It’s not ANZAC Day, it’s not Australia Day. I am not someone from Australia or New Zealand. But back when I lived in Iceland, my best friends were Australians, and we sometimes celebrated Australian events, and I adopted the habit of baking ANZAC biscuits pretty much all the time. They are quite simple and keep/mail well. Given that I was extending the experiment of mailing cookies to other offices on other continents, it seemed wise to include hardier, sturdier cookies in the mix. I have no idea whether the cookies I make in any way resemble actual ANZAC biscuits, but people eat and love them regardless. I am not terribly concerned with authenticity.
Of course, the concept of “baking authenticity” is sort of interesting. I remember promising to bake cookies for an old friend in Iceland. When I finally did, he took one look at the cookies, made a rather unpleasant face and said, “Those aren’t cookies, those are American.” What did he expect? That I would make the hard little dog biscuits Icelanders call cookies? I AM American after all.
For me, authenticity probably comes mostly from the intent of the baker. Even if they are baking from (heaven forbid) a mix, it is more about whether they enjoy what they are doing. While I eschew the evil baking mix, I encourage baking of all kinds.
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats (oatmeal), uncooked
1 cup coconut
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 Tablespoons golden syrup (or honey)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
2 Tablespoons boiling water
Preheat oven to 350F/180C
Combine flour, oats, coconut and sugar in a bowl.
Melt the butter and golden syrup or honey in a saucepan over low heat.
Mix the bicarb of soda with the boiling water and add to the butter and golden syrup mixture.
Pour the liquids into the dry ingredients and mix well.
Spoon tablespoons of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving space between to allow for spreading.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. (Mine usually take less than this, so keep an eye on them.)
Cool on a wire rack and seal in airtight containers.
Yeah, so a work birthday rolled around again, and since I was staying at a friend’s apartment, I had none of my normal baking goods. Improvisation is fine but far from ideal, much like driving automatic transmission vehicles or drinking crappy coffee — they get the job done, but it’s just not what’s in your heart.
I made a cake (will show the disastrous results in another post) and these cookies. Both were a first for me. Kind of dangerous to fete someone with experimental baked goods, but what the hell? No one ever conquered the world or a taste bud by playing it safe.
Now that I am posting this, though, I can’t find the recipe. Haha. Same for the ugly cake. Will post it once I find it again.
UPDATE! I found the recipe. I had already forgotten how simple it was:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup flaked coconut
3 1/2 ounces or so of macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 375F. Mix butter, sugars and egg. Stir in flour and baking soda, dough will be very stiff. Stir in coconut and nuts. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet (I rolled into balls, then flattened). Bake until light brown, 8 – 10 minutes (centers will be soft). Cool slightly, remove from cookie sheet and cool completely.