There aren’t many foods that could be described as quintessentially Australian. There’s the Tim Tam, two oblong-shaped chocolate biscuits with chocolate cream inside and coated in chocolate, best eaten by biting the ends off, dunking one end into a cup of hot tea and sucking the tea through the biscuit so that it goes all soft and melty, creating a delicious mess. Then there’s vegemite, those little jars of thick, tar-like paste with a sharp flavour that I’m assured you need to grow up eating to appreciate. Then there are other dishes such as the lamington, small squares of cake coated in chocolate icing and rolled in coconut, and the pavola, a meringue casing filled with cream and fresh fruit. These two dishes have a contentious origin, ownership of which is fought over between Australia and our nearest neighbour New Zealand.
The biscuits I’m sharing with you today perhaps also fall into this latter category of maybe-Australian-but-probably-Kiwi dishes (you can learn more about their history here if you are interested). So I’ll leave the origins of it open to debate, but lets just say that regardless of where they originated, they are without a doubt one of my all-time favorite biscuits. There is an art, however, to making the perfect Anzac biscuit. They need to be slightly sweet, soft in the middle and crispy on the outside, and nice and buttery. They’re sweet with a subtle flavour of Golden Syrup, but not too overpowering.
Some Anzac biscuit purists might scoff at my inclusion of almond meal, but I think just a touch gives the perfect softness to them. I’ve also added two other ingredients which while they aren’t traditional ingredients, are definitely and undebatably (well, according to Wikipedia) Australian. I’m sure a lot of you have tried a macadamia nut before, but perhaps not come across wattleseeds which have a slightly bitter taste with a cacao-y/coffee-esque flavour. They create a bit of depth and texture to this dish, but if you can’t easily find them (even in Australia they’re not that easy to come across!) then I’d simply omit them rather than replacing them with anything else.
– MAKE IT YOUR OWN –
- You could easily make these vegan by subbing coconut oil for the butter. I personally love the buttery flavour, but I have had success making them with coconut oil in the past
- If you don’t want to use golden syrup, you could sub honey, molasses or maple syrup, although the flavour would be difference. I think a blend of one part honey, one part molasses would probably be the closest flavour
- Again, you could also use a different kind of sugar. White sugar is normally used so if you’re after a traditional flavour, use white (although I personally think they work fine with raw sugar). Using another sugar like coconut sugar will also work, but again, it will change the flavour of the biscuits. Note also that I’ve halved the amount of sugar normally used. I personally these still taste quite sweet, so if you normally don’t eat much sugar you could get away with reducing the amount to 1/3 cup, plus the golden syrup (or alternative).
- White flour could be subbed with a wholewheat flour (try something fairly neutral like spelt or rice flour), without too much difference in texture or flavour
- 1¼ cups rolled oats
- ¾ cup dessicated coconut
- ½ cup organic, raw sugar
- ½ cup unbleached white flour
- 2 Tbsp almond meal
- ⅓ cup chopped macadamia nuts
- Pinch salt
- 120g butter
- 2 Tbsp golden syrup
- 1 Tbsp crushed wattle seeds (optional)
- ½ tsp bicarb of soda
- 1 - 2 Tbsp water if needed
- Preheat oven to 170 C | 340 F
- Combine to dry ingredients (oats, coconut, flour, almond meal, nuts, salt) in a large bowl.
- In a small saucepan, add the butter (chop into smaller pieces to melt quicker) and golden syrup over low heat. Crush the wattle seeds if using in a mortar and pestle and add to the liquid mixture, allow it to infuse. Stir until it starts to softly boil, and then add the bicarb, stirring. If will start to foam and increase in size.
- Remove from the heat and pour into the dry mix, mixing to combine well. If the mixture is too crumbly, add a spoonful or two of water.
- Shape the mixture into golf ball sized biscuits, and place on a greased and lined baking tray, flattening each one slightly. Continue, using another tray if required, until all of the mixture has been used up.
- Bake for 14 - 17 minutes, or until the edges have just started to go golden. Careful not to over bake. Cool completely on the trays.