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 getting out some butter & sugar and whipping up a batch of muffins or biscuits. And while tired doesn’t equate with grumpy though the two go hand in hand, I wasn’t up to creaming butter and sugar nor making a feather-light sponge (I struggle with that when I am in baking nirvana so I’m going to leave it in the too hard category).
And so the tried and true trusted recipes come into the fore. Melt the butter and mix in a large pot sort of recipes. Anzac biscuits are a very Kiwi/Ozzie biscuit that the two countries scrap over nearly as much as the Pavlova debate and Jo Seagar has baked both the Kiwi and the Ozzie version in this short clip to determine which was liked most. Much has been explored and written about the history so I am not going there. Anzac biscuits are a classic and really don’t need improving. Filled with rolled oats and coconut and flavoured with golden syrup they can be moist or crunchy depending on the ratio of butter and sugar. We like our Anzac biscuits to be a little moist and chewy. Crunchy Anzacs are looked upon as overdone and good for the chickens. Over the years I have made many different Anzac biscuit recipes but a few I return to when I need to get something in the tins quickly.
There are plenty of variations and a lot of scope with Anzac biscuits – add fruit, chocolate, nuts or seeds for texture, use wholemeal flour instead of white, use oil instead of butter and so on. A quick search on the Chelsea Sugar baking website returns 8 recipes for Anzac biscuits and a google search proves just how many variations of the anzac biscuit already exist and so, do we really need another one? But what is one more – and that is when the baking fun begins – make a recipe your own with a tweak here or there, or an inspired addition such as apples and ginger (if I may say so myself). The following recipe is an adaptation of Jo Seagar’s Mixed-in-the-saucepan Anzac Biscuits published in It’s Easier than you Think. I called them Applezacs which appealed my 11 year old son, but bewildered the Anster until I explained that Apple Anzacs was a bit of a mouthful. Incidentally, Jo Seagar has another Anzac Biscuit recipe published in All Things Nice with Jo Seagar and can also be found here (the only difference being the book recipe having ¼ cup more white sugar). I have tried the classic Anzac biscuit recipe but prefer the mixed-in-the-saucepan recipe.
I have given a measurement range for the appelstroop. If you like your biscuits to be crunchy on the outside & chewy on the inside then use only 2 T of the syrup. If you prefer softer biscuits that are chewy all the way through then use 3 T of the syrup. To get a more Ozzie like biscuit – use 4 T of appelstroop and you will get flat as a pancake but still chewy biscuits.
Anzac Biscuits with Apple & Ginger
125 g butter
2 T cold water
80-120 g (2-3 T) appelstroop
1 t baking soda
120 g (1 cup) traditional rolled oats
90 g (1 cup) desiccated coconut
140 g (1 cup) wholemeal flour
200 g (1 cup) brown sugar
65 g (½ cup) chopped golden apple chunks
65 g (½ cup) chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 160°C.
Place the butter, water & appelstroop in a large pot over a gentle heat, until the butter and appelstroop is melted.
Remove from the heat and stir in the baking soda. It will fizz – that’s okay, it is meant to.
Sift the flour into the pot, then add remaining ingredients and mix well.
Scoop 1 T of mixture and roll into a ball.
Place on a baking paper lined baking tray, leaving room for the biscuits to spread.
Squish flat with a fork and then bake for 15 minutes (18-20 if you like them crunchy).
Remove from the oven and set aside for 10 or so minutes before transferring to a baking rack to cool completely before storing them in an air-tight container.
Makes about 32 biscuits.