They ate ANZAC biscuits in Adelaide,
mornay and Minties in Melbourne,
steak and salad in Sydney
and pumpkin scones in Brisbane.
Possum Magic, Mem Fox
This is not the post I had originally planned for this week. However, a text on Monday from my mum, indicating her surprise that no Anzac biscuits were planned for this weekend, scuppered all my previous plans. Thankfully, despite a busy week, a batch of Anzac biscuits was eminently achievable - they take around 20 minutes from ingredients to biscuits (including some cooling time), so are ideal for a last minute bake. And, once they were out of the oven, I couldn't quite believe I haven't been making them more often. They arrived in my kitchen with a hit of nostalgia that was a little unexpected.
Anzac biscuits are named for the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) troops they have been associated with since the First World War. They are often eaten on Anzac Day, 25 April, which this year marks 100 years since the start of the Gallipoli Campaign. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance and an opportunity for Australians and New Zealanders to commemorate the men and women who have served and died in conflict.
The biscuits themselves came from simple store-cupboard ingredients. They are also notably made without eggs, which were difficult to find during wartime. They could survive lengthy international postage, and are rumoured to have been sent to soldiers by their families back home. They're now a quintessential Australian classic, as their presence in Mem Fox's Possum Magic, alongside lamingtons and pumpkin scones, will attest.
My dad is here in the UK this week, and we've been spending time together for the first time in two years. His mum made terrific ones, stored (alongside jam drops and peanut butter biscuits) in a jar on the top of her fridge. When picking us up after a day at Grandma and Grandad's, dad would make a beeline for the jar as soon as he walked through the door. It's perhaps fitting then that these biscuits were the ones I have been able to share with him.
150g plain flour
100g rolled oats (or porridge oats)
80g dessicated coconut
90g dark brown sugar
60g caster sugar
3tbsp golden syrup
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Melt the butter and golden syrup over a low heat and stir to combine. Put the flour, oats, coconut and sugars into the mixing bowl and mix.
2. Add the bicarbonate of soda to the golden syrup, water and butter, and stir. Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. The mixture should come together in clumps.
3. Shape tablespoon sized balls of the mixture and place onto the greaseproof paper lined baking trays. Flatten slightly with the back of the spoon. If the biscuits crack at the sides, don't worry, just squidge them back together again - the mixture is incredibly forgiving.
4. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. The biscuits will feel underbaked when you take them out of the oven, but will harden on cooling. Err on the side of slightly underdone, as an ANZAC biscuit should be chewy. Enjoy with milk and, if you're anything like me, an overwhelming sense of nostalgia.