Friday, 6 December 2013

ANZAC biscuits with cranberries and chocolate

 
Last night we turned on the heater and I curled up on the couch with a warm cup of tea wearing my slippers.  You would have thought it was winter.  It was a wet cold day.  A mere 16 C.  Melbourne is known for fickle weather but it is still surprising in summer to have it a sweltering 36 C one day and a chilly 16 C two days later.  At least it is good for baking.

I really wanted to tell you about some yummy ANZAC biscuits I made this week.  First though, I thought I might tell you about this loaf of bread.  I was kneading it when I heard on the radio this morning that Nelson Mandela died.  It was a significant moment.  Nelson Mandela has been there all my life as a champion for peace and social justice..  I heard someone comment on the radio that Mahatma Ghandi's legacy hasn't been as great as it had seemed at the time of his death.  I hope Mandela's work will continue to inspire for a long time.

Earlier in the week I had planned to buy Sylvia an ice cream.  We sometimes have one after swimming.  It was so cold that I told her she could choose something for me to bake.  She asked for ANZAC biscuits with choc chips. My mum makes ANZAC biscuits regularly and Sylvia loves them.  I was proud of her for asking for chocolate to be added.  The very idea made my mum gasp in horror when I told her later.

[As an aside, it was so cold that I told Sylvia to put on a cardigan like her red one.  She said she couldn't because it was the carpet in the corridor in Dolly's house, which she had created with her dolly highchair.  I said maybe we could get another cloth for the carpet.  Sylvia said no, Dolly liked the soft carpet on her bare feet.]

I do mean to make ANZAC biscuits occasionally for Sylvia.  I made them just after ANZAC Day this year.  I never got around to posting them.  (See above photo collage.)  I had used some variations on the recipe that I posted years ago.  When I returned to my notes they were uselessly brief.  So I rang my mum and got the recipe.  She advised me to make sure the mixture was not too runny or too crumbly.

I only had the remnants of a bar of Lindt sea salt dark chocolate in our chocolate stash.  I decided to add some cranberries.  I had forgotten that I pour hot liquid into the dry ingredients.  The chocolate half melted.  The biscuits were a bit darker than ANZACs should be.  Yet we all loved them.  The chocolate patches and the juicy but slightly tart cranberries lifted the flavour from the ordinary biscuit I ate regular as a child to something special.

I can't help but think that these biscuits would make excellent Christmas gifts.  I have written a lot about the history of ANZAC biscuits elsewhere.  So I wont go into detail here.  However as they were sent overseas to soldiers in World War I they were made to last for some time.  Which is always good with gifts.  You can never be sure when they will be eaten.  I think the chocolate and cranberries give them a festive air, while the oats make them a little healthy.


I will also note for international readers that ANZAC is an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.  In Australia these biscuits are serious stuff.  The Australian Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) has a policy regarding ANZAC biscuits:

"It should be noted that approvals for the word 'Anzac' to be used on biscuit products have been given provided that the product generally conforms to the traditional recipe and shape, and is not used in association with the word 'cookies', with its non-Australian overtones." 
(From DVA website)

Please don't call them cookies or let the DVA know I added chocolate and cranberries or we might all be in trouble!  And cranberry and chocolate oat cookies just doesn't sound right!

I have been considering baking some biscuits (also known as cookies in America) for Christmas presents.  Baking is fine with me.  Packaging is a challenge.  So you can see in the photos that I have been experimenting.  If you are thinking about baking biscuits as gifts, here are a few more ideas.

More fancy ANZAC biscuit recipes:

More biscuits with a hint of Christmas (from Green Gourmet Giraffe):

ANZAC Biscuits with cranberries and chocolate
Makes about 20 biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup wholemeal plain flour
1/2 cup plain white flour
3/4 cup raw sugar (or brown sugar)
75g salted dark chocolate chunks
1/4 cup dried cranberries
125g butter or margarine
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tbsp boiling water

Mix oats, coconut, flours, sugar, chocolate and cranberries in a medium to large mixing bowl.  Melt butter or margarine with golden syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Dissolve bicarb soda in boiling water and tip into the butter and sugar mixture.  It should froth up in a pleasing way.  Tip into dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Take small handfuls and shape into balls and flatten slightly (mine were about 1cm thick).  Place on a lined baking tray.  Bake at 180 C for about 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown (mine took 15 minutes).  Cool on the tray (mine were crumbly when warm but held together well when cool).  Store in an airtight container.

On the stereo:
Trumpets: Club Hoy

20 comments:

  1. Hi Johanna!
    I'm sorry it's so cold in your part of the world. Here we are approaching Winter so cold is expected but I really think you should be basking in the sun over by you. I wish I had some sunshine to send your way but alas, another rainy cold day in central PA:)

    That is so adorable that Sylvia was more concerned about her Dolly. So cute. She is going to be just the right age this holiday season:)

    I have celebrated ANZAC Day many times on my blog and I must admit, I have never seen them with cranberries and chocolate. Very interesting, lol...I'm sure they were delicious and not to worry, I won't tell:) Thank you so much for sharing, Johanna...stay warm:)

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    1. Thanks Louise - we had a lovely summer day today that makes the topsy turvy weather of late seem like it never happened. I fear that Dolly is a very convenient get-out clause for Sylvia but it was sweet and I am glad my ANZAC waywardness will just be our little secret :-)

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  2. I find it hilarious that you can't call them cookies because that isn't "Australian" enough.

    I've never had an Anzac cookie (*ahem* biscuit!) but I'll have to try your recipe. They look delicious!

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    1. Thanks Dayna - I was quite amused that it was important enough for the government to consider but it does always sound so odd to me to hear anyone say ANZAC cookies.

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  3. I love how you styled these biscuits - they're very festive. The weather's been all over the place in Sydney at the moment, too. A few nights ago I went out and it was only 15C after being very hot during the day. It's hard to wear the right clothing when it's so unpredictable xx

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    1. Thanks Charlie - it is hard to predict the weather at the moment - I run to check the temperature before getting sylvia dressed each morning - and on the day it was 36 C we went to a hairdresser who was flustered she hadn't realised it would be so hot and sent her kids to child care in the wrong clothes!

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  4. oh my these biscuits look heavenly scrumptious,thanks for sharing :-)

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    1. Thanks Kumars Kitchen - they are indeed really good

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  5. I am a wee bit jealous of your weather! But that does sound very intermittent and entirely odd and yet more proof that our weather patterns have taken on unexpected and unnatural overtones... A happier note is these biscuits, which I love the sound of and which appeal to me far more than traditional ANZACs. I made plain biscuits with chocolate and cranberries for Christmas last year but these would be a nice twist.

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    1. Thanks Kari - I don't really mind the cold but it just feels odd at this time of year - I think E takes it more in his stride as he is used to cold summers in Scotland. I am sure you would love these biscuits - the cranberries and chocolate go really well with the oatiness of ANZACS

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  6. I love ANZAC biscuits so much that any variation works for me :) I'm going to make some with cranberries and maybe some macadamia to give out at Christmas. I did make a batch of biscuits a few days ago and put them in the freezer for Christmas gifts but I've taken them out and eaten them all.

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    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - cranberries and macadamis ANZACs sound like excellent gifts - and you make me laugh eating the ones you have already made for gifts - I love bikkies in the freezer as I usually ignore them because I can't be bothered defrosting them and I tend to forget lots of things that go in the freezer - but your batch must have been very good :-)

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  7. Oh yum I will try these! Your Sylvia sounds like my Sylvia - anything with choc chips... :)

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    1. Thanks Kate - who doesn't love choc chips :-)

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  8. ANZACs are such lovely little cookies! i love how you put a seasonal twist on these!!

    And it is so sad about Nelson Mandela. The world lost a hero.

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    1. Thanks Joanne - yes it is sad about Nelson Mandela even though he was old and sick, it still seems sad that he is no longer among us.

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  9. These ANZACs look gorgeous and your photos are anazing! LOL about Sylvia and Dolly.

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  10. Very festive looking biscuits :) Looking forward to sharing your creation with my readers.

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  11. That's just the kind of biscuits I used to love - sweet yet hearty with a crunch. :) I also love how you piled them up and decorated them.

    I haven't tried making gluten-free biscuits yet, but I know I want to try soon. I'm still not sure which kind of flour to use, I'm afraid they might just fall apart! But pobably I can use your recipe as an inspiration!

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