Saturday, April 25, 2020

ANZAC Biscuits - Maggie Beer’s recipe

But where our desires are and our hopes profound, 
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night.

                           Extract from For The Fallen (Laurence Binyon)

Today is ANZAC Day.  ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.  The day was chosen because it is the anniversary of the first major military action fought by the ANZACs in World War I at Gallipoli, but  it now commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in all conflicts, wars and peacekeeping operations.

Traditionally, ANZAC Day is marked by dawn services throughout Australia and New Zealand, where a wreath is laid, followed by a recitation of  Ode to the Fallen (being a stanza from the poem  For the Fallen), then a minute's silence in honour of those who served, then the Last Post is played on a bugle, and finally the New Zealand and Australian national anthems are sung while the flags of each country are raised from half mast to full mast.  Afterwards, there is an ANZAC Day parade through the main streets of various cities and towns, in which those who served march or are driven past crowds of citizens who have come to pay their respects. 

I have attended an ANZAC Day parade in Brisbane, but I have never attended a dawn service.  This year is the closest that I have come to participating in a dawn service by watching the Melbourne dawn service at The Shrine on TV.   It was very moving.  I especially enjoyed the singing of the New Zealand and Australian national anthems.  Our work choir was going to perform those anthems yesterday for ANZAC Day, but because of the current physical distancing requirements, we were unable to do so.

Another ANZAC Day tradition is to make ANZAC biscuits.  The origin of ANZAC biscuits is thought to be that they were made by women to send to soldiers serving abroad as the ingredients  didn't spoil easily and they transported well.  Regardless, ANZAC biscuits are delicious, and people make them all year round, although they have special significance on ANZAC Day.  There are many different recipes for ANZAC biscuits, but the basics remain the same - oats, golden syrup, butter, coconut, bicarbonate of soda, flour, brown sugar.  Some people like their ANZAC biscuits to be chewy, others like them crunchy.  Bought ANZAC biscuits tend to be quite hard, so I much prefer making my own.

I have posted about ANZAC biscuits before here, here, here, here, and here.  I have also made ANZAC slice and ANZAC Pear and Ginger Loaf.  This shows just how many and varied recipes there are for ANZAC biscuits.

This year, I decided to make Maggie Beer's recipe for ANZAC biscuits.  I chose this recipe because it had a couple of twists in the ingredients - lemon zest and verjuice, neither of which are traditional in ANZAC biscuits.  I really loved the result - my biscuits were delightfully chewy, and the lemon added a lovely scent and flavour to the biscuits.

I made a half recipe (which is lucky because I could easily scoff a whole batch of these) to make 8 biscuits, as follows:

1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 + 1/8 cup brown sugar
grated zest of half  lemon
62g butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 tablespoon verjuice
1/8 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper or a silicon mat.

Put all of the dry ingredients except the bicarbonate of soda into a medium bowl and stir to combine.

Put the butter, golden syrup and verjuice into a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the butter is melted and simmers.  Add the bicarbonate of soda and stir the mixture - it will foam up.  Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Roll teaspoonsful of  the mixture into balls and place them at least one inch apart on the lined baking tray.  Flatten the tops of each ball slightly.

Place the biscuits into the preheated oven and bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown (note that they will still feel soft to the touch at this stage).  Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes on the tray, then use a spatula to carefully lift each biscuit onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Eat and enjoy.


Mardi Michels said...

So interesting - these ingredients are ALMOST the "ratio" of ingredients I am used to except for the carb soda (so much less) and the verjus. Intriguing. I made ANZACS as well. They fascinate me because each time they come out differently! Managed to get good chew/ crunch proportions this year!

Johanna GGG said...

Nice reflection - I didn't get up for anzac day today - I have been to the dawn service at the shrine years ago and a few times in Torquay. My dad got up and heard a few bugles playing the last post around him. Your biscuits sound very interestring - always love an ANZAC biccy