Monday, September 6, 2010

[Cookie 090] ANZAC Biscuits

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Damn, the big 9-0. So close to one hundred. But more importantly, this cookie should be acknowledged as the very first cookie I baked here in Ghana! And the very first cookie I ever baked using a gas oven! So many milestones, so many feats! I exaggerate, yes, but still I think the fact that I was able to produce mildly edible cookies using an oven that has no temperature knob and is essentially just a sealed box with a blazing fire inside of it deserves a little pat on the back. Well, when I say mildly edible I mean that the first batch I made I burned the hell out of the bottoms of (it was only thanks to my friend Ayden's nose that we realized something was going wrong in the kitchen), and the second batch baked for way too long and got overcooked and hard, though beautifully golden brown. But the cookie itself, let me just say, YES.

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ANZAC Biscuits I suppose were a funny first choice cookie to make during my stay here in Africa, considering that they are a cookie that got its name from the Australian New Zealand Army Corps during WWI. Apparently, they were a popular cookie to mail to soldiers, and I can see why since they are pretty sturdy and probably won't taste bad after a few days (though mine didn't last that long). They have oats, coconut, and Lyle's Golden Syrup in them--the latter two were readily available at my local supermarket, and for a cheap price too. And let me just say: Lyle's Golden Syrup. Holy shit. This is the stuff that God drinks, I swear to you. Oh mah gaaaaaaah! I want to put this on everything I eat, from now on. Done.

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The other ingredients, like flour and butter, were super expensive at the market here because I couldn't find any that weren't imported. Oh well, I guess I'll make do somehow. At least the baking soda is in the cutest container EVER!

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Anyway, the recipe is pretty simple and requires that you melt your butter with the Lyle's Golden Syrup, so you don't have to set your butter out on the counter an hour early to soften up! Whipping up the dough is easy peasy, and perfect if you don't have an electric mixer on hand. Then you just scoop out balls of dough with your cookie scoop, if you have one. If not, you just roll balls of dough between your hands, and make sure to pack them tightly so that the cookie doesn't fall apart too much.

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(Oh and by the way, check out the mega-kitchen that we have in my dorm here! That's only half of it, too! We have 3 oven/stoves, but only 1 has gas! I feel like I'm on a cooking show...or not at all) The next step, or actually the step before all the dough-making actually, should be to preheat your oven. Yeah no big deal, whatever, just turn the knob to 350ยบ. Okay, I know I'm a totally newbie to this whole gas oven thing--BUT WHAT THE HELL?! You have to literally aim a flaming match underneath the bottom of your oven and pray to god that it catches fire?! And then you can't really adjust the flame (at least on ours you can't)?! And we don't have an oven thermometer yet! Blind baking!! Ahhh!! So of course, the first batch we decide that it's fine to stick our cookie sheet/roasting pan on the lowest rack, so it burns the cookies' tushies to a blackened crisp and leaves their tummies all doughy and undercooked. Then, thinking we had outsmarted the oven, we raise the sheet to the top level and the cookies bake for almost twice as long and looked perfect, but were so cooked through that they hardened up into rocks. Siiiiigh. At least it was a learning experience. Next time, the middle rack should be just right--the third bowl of porridge, if you're into metaphors or some shit.

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So, these cookies are pretty delicious and easy and great and you should make them if you have a sane-person's oven. But hey, gas ovens ain't so bad. They get hot in like 3 seconds and...yeah, that's it. Okay, I'm over it! No one said it would be easy cooking on an entirely different continent, worlds away. Imma make this happen! Go go go! Welcome to a new semester of cookie baking--Awkwaaba.

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ANZAC Biscuits
Makes about 3 dozen

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons Lyles Golden Syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

  • Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper, and set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, and coconut. Set aside.
  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with syrup. Dissolve baking soda in boiling water, and add to butter mixture. Stir to combine. (Be careful; if the butter is hot, it will bubble up considerably.)
  • Add butter mixture to dry ingredients, and stir to combine. Using a 1 1/2-inch ice-cream scoop, drop onto prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart (be sure to pack the scoop tightly so the mixture doesn't crumble). Flatten cookies slightly with the heel of your hand.
  • Bake until golden brown and firm but not hard, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

  • ****
    {End Results}
    Baking Difficultly: 1/5
    Ingredient Accessibility: 2.5/5 (Depends on where you live, I guess)
    Tastiness: 4/5
    Attractiveness: 2/5
    Is it worth it?: Yes! Oh man, and the dough...I could eat it for. ev. er.

    {Pairings}
    Drink: These would be good with milk, or nothing at all.
    Song: How Hard -- James Apollo
    Activity: Mastering the art of gas oven baking in a third world country!

    9 comments:

    Becky said...

    Wow. So cool you are making them in Ghana. Sounds like a neat experience.

    Barbara E said...

    Way to go! Looks like a great kitchen. Do you want me to mail you an oven?

    Mary said...

    Your biscuits sound amazing but I'm blinded by that gorgeous kitchen in your dorm. That is really something else. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

    Anonymous said...

    das da right one maan...

    Anonymous said...

    oh btw that was me, claire

    Anonymous said...

    ALSO PS. made martha's/your/my lemon poppyseed cookies as an example of my baking skills - because I applied to be a baker for the "tea haus" on campus. and i got the job! so hey!

    grace said...

    *pat on back* these still sound good :)

    anamarva said...

    Lizzie! Cute cookies and that's a huge kitchen! Too bad about the oven... Maybe I will send a care package with a thermometer (if you didn't already get one) and good coffee! And some lycra for Natalie!
    I miss you guys!

    Danielle said...

    These biscuits are AMAZING! Just made them today! Super easy too, this will become one of my cookie staples. They are now cooling in my dorm room.

    For anyone having trouble finding golden syrup (I'm in PA and our grocery stores don't provide a lot of variety) I successfully substituted equal parts corn syrup+honey in place of the syrup and they came out beautifully. Made them for church but I'm struggling to keep from eating them :)