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Anzac Biscuits 2020

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Anzac Day is tomorrow – 25 April 2020. The day is always marked, though tomorrow will be quite different, with marches and services not happening in Covid 19  times. Traditionally Anzac biscuits are baked and eaten around this date.

While the biscuits were made during World War One by women’s organisations in Australia, my reading has come up with a recipe for the biscuits that predate WW1. There is a fascinating article from The Cook and the Curator, at Sydney Living Museums, which describes a recipe from the early 1900s. The link to the article is here. One thing is definite, coconut is a later addition. Which suits me fine, as I am tired of the presence of coconut shreds and shards in biscuits, cakes and muesli!

“It is universally agreed that an Anzac biscuit is oat based, contains no eggs, and is made with melted butter rather than butter creamed with sugar.”

The first-known published recipe in Australia appeared as “Anzac Biscuits or Crispies” in the Melbourne Argus in 1920. New Zealand lays an earlier claim for an “Anzac Crispie” in the St Andrew’s Cookery Book, in 1919. The titles of both recipes seem to answer the big question – should an Anzac biscuit be crispy or chewy? Crispy obviously.

I’ve made a few Anzac biscuits over the years, and I rather like this recipe. It’s from “Better Homes and Gardens” May 2015, and purports to be similar to the original recipe, the ingredients being rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water.
Golden syrup makes lighter coloured biscuits, while treacle makes the biscuits darker. Both are yummy!

Ingredients

125g unsalted butter
2 tbsp golden syrup or treacle*
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tbsp boiling water
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
¾ cup caster sugar

*Golden syrup is more traditional in Anzac biscuits, but treacle also works well, giving the biscuits a nuttier flavour and darker colour.

Method

Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Line 4 oven trays with baking paper. Combine butter and golden syrup or treacle in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat until butter is melted. Add bicarb and water and whisk to combine. Remove from heat.

Combine rolled oats, flour and sugar in a large bowl, add butter mixture and beat until combined. Form into small balls and put on prepared trays, allowing space for spreading. Flatten slightly with a fork.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until biscuits are golden. Cool the biscuits on the trays then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Easter Cookies


I posted a recipe “Hot Cross Bun Cookies”last Easter.  I’m posting again as “Easter Cookies” as they’re so easy to make and can be an alternative to hot cross buns. Not a replacement of course – Easter wouldn’t be Easter without hot cross buns! Children can make them too, keeping them busy and happy in these difficult times.

The recipe is based on one from Donna Hay, with some tweaks.

Ingredients

125g softened butter
175g brown sugar
2 free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
2 teaspoons lemon zest
375 self raising flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
80ml milk
80g sultanas
160g icing sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays with baking tray.
Cream the butter and sugar in a food processor. Add the eggs and vanilla, making sure the eggs are well incorporated.
Add the lemon zest, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, milk and sultanas to the food processor and mix in. Be careful not to over mix in case you break up the sultanas.
Refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes or until firm. Roll tablespoons of the mixtures into balls and place on the baking trays.
Bake between 10-15 minutes, depending on the hotness of your oven, until the cookies are pale brown. Remove from the oven and cool on the baking trays.
To make the icing, place the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl and mix to a paste. Place the icing mixture in a piping bag and pipe a cross on each cookie. You don’t have to be too precise, the flavour of the cookies is more important than a beautifully executed item! Or that’s what I think anyway.

ANZAC Biscuits 2018

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55B6B95B-BA83-4195-9AF4-3C4B727731C6I haven’t made ANZAC biscuits for a couple of years so I thought it was time to get out the oats and start baking!

I came across this recipe from my one of my favourite recipe sites Queen Fine Foods. It’s a kind of ANZAC biscuit recipe – however it doesn’t have coconut or golden syrup but it does have nuts. I’m very happy about that inclusion as I am a total nut freak!

The link to the original recipe is here.

I changed a few things in my version  – substituting macadamias for pecans and adding another current favourite ingredient, malt.  I added some sour cherries to some of the biscuits too. Finally I put some of the bikkies together with ginger buttercream to make a pretty substantial cream biscuit sandwich!

So I ended up with a few different ANZAC style biscuits ready for ANZAC day – but they didn’t last that long. There are however a few left for the big day  tomorrow.

Ingredients

150g plain flour

90g rolled oats

160g brown sugar

1 tsp sea salt

60g macadamias, chopped

150g butter

1 tsp Queen vanilla bean paste

1 tbls malt (Saunders Malt is good)

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tbsp boiling water

1 heaped tbls sour cherries (or raisins or cranberries) to add to half the mixture

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Melt the butter, vanilla and malt together in a medium saucepan or microwave carefully.

Stir the bicarbonate of soda and boiling water together in a small bowl, and then add to the butter. The mixture will foam up.

Quickly add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients and stir together with a spoon.

At this point you can mix in the sour cherries to half the mixture if you like.

Take tablespoons of the mixture and roll them into walnut sized balls. Place them on the baking trays, leaving lots of room between them to allow for spreading.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until dark golden brown. The biscuits will have spread and will be very soft. Leave them to cool on the trays for at least five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool properly.

To make the ginger buttercream sandwiches, cream 50g butter with 100g icung sugar and 1/2 tsp ground ginger. Loosen with a splash of milk if the buttercream is to stiff. Spoon or pipe the buttercream onto a few of the biscuits and then place more biscuits on top to finish the sandwiches.

That amount of buttercream gave me 3 sandwiches. Just make a larger amount of buttercream if you want more sandwiches.

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St Clement’s Polenta Biscuits – Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients

 

 

I’ve just acquired Jamie’s new book, 5 Ingredients  – see here for link. It’s exactly what the name suggests, lots of great recipes using 5 ingredients. 5 is a really good number to create recipes with – enough to make a recipe coherent, but not too many to over complicate things.

Today I made St Clement’s Polenta Biscuits from the book.  I can attest to how easy the recipe is. I am currently cooking without a kitchen, as mine is being renovated. So I made these biscuits on my dining room table, using my food processor and an old camping oven friends have lent me. Thank you Roger ‘n’ Ruth –  lifesavers as usual in times of crisis!

So the biscuits couldn’t be easier. I had to make them in batches of 6, as the oven could only hold a tiny baking tray. I didn’t quite get 24 biscuits out of the mix- maybe I made the balls too big.

They are delicious, with a slightly crunchy texture from the polenta, and a real orange tang.

Here’s Jamie’s recipe:

Ingredients

100g unsalted butter (cold)

50g fine polenta

150g self-raising flour

100g golden caster sugar

2 oranges (or lemons)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper and rub with olive oil. ( I used baking paper and left out the olive oil). Cube the butter and place in a food processor with the polenta, flour and sugar. Finely grate in the zest of 1 orange (or lemon), then pulse to combine. Squeeze in the juice of half an orange (or lemon), and pulse again to bring the mixture together into a ball of dough.

Divide into 24 pieces (or however many the mixture yields), roll into balls and place on the trays, leaving a 5cm gap between them. With your thumb, create a 1cm deep dent in the centre of each ball. Finely grate the remaining orange (or lemon) zest and scatter into the dents, followed by a little sprinkle of caster sugar. Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

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Salted Peanut Streusel Slice

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I like a good slice, or traybake as they are known in the U.K. In Oz they’re known as a slice, but years of devoted watching of The Great British Bakeoff have taught me that a slice by any other name is a traybake in the UK!

Do you love salted peanuts? I’m mad on nuts, preferably salted, so I have created a slice or traybake to incorporate shortbread, peanuts and a streusel topping.

For the shortbread base, I have used a Mary Berry biscuit recipe which is my latest go-to cookie recipe as it’s quick, rolls out easily and freezes well for future cookie adventures.

And the streusel is just butter, sugar, flour and cinnamon roughly combined.

Ingredients

For the shortbread base:

175g butter, softened

75g caster sugar

175g  plain flour

75g semolina

For the streusel:

50g butter

50g caster sugar

50g plain flour

1tsp cinnamon

Plus

100g salted peanuts in their skins

Extra butter

Method

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced, 180 degrees C non fan forced. Line a rectangular baking tray – the kind with the low sides that you can make a Swiss roll in – with baking paper. My tray is 27cm x 17cm.

To make the shortbread base, put the butter, sugar, flour and semolina into the bowl of a food processor and mix until a soft dough is formed.

Remove the dough from the processor, and with your hsnds, gently bring the dough together. You could roll it out into a rectangular shape to fit your tray, but it’s just as easy to take pieces of dough and squash into the tray, smoothing and joining as you go. Just make sure the base is a uniform depth.

Make the streusel by pulsing everything in the food processor, being careful not to overmux – you want clumps of rubble streusel mixture for the topping. Put the streusel mixture over the shortbread base, covering all the shortbread.

Scatter over the salted peanuts. Dot the mixture with a little extra butter. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven until the top is golden and the shortbread underneath is cooked.

Remove from the oven, cool in the tray, and cut into slices when completely cool.

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Soft and Chewey Chocolate Chip Cookies

I like it because the cookies are rather soft and “squidgy”. They are a little less robust than ordinary cookies so need to be stored carefully – they are firmer if kept in the fridge.

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup soft dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 egg
2/3 cup plain flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark, milk and white chocolate chips

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Chocolate Chunk and Macadamia Cookies

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This recipe is based on a recent recipe from Taste Magazine. I make a lot of chocolate cookies, and this recipe appeals as the chocolate takes the forms of chunks not chips. The use of self raising flour makes fatter cookies too!

Ingredients

 

125 gms softened butter

100 gms caster sugar

55 gms brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

225 gms self raising flour

100 gms dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

100 gms macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped

2 tbls milk

 

Method

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C, 140 degrees C fan-forced.  Line 2 baking trays with non-stick paper.

Beat softened butter, caster sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract until pale and creamy.

Beat in egg.

Stir in the flour, dark chocolate, macadamia nuts and milk until combined.

Roll the mixture into large walnut sized balls and place on the lined trays about 8 cms apart. Press down slightly.

Bake for 12 minutes or until light golden and cooked. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Store in an airtight container – in the fridge if you want to keep the cookies crisp.

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Cakes, Cookies and Slices – Baking for the Class of 2013

IMG_4577 2So it’s good bye to my young friends who provided such inspiration for this quirky writer in her baking this year!

A wonderful and inspiring group, they have given me feedback and appreciation for my cakes, cookies and slices. Some of them are bakers too, and I wish them joy in their culinary and eating adventures!

Niki Ticki!

Here is a selection of the baking they inspired – and ate appreciatively! Use these titles in “Search” to find the recipes.

White Chocolate and Caramel Pecan Cookies with Sea Salt

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Vanilla Butter Cake with White Chocolate and Hundreds and Thousands

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White Chocolate and Cranberry Blondies

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Red Wine Pear and Almond Cake

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Chocolate Velvet Cupcakes

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Cookie Sampler

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Fancy Individual Cakes

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Caramel Oat Cookies With Peanut Butter

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This recipe was recommended by a young friend from the blog Bakeaholic Mama. Here is the link:

http://www.bakeaholicmama.com/2013/05/brown-butter-oatmeal-cookies-filled.html

If you like really sweet cookies this recipe is for you. The salty peanut butter taste can be a bit disconcerting – but you could use less or leave it out I guess!

Ingredients

1/2 cup  butter

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup dark brown sugar

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup plain flour

3/4 cups rolled oats

1/2 tsp baking powder

6 jersey caramels

6 tsp peanut butter

Method

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C.

Melt butter on medium/low heat in a saucepan until it turns a nut brown colour – be careful not to burn. Remove from heat.

Mix sugars, egg and vanilla in a food processor.

Add browned butter and process again.

 Add oats, flour and baking powder and pulse briefly.

When the dough has come together, refrigerate for 20 minutes until dough is firm enough to form into balls.

Remove from refrigerator and roll into 12 equal sized balls. Place balls on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, leaving about 5 cms between balls.

Push half a caramel into the centre of each cookie dough ball. Put half a teaspoon of peanut butter on the top of each caramel. Form the cookie dough roughly around the caramel/peanut butter.

Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies are brown and cooked through.

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Cookie Sampler

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This selection of cookies, presented as a cookie sampler, comes from a recipe from Annabel Langbein for Butter Cookies:

http://www.annabel-langbein.com/annabel/blog/one-clever-cookie/

Annabel suggests making a quantity of dough and dividing into portions, flavouring each portion in whatever way you fancy!

I chose Carnival Cookies with hundreds and thousands, Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies, Chocolate with Chocolate Chip Cookies and Sultana and Cornflake Crisp Cookies.

The quantities I have used are half those mentioned in Annabel’s recipe. I ended up with about 3 dozen or so cookies.

Ingredients

250 gms butter
1/2 cup sugar
3 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
A few drops of vanilla extract
21/4 cups plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

Flavourings of your choice (see below)

Method
Preheat oven to 160 degrees C. Line 2 oven trays with baking paper.
Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, then stir in the flour and baking powder.
To make Cookie Sampler, divide dough into 4 portions. Mix flavourings (see below) into each portion.
Chill mixture for 15 minutes. Roll into walnut-sized balls, place on baking trays and flatten slightly. Decorate according to instructions for different flavourings. Bake until lightly golden and set (about 20 minutes).
Allow to cool for 10 minutes on the tray then transfer to a rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container or jar. They will keep for several weeks – if they become a little stale simply refresh for 5 minutes in an oven preheated to 180 degrees C.

Cookie Sampler
Once you’ve made a batch of Butter Cookie dough, divide it into 4 and mix a different flavouring into each portion (you’ll get about 8 -12 cookies in each flavour).

Carnival Cookies
Roll 1 portion of dough into balls, dip each ball into hundreds and thousands then flatten onto tray.

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Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies
Add ¼ cup coarsely chopped dried cranberries and ¼ cup coarsely chopped white chocolate to 1 portion of the cookie dough.
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 Chocolate with Chocolate Chip Cookies
Add 3 tsp dark cocoa, 3 tbsp milk or dark chocolate chips to 1 portion of dough.
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Sultana and Cornflake Crisps
Add 3 tbsp sultanas and 4 tbsp lightly crushed cornflakes to 1 portion of the cookie dough.
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