Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Biscuits for Anzac Day
On Saturday morning I decided I wanted to do some baking - a rare event. What could I make with what was on hand? Harvey often used to have porridge, so I made sure there was a constant supply of rolled oats. Our old kitchen had open shelves, and I kept what we used most often in nice-looking tins, preferably ones that matched the contents. (They were hopeless for storing biscuits and crackers, but fine for everything else.)
When I found this great tin in a long-gone gift shop in Willis St, I was really pleased - not only was it perfect for the rolled oats, but tigers were Harvey's favourite animal.
I never eat porridge, and I hate wasting things. So of course the perfect thing to make, especially at this time of year, was - Anzac biscuits. And yet again I turned to Lois Daish, whose Listener column showed how much effort she put into getting her recipe right. I'd used it before (a long time ago!). Only this time I did it properly and weighed everything out. She points out that "the quantity of golden syrup is thr trickiest variable", so you should make sure you measure out exactly three tablespoons, "with no syrup overflowing or clinging to the spoon".
Anzac biscuits (from A Good Year, 2005)
170g caster sugar
100g rolled oats
60g dessicated coconut
3 tablespoons golden syrup
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 tablespoons boiling water
- Preheat oven to 160C (on fanbake if you have it) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
- Put sugar, flour, oats a nd coconut into a large bowl and mix well.
- Put butter and golden syrup in a small pot over gentle heat until melted.
- Put baking soda in a cup and pour the boiling water over it. Stir until dissolved and add to melted butter and syrup.
- Pour this hot fluffy mixture into the dry ingredients and stir very thoroughly.
- Use your hand to form the slightly crumbly mixture into a mass. Form balls about the size of a small walnut and place onto the lined trays, leaving enough room for spreading. Press each ball lightly with a fork and put in the oven. (A friend told me to dip the fork in water first so it doesn't stick to the biscuits.)
- After 5 minutes, open the oven and you'll see that the biscuits have flattened and puffed up. Give each tray a gentle bang to deflate the biscuits - you may need to do this again after another minute or two. (Actually, mine didn't seem to puff up, but I did make them too big and I think I was a bit light on the flour, they really spread out.)
- Total baking time about 10 minutes."When ready", says Lois, "the biscuits will be a light chestnut brown and will still feel slightly soft when pressed."
- Take out of the oven, leave to cool for a minute or two, then transfer to a rack to harden and cool. (I just carefully lift off the whole sheet of baking paper and put that on the rack with the biscuits still on it.)
- Store in an airtight container.
They're thinnish, and a bit too big, but I like them like that. I've been proudly producing them for friends and eating one a day with my coffee. And sometimes another one with my afternoon tea. And now and then one for dessert, with fruit. So there aren't going to be any left for Anzac Day.