A Childhood Favorite
Did you know that I was born in Australia? Yes! I also lived in New Zealand for a long time. That is why I have a funny accent!
But, that is also why one of my favorite childhood treats are ANZAC biscuits.
ANZAC biscuits, or cookies as you would say in the USA, are a tradition in Australia and New Zealand. Back in the day, women used to bake these biscuits and ship them off to soldiers fighting in the wars overseas. The biscuits traveled well, tasted good, gave the soldiers a lot of energy and reminded them of home.
A Cure for Homesickness
A couple of months ago, there was a newsworthy event that happened in New Zealand. My sister (shout out to Lia!) sent me a New York Times article where a reader wrote in to a reporter to remind them about “the stalwart kiwi dishes that have turned up on tables and given to neighbors and strangers at times of tragedy as well as picnics and celebrations”. The article mentioned ANZAC biscuits as one of these dishes.
I realized something. I had not eaten an ANZAC biscuit in… years, to be honest. And immediately, I felt homesick.
So, to combat those homesick blues, I went straight to the kitchen to make some ANZAC biscuits.
My Take on a Classic
Years ago, my other sister (shout out to Feby!) gave me a gorgeous cookbook of Kiwi classic food, called “Ladies, A Plate: Traditional Home Baking” by Alexa Johnston.
In this book, there were 2 recipes for ANZAC biscuits, but I opted to go for the more traditional version.
ANZAC biscuit recipes use some classically English ingredients that, quite frankly, I didn’t have in my American pantry. So I had to adjust and make do with what I had. But what turned out, was a delicious rendition on the classic ANZAC biscuits.
I also made a few swaps to make these cookies healthier. I swapped the white sugar for stevia or monkfruit sweetener, and I reduced the amount of butter used. In the traditional recipe, the butter would give the cookies a hard, crispy texture. This was not something that I loved because I always got frustrated trying to bite into the rock hard biscuits. Instead, I replaced the extra butter with water. Sounds crazy, I know, but this ensured that the edges of the biscuit were crisp, yet the inside was delightfully chewy.
A Taste of Home
I am so happy with how these biscuits turned out! The flavor is such a wonderful reminder of the traditional ANZAC biscuits. I also love the crispy edge and how it contrasts so well with the chewy, tender center of the biscuit.
These biscuits are perfect with a cup of hot tea and some time, to think about the ones you love, no matter where they might be in the world.
I hope you give these biscuits a try! It would be so fun to see what you think of my rendition of ANZAC biscuits, or for you to try this biscuit that, maybe, you had never heard of till today.
A classic Australian and New Zealand biscuit with a few healthified twists!
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1 cup dessicated coconut, unsweetened
- 3/4 cup gluten free flour
- 1/2 cup stevia or monkfruit sweetener
- 2 oz butter or coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
- 2 tbsp hot water
- 1 tsp baking soda
- Up to 2 oz water, as needed to bind biscuit dough together
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Line a cookie sheet with a non-stick mat.
In a large bowl, mix the oats, coconut, flour, and sweetener of choice, till well combined.
In a small bowl, mix the water and baking soda till the baking soda dissolves fully.
Add the butter or coconut oil into the same small bowl as the water/baking soda mixture, and mix thoroughly.
Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together.
If needed, add up to 2 oz of water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the biscuit dough binds together. You are aiming for the dough to hold together when pressed into a ball.
Take heaping tablespoons of the dough, roll into a ball and place on the lined non-stick mat. Repeat with the remaining dough.
Press the balls down into discs about 1/2″ thick.
Bake for 15-20 mins, or until deeply golden brown along the edges.
Allow to cool completely. As the biscuits cool, they will become more crisp along the edges and firm up in the middle.
Store the biscuits in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
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