Somehow I find it a little difficult to define what Aussie cuisine means. Do you mention the Bunning’s sausage sizzle, the good ol’ backyard BBQ, or the highly exciting meat and three veg (which I feel was somewhat the epitome of my parents generation).
But regardless of the true definition, I feel that Anzac biscuits are definitely an Aussie icon in the culinary world (and not for Pete’s sake Fosters beer). They are just a brilliant combination of rolled oats, coconut and golden syrup that go perfectly with a cup of tea and are hard to say no to a second (they’re pretty damn morish if I do say so myself).
The recipe I have originally came from a friend’s grandma, and after a little googling I realised that the majority of recipes on the internet do not include the teaspoon of baking powder in the dry ingredients (originally 50% self raising flour). So of course I was very curious to know whether this truly made a difference, and so I set about scientifically testing this matter (with all the science).
After running my first experiment and realising that sloppily measuring the boiling water made a much larger difference than the baking powder, a second much more rigorous procedure was undertaken (including scales and measuring everything (including the water) to the gram). The outcome was then sampled by a number of work colleagues (as you can imagine, a very difficult job for them) and it was concluded that indeed the baking powder does make a slight difference. The biscuits without the baking powder were slightly flatter and chewier, but those with seemed to have a bit more body and had a larger difference in texture between the centre and edges. Although the majority of people concluded that they preferred the Anzacs with the addition of baking powder, there were a few that preferred the version without. So in conclusion, I will continue making mine with the baking powder, but they are also very acceptable the other way.
The ratio of dry ingredients to wet does make quite a difference, so do be aware that if you are just using cup measurements each batch might come out a little different (although I believe they should all still be very tasty). It is claimed that Anzacs were originally made to send overseas to soldiers during the war (although the truth of this seems hazy), but the lack of egg in them means they have a pretty good shelf life. Although to be completely honest, I’ve never really tested this as any batch I have made has not lasted more than 2 days (3 hours if brought into work).
So I hope you give these a go (they’re bloody brilliant), and I would love to hear your opinion on the definition of Aussie cuisine!
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup shredded dried coconut
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp boiling water
- 125 g butter
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
- Mix all dry ingredients together in large bowl.
- Melt golden syrup, butter and water in saucepan.
- When everything is melted take the saucepan off the heat, add bicarb soda and stir until it all just looks like froth.
- Pour into dry ingredients and mix well.
- Roll teaspoonfuls into balls and place on a baking sheet covered with baking paper.
- Bake in moderate oven (160°C) for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Take off baking tray after a few minutes and cool on racks.