A Special Australian Cookie

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If ever there was a “cookie” that was a love letter, it would be the Anzac Biscuit. ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps, and it was the official cookie (they call cookies biscuits Down Under) that women sent to their menfolk who went off to war—beginning in World War I. The recipe is made without eggs so that the biscuit will last a long time without spoiling. I’d been meaning to try making them for a while now, but it wasn’t until my daughter needed an “international” item for the school bake sale that I decided to try.

I can distinctly remember the first one I ever tasted (Emmaus Farmers’ Market, six or so years ago, made by Haika’s Kitchen). And the second one I ever had was at the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, Australia, after walking about eight miles then finding out the garden’s restaurant had just closed. Eating an Anzac Biscuit at that moment was sustaining until dinner.

While I was in Australia, I had my first ever shockingly real past-life feeling. And it involved sending someone I loved off to war knowing in my bones that we wouldn’t see each other again in that lifetime. As I tasted my first home-baked Anzac Biscuit, I tasted tears, even though there is no salt in the recipe. I thought of all the women who had made these biscuits over the past 100 years, and had sent them in carefully packed boxes, never knowing what might happen to their loved ones—baking love into each buttery, coconut-filled, healthy, nourishing bite. I don’t know if past lives are real, but I know the emotion I felt was. I also know these “cookies” are delicious and filled with a special kind of love.

Apparently in Australia, it’s frowned upon to mess with the recipe, but since in this lifetime I’m a rebel American, I messed with it just a bit. I did so mostly because I didn’t have some of the exact ingredients (like Golden Syrup) and I wanted to make it a tiny bit healthier. But here is my recipe, which tastes like lifetimes of love to me. All organic, of course.

Anzac Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats (I didn’t have plain, so I used organic Ancient Grain Oatmeal)
  • 1 cup turbinado sugar (or other sugar)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (or golden syrup if you can get it)
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup boiling water

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and either grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Melt the butter in a pan; dilute the baking soda in boiling water and add it to the butter.
  4. Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff and mix well.
  5. Form into cookie shapes. This batter will not spread or flatten out, so pretty much the shape you make it in is the shape it will come out of the oven in.
  6. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Let cool and enjoy. Packaging for long-distance trips optional!

 

 

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11 Responses to A Special Australian Cookie

  1. Shana October 9, 2013 at 7:57 am #

    Oh, I miss Haika’s Kitchen! She made the most delicious things.

  2. Donna in Delaware October 9, 2013 at 10:43 am #

    Sounds good, I dislike shredded coconut, so I’ll omit it. I can find the golden syrup in supermarkets in my area. Will try the recipe in a couple of weeks. I love to bake something new and different when the weather turns cooler.

    Maybe you can call Kitchen and Co. if there is one in your area. They usually carry foreign foodstuffs. No harm in trying.

  3. judi October 9, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

    oh, yes! I love these…butter and coconut…could anything be more wonderful. I also love the story. Years ago I cut an article out of the L.A. Times food section about traditional cookies (biscuits) from down under. I think I’ll have to dig it out of the files and try some of the others.

  4. Andrea October 9, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    Looks great. Aussies are known for having a sweet tooth – hence the two cups of sugar.

    I’m wondering if there’s anyway to substitute the sugar or use less. Also, I purchased some banana flour (http://www.bananaflour.com.au) while living in Brisbane. I’m going to try using this flour as a replacement for the wheat and white flour to make it gluten free.

  5. Leoni October 9, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    Hi Maria, You’ve done the Anzac Biscuit proud! Leoni (from Sydney)

  6. maria (farm country kitchen) October 9, 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Thanks Leoni! That means EVERYTHING to me!

  7. Julie B October 14, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Thank you Maria. I’ve been to Sydney many times and have enjoyed all the baked goods there. I’m excited to try this recipe back here in IL, but like Andrea, I’ll be experimenting with a gluten free version.
    Andrea: Please let us know how your GF version came out.

  8. Sally October 16, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    I was hoping for something low sugar and GF that I could tweak for my kids who are sugar free and GF for now. Very little in teats for kids like that. I appreciate the coconut sugar but have to use it scantily. Maybe I will try some GF oat flour or coconut or almond flour. Banana flour sounds like it has too high a GI to me, although it does sound delicious, we always used bananas to sweeten things, but my kids can only have berries. Probably need some chia gel to bind it if I cut back on sugar.
    Loved the story and all the love that went along with it. My dad was not Australian but he fought along side many of them in the war in the Canadian army. I remember golden syrup growing up in Canada.

  9. pamela j October 16, 2013 at 11:26 am #

    please advise quantities this recipe makes. very helpful information. thank you.

  10. maria (farm country kitchen) October 16, 2013 at 11:28 am #

    makes about 20 cookies!

  11. Rod H. October 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    You can buy Golden Syrup on Amazon.com

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