Anzac biscuits are a well-known and equally well-loved biscuit (cookie) that we share with our cousins over the ditch in Australia. There are heaps and heaps of recipes out in cyber-space, most of which have rolled oats, coconut and golden syrup. Some add spices, nuts, dried fruit or even chocolate: Dean Brettschneider has a delicious fruity Anzac biscuit here that includes sunflower seeds, dried figs and dried apricots. Chelsea Sugar have a delicious version with chocolate chips and dried apricots. And I have created a version (with apple syrup instead of golden syrup) that are studded with golden chunks of dried apple that I call Applezacs. As an aside there is also an interesting history about the Anzac biscuits that can be read on the National Army Museum website here.
When I originally began this blog it was my intention to take regular recipes and see how I could ramp them up with flavours of apple. I have done a fair bit of adding apple to recipes but have failed to add them to my blog before the bottomless-pit-teenagers manage to remove all trace of such baking experiments. Continue reading
Homemade cookies or biscuits as we call them here in New Zealand (not to be confused with American biscuits which we call scones) are a welcome sight in our baking “tins”. I say “tins” as baking containers doesn’t conjure up the same image but, although I have three or four actual tins, I store baking in airtight plastic (yes, BPA-free) containers. I prefer clear transparent containers so the kids don’t lift a corner of each to see what is inside. Invariably they don’t reseal the container leaving the contents to soften unless I come along behind them pushing down the corners and clasps. I think that is my life long task along with closing kitchen drawers (and The Anster’s is to turn off the lights in all the empty rooms).
So back to the biscuits – many biscuit (cookie) recipes begin with cream the butter & sugar which is absolutely fine if you don’t have an aversion to dairy products. I like baking with butter but I don’t like the reaction I get from Miss M and she doesn’t like to reaction she gets from consuming butter. I could substitute the butter with margarine but margarine is a swear word in our house. I do buy dairy-free spread made with olive oil for Miss M so she can enjoy toast with “butter” and jam but I try not to use that too much in baking unless I absolutely cannot get around it.
The next best thing is to find recipes that require the butter to be melted so I can swap out the butter for oil & non-dairy milk. I have found I get the best results when I use 75% neutral-tasting oil (I use rice bran oil) and 25% non-dairy milk (which is what ever milk is in the fridge at the time: almond, coconut, rice, oat or soy).
When deciding to bake biscuits the first thing I look at is, if there is butter, what method is required: creaming (discard that recipe) or melting (worth a second look). I have been experimenting with using my 75/25 butter substitute in recipes traditionally requiring the creaming method but that is another post for another day.
On one of my second-hand/charity shop scouring trips I came across Cookie Magic: Cholesterol Free & High Fibre Recipes by Diana Linfoot for the huge price of $1.00. A quick look through the book and I found a number of recipes requiring the sugar and margarine (the author says never use butter and margarine gives a better result than oil but I am ignoring that little piece of advice as this book was produced 26 years ago and butter had an undeserved bad reputation way back then). I have never used margarine in baking and always substitute it with butter – such a rebel! But back to the blending of sugar and fats – this method will work perfectly well with sugar and my 75/25 butter substitute mix which opens up a whole lot of interesting recipes to play around with. Just over half the recipes are either blend or melt or completely dairy-free however some of the recipes have five or six variations so that leaves plenty of scope for some delicious cookie creations/adaptations. The only one I have discarded completely is the Savoury Cheese Nibbles. They do sound and look very good but cheese is kind of tricky to substitute. Maybe I’ll make them anyway and put my sunglasses on to shield me from the black looks Miss M sends my way.
Here is the first cookie recipe I converted to dairy-free and is a resounding success with all four of the bottomless-pits commonly known as teenagers that reside in our house. My changes were to swap out the margarine for oil & non-dairy milk, substitute the dates for chocolate chips, substitute self-raising flour for standard flour & baking powder (I have nothing against self-raising flour but I already have large containers of high-grade, standard and wholemeal flour as well as numerous smaller jars of coconut, oat, sorghum, quinoa, and rice flours etc etc and my-bursting-at-the-seems-pantry has the draw the line somewhere) and I used Weetbix crumbs as I have a large jar that I top up each time a box of Weetbix is consumed (which sometimes seems like every second day). None of the BLP (bottom-less pits) like Weetbix crumbs (dust) for breakfast but are quite happy to eat it when incorporated into cookies & cake which is great for the zero waste movement. On that note how do they measure how much food each household throws away each year? Do they dig through our rubbish? And what about the food I discard from our fridge to donate to our chickens – is that considered “thrown away”?
A classic New Zealand biscuit (or cookie) is the Kiwi Biscuit, also known as a Highlander Biscuit after the brand of sweetened condensed milk that flavours these yummy cookies. There are many different recipes out in the world for Kiwi Biscuits and each has a little tweak according to each baker’s preferences – a little more butter, a little less sugar, twice as many chocolate chips….. Continue reading
Dairy-free Wholemeal Double Chocolate Crinkle Biscuits (Cookies)
These chocolate biscuits are inspired by the ginger crinkle biscuit that I make regularly as they are easy to make and delicious (the recipe can be found on the Chelsea Sugar website here). There are also a lot of other super yummy recipes on that website – I used to make the Chocolate Chunk Oat Biscuits from time to time before dairy-free restrictions entered our life. It doesn’t matter that 5/6th’s of our family are OK with dairy, if I make or bake something with dairy in it, I get the evil eye from the daughter as if I am intentionally rubbing in the fact she can’t eat anything and everything anymore.
It is no secret that I like to bake. Combining butter, sugar & flour to create delicious treats is satisfying in a way that I can’t really explain. When the rise and fall of the tide of life seems to threaten the shores of my sanity, a frenzied bout of creaming, mixing, rolling, folding & icing helps the unnecessary worries fade. Continue reading
Similar to chocolate chip cookies, but using delicious caramel bits instead. I spied these caramel drops in the supermarket a while ago and added a couple of packets to my basket knowing I’d have to play around with different ideas. They have been added to muffins and cakes, but so far these cookies are the best. Well, the muffins were really tasty and I have taken some pretty cool photo’s but despite looking very carefully for my recipe notes, I can’t find where I have written them down or typed them up. So I might have to try to recreate them. Continue reading
Anzac Biscuits with Apple & Ginger
Disaster had arrived in our pantry – the tins were empty! After three weeks of caring for sick kids and husbands (well, one husband but he had man flu so it was as if I had multiple husbands), I was a bit too tired to bake my heart out and fill the tins. But it was bake or starve as I wasn’t going to succumb to the pressure (theirs) and send the lunch boxes kitted out with packets of this and that. Actually, that stretches the truth a little bit as I have never made lunches for my children – well maybe when they attended kindergarten or pre-school but once they hit five, it was their responsibility to make their lunch. It was how I was bought up and I didn’t starve – nor did I complain that mum hadn’t made the right kind of sandwich. I only had myself to blame if I had honey and raisin sandwiches every day of the week (seriously you should try it, it is really good).
But back to the baking tins and the lack within. Baking makes me happy and I understand that has something to do with the “feel good” factor of providing treats for my offspring but also something to do with keeping my hands busy. If I feel a major grump coming on, it can be averted by Continue reading