So how did a little baked something, trading under the name Macadamia Anzacs, come into being? I don’t mean the recipe, but the events leading up to this particular baking episode. You know, where some huddle of neurons got all fired up and eventually took earthly form in the shape of baked goodies. Well, it happened something like this…
It starts with Tiger Chow’s intriguing post on coconut macaroons. The particular feature which had stayed with me was the idea of embedded macadamia nuts. I bought some macadamia nuts. I was going to embed them in something. That something would probably involve coconut. It is a fact of culinary life that macadamias like to cosy up to coconut. .
It was mentioned to me in passing (for reasons which utterly escape me now) the surprising fact that macadamia nuts are the only native plant food exported from Australia in any significant quantity. Says so on Wikipedia, so I guess it must be true.
I later read kickpleat’s post on Anzac biscuits. For those who are not familiar with them, the homely oat and coconut creations that are Anzac biscuits were named for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps during WW1. We used to make versions of these biscuits when I was a kid, though without calling them Anzac anything. I thought it about time to make them again and it wasn’t exactly a massive leap to think of giving these quintessentially Aussie biscuits a native macadamia heart. So that’s what I did.
Anzac Biscuits with a Macadamia Heart
This more or less follows the recipe as left in the comments to kickpleat’s post by Steaky Diane, along with my own addition of the nutty centre. I even did a gluten-free version for she-who-is-still-kindof-avoiding-gluten. I would also be inclined (as was kickpleat’s assessment of her version) to add a little something extra next time out, some lemon or lime zest methinks.
The Dry Ingredients:
- 125g brown sugar
- 75g rolled oats
- 75g dessicated coconut
- 125g plain flour or for gluten-free anzacs, use a mix of 75g rice flour, 50g tapioca starch and 0.25 tsp xanthan gum
The Wet Ingredients:
- 120g butter
- 1 tblsp golden syrup
- 2 tblsp boiling water
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 50-60g macadamia nuts, unsalted (around 30 nuts, one to put in each biscuit)
- If using the macadamia nuts, you’ll want to toast them lightly first, so…
- Preheat the oven to 180C
- Spread the nuts on a baking tray and place in the oven for about 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Watch them carefully so that they don’t burn. Remove and allow to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 160C or reduce to this temperature if you already had the oven on to toast the nuts. Grease a large cookie sheet or line with baking parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, rolled oats, coconut and flour (or gluten-free flour mix if using).
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over a low heat.
- Add the golden syrup to the melted butter, stir to mix and remove from the heat.
- Add the boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda (this will fizz and foam up), then stir into the butter mixture.
- Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine. The mixture will be crumbly.
- Using a tablespoon measure or small scoop, form small balls of mixture, around the size of a walnut.
- If not using the macadamia nuts, just place the scoops of mixture on the cookie sheet and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon or a spatula.
- If using the macadamias, take a scoop of mixture as above and, while the mixture is still in the scoop, press in a single nut. Some of the mixture will be squeezed out when you do this – use this to cover over the base of the nut so that it’s no longer visible. Now place the scoop of mixture on the cookie sheet. As the mixture is crumbly, it might tend to break apart when removed from the scoop. If so, just mould it back together with your hands.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
- This makes 25-30 little biscuits
- I definitely think I would add some lemon or lime zest next time