Salty Anzac Biscuits
Coconut is something I have been a bit apprehensive about lately. Now, I love fresh coconut. Back in the Philippines, I fondly remember drilling young coconuts open for the water and whacking them open for the meat. Unfortunately, my memories of coconut have been marred by store-bought macaroons and sickeningly sweet coconut cream pies.
I found some dried shredded coconut in the kitchen and contemplated throwing it out. It had been there for a while, I could tell, but it was still good. My mum, being the frugal woman who does not toss out expired yogurt, asked me to use it up in something. I wasn’t happy at first but I found this recipe in a book I had borrowed from the library. I have seen recipes for Anzac biscuits (or cookies, as written by American bakers) but have never really had the inspiration to make it before now.
A quick look tells me Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and these treats have a history dating back to World War I. These biscuits are meant to last without refrigeration, while providing a good amount of energy. They are hearty and have plenty of sugar and hardy carbohydrates without weighing your belly down too much.
In my trials with this recipe, I accidentally added salt each time (come on, every other recipe out there has salt!) But only when I typed it out did I realize the cookbook didn’t say anything about salt. However, they turned out wonderfully salty and reminded me of salted caramel. I also allowed the butter and sugars to cook for a little longer, perhaps adding to that nutty taste. The biscuits themselves can be soft if you underbake them properly, as proper oatmeal cookies would be.
If you let them sit in the oven for a few more minutes, they transform into something crisp, shattery, and yet also chewy due to the honey and coconut.
Salty Anzac Biscuits
Adapted slightly from Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy, Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich
Makes about 16 two-and-a-half-inch cookies
1 cup (3.5 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour*
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup white sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup or honey
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened, dried shredded coconut
*The original recipe called for all-purpose flour, though I used whole wheat flour in the pictures here.
Combine butter, sugars, water, and golden syrup in a small pot and warm over medium-low heat until the butter is melted. Stir occasionally and let cook for about five more minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking soda, coconut, salt, and oats in a large, heatproof bowl. When the butter is melted, pour the sugar mixture into the bowl of flour. Mix until the flour is completely incorporated.
Divide the dough in half and form two 8-by-2-inch logs. Wrap the logs in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and let soften at room temperature slightly for 5 minutes. Slice the dough ¼ to ¾ (and would err on the side of thick) inch thick with a thin serrated knife. You can round out and press together the dough coin if it crumbles a bit.
Place slices at least 1 inch apart on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake for about 14 to 17 minutes, or until golden brown. Rotate the pans to ensure even baking.
If they seem soft after removal, let them finish cooking on the baking sheet. However, I had a few batches sit in the oven a few minutes longer and the biscuits became crispier and a bit harder. Still excellent though!
Delicious when warm, and will last for at least a week in an airtight container at room temperature.
Getting the wet and dry ingredients ready.
Not sure how to roll the soft dough? Here’s a quick run-down.
The finished cookies. Pretty tempting to eat right off the pan from the oven…