish!
    My Restaurants Melbourne – Agreed. Problem is that when they’re good they’re delicious and when they’re bad you may as well be eating sawdust!
    Cindy – Thanks. I’m pretty pleased it’s all over – been cartwheeling down the street!
    Megan – I’m going to have another crack and use your recipe and maybe my grandma’s real life help. Thanks for posting.
    J – thanks! I tease Emily but to be fair she was baking mountains of cupcakes that day and the biscuits were my job. Look forward to seeing your recipe too…
    Bryan – thanks for the feedback. I agree, chewy is key.
    Agnes – macadamias! An excellent idea.
    Cousin S – interesting. I think we’re going to have to get Nona’s help.

  10. Lucy says:

    All of these recipe’s say to mix the soda and boiling water but I have never made them this way. My mother always melts the butter and syrup together in a saucepan and just as it begins to bubble, add the soda. Stir a couple of times and it will foam right up like honeycomb and you quickly tip into the dry mixture and mix. Then one tablespoon at a time you add the boiling water, mix through to get the right biscuit mixture texture.

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