Do you remember your first recipe? The first thing you were able to cook without someone hovering over you to make sure you didn't burn down the kitchen? My first recipe came from my 2nd grade teacher - a handsome man who taught me about baking, how to make paper from old newspapers and how to do my 8 x multiplication tables. I think I fancied myself in love with him as much as a 7 year old understands such things. I think a lot of the married and single mothers fancied themselves in love with him too which sadly led to a firing. The recipe he gave me was for ANZAC biscuits. I still have the crudely typed (and very much stained) piece of paper sticky taped into my cookbook.
ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits are part of every Australian and New Zealand bakers repertoire. They were baked by mothers, wives, daughters and girlfriends and sent to loved ones in the trenches during World War I. They were messages of love and care baked into a hard tack cookie using ration ingredients that could survive long journeys.
I use that first recipe as a base for at least half the biscuits I cook. I tweak it and play with it depending on what my mood demands but three things stay the same; The oats, the golden syrup and the butter. In this recipe I used oat and spelt flour rather than stodgy traditional plain flour. It makes them slightly drier but a greater depth of flavour. I also added dried fruit because we had so much of it lingering in the cupboard after Christmas.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup oat flour
- ½ cup spelt flour
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ⅔ cup desiccated coconut
- 175g butter, chopped
- 3 tablespoons golden syrup
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 ½ cups dried fruit (I like to use a combination of raisins, dried cherries and chopped dried apricots)
- Preheat oven to 160°C/320°F and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Combine oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a bowl. Place butter, syrup and 2 tablespoons cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir for 2 minutes or until butter has melted. Stir in bicarbonate of soda. Stir butter mixture into oat mixture.
- Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on trays, 4 cm apart. Flatten slightly. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until light golden (see note). Stand on trays for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve.