Baby, it’s cold outside! A huge storm came through the other night and threatened to tear the roof off! We had toys still outside, and clothes on the washing line, and I was convinced nothing would be there in the morning. Thankfully, I was wrong. The air is washed clean and I can even see some blue sky, but it’s terrible cold. Cold, that is, for the driest state in the driest continent. It’s winter, and it’s time for some serious comfort food. The perfect dunking biscuit suits the occasion… a riff on the classic Anzac biscuit… filling the house with the warm aromas of toasted coconut, cardamom and orange zest.
But we won’t be calling these Anzac biscuits, because did you know the Anzac biscuit recipe is heritage listed? According to Wikipedia, “the term Anzac is protected under Australian law and cannot be used in Australia without permission; misuse can be legally enforced particularly for commercial purposes. There is a general exemption granted for Anzac biscuits, as long as these biscuits remain basically true to the original recipe and are both referred to and sold as Anzac biscuits and never as cookies”.
Apparently, the restaurant chain Subway tried to add Anzacs to their menu in Australia, but after receiving orders from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to bake the biscuits according to the original recipe, discarded the attempt because it wasn’t cost effective.
Take home lesson? You don’t mess with tradition.
And yet I have. These are Anzac bikkies with a twist. They are Anzacs for those who live outside of the Commonwealth, and who can’t source golden syrup. They are minus golden syrup, plus honey, brown butter, toasted coconut, spices and orange zest. They taste pretty fine, I think you’ll agree.
Perfect for dunking in a hot cup of tea or coffee on a cold and wintry day.
Orange, Oat and Cardamom Cookies
Makes about 30 cookies
1 cup rolled oats (not quick-oats)
¾ cup shredded coconut, toasted
1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
1 cup caster (super-fine) sugar
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Finely grated zest of one orange (approx 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ tablespoons boiling water
Preheat oven to 160deg C (320deg F) and line two flat baking trays with baking paper. To toast the coconut, spread out in a large frying pan and cook slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly until coconut turns from white to golden brown. Set aside to cool.
In a heavy-based saucepan, melt butter slowly, then when completely liquid, raise heat and allow to froth, stirring constantly. As froth subsides, butter will begin to stick to pan, creating a brownish substance on the surface of the pan. This is good. The butter should now have a nutty aroma. Once the butter has browned, take off heat immediately, before it burns. Set aside to cool slightly. Mix baking soda with water, add to butter with honey, and stir until honey is melted.
In a small bowl, rub the orange zest into the sugar with your fingers, creating a fragrant sugar. Add dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl, make a well and then stir butter and honey mixture into dry ingredients. Mix to combine thoroughly. Place rounded tablespoons of mixture on lined baking tray, flatten slightly with your fingers. Bake in a slow oven (160deg C) for 18 – 20 minutes (I prefer them on the softer side, but for a crisper cookie, bake for the full 20 min). Allow cookies to cool on trays for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.