Anzac Biscuits: A Recipe with History!

I love the stories behind recipes and recipes with History as well!

Most of the times there is always something behind a recipe, a special occasion, a celebration and how it connects people or heals them!

There is also recipes with History, in the majority of the cases they relate with a discovery of a new ingredient or with different needs at the time!

A Portuguese one I find special interesting is about the Conventual Sweets; which are mostly based on sugar and egg yolks. From the 15th century onward, Portugal was using a lot of egg whites as a wine purifier and also exporting them for being used to iron elegant clothes of rich men all around Occidental Europe!

With the expansion of sugar, the nuns in the convents started to use the left overs of the egg yolks to make these conventual sweets and some time after started to sell them and passed the tradition from generations to generations.

Anzac Biscuits

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A couple of days ago, on the 25th April, both Portugal and Australia celebrated a special day. 

In Portugal, we celebrated the so called Freedom Day (25th April 1974) – the day of the revolution and the end of the dictatorship.

Every year my mom used to say the same thing….”I was about to go to school, when your grandfather entered in the house and told us that there was no school that day, everyone was out in the streets…a revolution had began! And life changed forever!

In Australia, they have celebrated the Anzac Day – The Australian War Memorial.

Anzac stands for the Australian and New Zealand War Corps and it celebrates their first major military action during the First World War. It´s their remembrance day.

It seems that wives of the soldiers were baking these Anzac Biscuits and posting them to their husbands. They are made with  simple ingredients that would easily handle naval transportation.

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Taking advantage of the windy day in Madrid which made it impossible to take T to the park after nursery, I thought it would be a good idea to bake some Anzac Biscuits with him.

I slowly told him his grandma story about the Portuguese 25th of April….not sure he got it, but it was super fun…and very messy as well!

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Anzac Biscuits: A recipe with History 

This is a Jamie Oliver recipe, I made some tweaks as I didn’t have golden syrup and instead used honey, and baking powder instead of bicarbonate of soda and added a little pinch of cinnamon (but you can not to).

I also used coconut sugar as I had a pack I recently bought and really wanted a recipe I could try it with and this one looked great. Coconut sugar derives from the coconut palm tree and it´s being very much used to replace white refined sugar….and I wanted to try!

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1-  These are absolutely delicious! Crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside and definitely the orange zest gives a fantastic flavour to the all biscuit.

2- Perfect to bake with kids: you make the mixture of the dry ingredients and then the one of the liquid ones and let them mix both and play with their hands, and make little dough balls.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 2 tbps honey
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 120g plain flour
  • 80g rolled oats
  • 100g coconut sugar or golden caster sugar
  • 80g desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla flavour
  • zest of 1 orange
  • pinch (small) cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Line 2 large baking trays with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a small pan over a low heat, then stir in the honey. In a small bowl, combine the baking powder with 3 tablespoons of boiling water, then stir it into the butter mixture.
  3. Combine the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a medium bowl. Make a well in the middle, then add the butter mixture, vanilla, cinnamon and orange zest. Give the wet ingredients a good mix, then gradually stir in the dry ingredients to combine.
  4. Place little balls of dough into the baking trays, leaving a rough 3cm gap between each one. Place in the hot oven for around 10 minutes, or until golden, then transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely. After 5 minutes into the oven I quickly with the back of a spoon pressed the dough down and left them of an extra 5 minutes. I like them with a bit of a rough look. 

 

After so much dedicated work from T, I thought it would only be fare to share some of his biscuits Art.

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