Australia: Anzac Biscuits

I had originally planned to make proper Aussie Meat Pies. My friend Dante who I met in Budapest last year is from Aus, and when I asked him for some ideas he said meat pies were the way to go. So I went off to Pick n Pay and found all of the ingredients. The last thing I needed was little pie tins. (The recipe made 6 individual pies and I thought it would be ideal to freeze some of them). The only thing I could find in this particular Pick n Pay was a massive roasting dish which didn’t help – not even any big pie tins. I went to the bakery section and asked if perhaps they had some spares, which they didn’t (Their pies are not made on site). I quickly ran to Woolies, leaving my trolley of goodies in the shop, in the hope they would sell pie tins, or at least have spares. Same story. I held back genuine tears (mainly of frustration and time wasted at the shop) and went home – leaving my trolley in Pick n Pay, and going against all of my childhood needs for order and replacing of products where I found them.

Anyway, that’s the sad background story to this recipe. If I find pie tins I’ll definitely make them down the line, but not today. I have also taken on a bit of a ‘sugar-free’ challenge with Kirst, my brother’s girlfriend. I love a competition, and obviously hate to lose. So I had to choose a recipe that was sugar free (if a dessert) or something savoury. I felt quite wounded from the pies incident so decided a dessert was the way to go…and I found Anzac Biscuits. Anzac biscuits have been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) which was established in World War I. Some stories say these biscuits were made and sent to soldiers in the war because the ingredients kept well (nothing that could go off). Other stories say that these biscuits were made and sold at fetes and galas to raise money to support the war effort (so not actually sent to the soldiers themselves).

In South Africa we call these Crunchies – they’re basically the same thing. Little squares of pure delicious! My aunt, Wawa, makes the best Crunchies I’ve ever had, and they’re still a favourite on family holidays! So, back to the Anzac… An original Anzac Biscuit recipe can be found here (I haven’t made them from this recipe so can’t vouch for it, but they look great!). I found a sugar-free recipe which I used. It can be found here. I ground up my own almonds which was quite fun – Paula has this epic coffee grinder which does the trick perfectly. The mixture, when trying to form the biscuits, was quite dry. I added some more honey, hoping to combine it a bit better, and it sort of helped. I read up about this, and because the recipe doesn’t contain egg or butter, but more dry ingredients like oats and coconut, it is obviously going to be more difficult to stay together. This also has an impact during cooking, where the ingredients seem to dry out quicker. Anyway, the biscuits still cooked, although they could be browner (they look a bit anaemic). Some of them were quite crumbly but others have stayed together nicely. They’re absolutely delicious though – really an amazing flavour. Not too sweet, but enough to know you’re not eating a Provita, and enough of a snack when the sugar craving sets in! I’d have to play around with the recipe, but would definitely make these again! (And would of course like to try the real Anzac biscuits once I’ve won the sugar-free competition!)



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