I was lucky enough to spend a couple of weeks in Australia last May. The first week was work in Sydney and then I flew over to Melbourne and met TD for a little RNR.
We’d been to Melbourne before but left behind some unfinished business in the form of the Great Ocean Road as well as a host of untried restaurants, as yet to be imbibed cocktails and un-strummed scenic fall strolls.
We enjoyed ourselves immensely.
As I think I’ve mentioned before, I like to pick up a few new recipes while in-country as opposed to hauling back souvenirs. This practice helps keep my luggage weight under control and is a delightful excuse to try exotic treats in the name of research.
Funny thing about those Jude Bolton Bars…I actually met him while in Sydney during this trip. The faculty I was traveling with arranged to have him meet our group while we were touring the Sydney Cricket Grounds, where the Australian Football League’s Sydney Swans call home. My faculty friend is friends with Mr. Bolton and in the days leading up to the visit, she sent him the post I wrote. Now, it’s been a few years so I’ll remind you, the post was written as a humorous but genuine tribute to Jude’s…athletic superiority. It was also not meant to be read by him. Nor did I intend to ever meet him in real life.
When the moment of the meeting came, we were both embarrassed. His embarrassment was charming. Mine was that of a dirty old woman who had been caught, literally, with her hand in the cookie jar. Thanks JP.
But anyway. Back to baking.
The first recipe I “brought back” with me from Australia is for Anzac biscuits. I’d heard of Anzac biscuits prior to our trip–mostly through literature. I swear there is mention of them in M.L. Steman’s, Light between the Oceans. And there is an entire scene about them in Liane Moriarty’s The Hypnotist’s Love Story (one of my favorites of hers).
Since they aren’t as well known here in the States, I’ll give you the two sentence explanation. ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps. During World War I, families would pack their soldiers these oatmeal-coconut cookies in care packages because while they would harden, they wouldn’t spoil. Australian’s celebrate ANZAC Day each year in late April. Similar to Memorial Day in the U.S., the day is one of remembrance for those who fought and died in any conflict for Australia or New Zealand.
I’ll admit, I completely underestimated these wholesome little treats. I thought they’d be fun to make once and then I’d be done with them. Well, I was wrong. These seemingly simple biscuits are rich and flavorful. The oatmeal gives them a bit of heft while the coconut and brown sugar make them taste like an exotic far-off-island (or in this case, island nation). Need further proof that you should make these? Several people asked me for the recipe. That never happens!
(read through the ingredients and my notes first–these call for a couple of unusual additions).
- 1 C rolled oats (in reviewing recipes I saw calls for both old fashioned and quick cooking. I opted for old fashioned because I wanted the additional texture)
- 1 C all purpose plain flour
- 2/3 C golden brown sugar
- 2/3 C desiccated coconut (desiccated coconut is hard to find. The first time I made these I ordered the coconut via Amazon. After that I just chopped up unsweetened shredded and hoped for the best. It’s work just fine so far)
- 1/2 C or 1 stick of butter chopped
- 2 TBS golden syrup (you can find this on Amazon. If you aren’t committed to tryin golden syrup, sub-in corn syrup)
- 1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Line 3 baking trays with parchment.
Fold together the oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl.
Add butter, syrup and 2 tablespoons of cold water to a saucepan over medium heat.
Stir for 2 minutes or until butter has melted.
Stir in baking soda
Add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and fold until combined.
Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. (as a note, the uncooked cookie balls freeze well)
Place on trays, 2 inches apart and flatten slightly.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden.
Leave on the baking trays for 5 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.