I have so much to tell you! I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen a lot lately, and all in all, it’s been pretty successful. I just haven’t had time to write about it, because, well…
I just moved in with my Aussie! Yesterday was the big move, and tonight I hand over the keys to my first real adult home (about which I may wax nostalgic in a later post… we’ll see). In the words of my friend Nicole, “Let the sinning begin!”
But, back to the topic at hand. Remember when I posted awhile back about how being with my Aussie is somehow making me all domestic and crazy-like to the point where I really get a kick out of feeding my man? I had made some delicious pastry-wrapped meat concoction for him, and started planning all sorts of other Aussie treats I could make for him, but I never reported back!
Well, here’s an update.
First I tried a recipe for lamington cupcakes that I found on O Pistachio.
Oh yum! How cute! Sponge cake and chocolate and coconut, OH MY! How could you go wrong with these?
Well, apparently I did. Although I thought they tasted ok (albeit being almost overwhelmingly sweet), Aussie wasn’t too excited. They just weren’t right. I used our regular ol’ sweetened coconut flakes, when really what I needed was “dessicated coconut” — the unsweetened, dried, finely-grated, hard-to-find-in-the-US variety. Our moist version of coconut made a huge difference in taste and texture, and made them stick to their baking cups like crazy. Plus, they just weren’t as cute as O Pistachio’s!
This weekend, though, I was far more lucky. April 25 is ANZAC Day in Australia, which is like our Memorial Day, but a way bigger deal — more like our 4th of July. To commemorate, I wanted to make ANZAC biscuits (aka cookies), which are tastier versions of the hard tack ration biscuits Australian soldiers were given in WWI.
Since this weekend was moving weekend, I made a preliminary batch on Friday night. I carefully made sure that the coconut I purchased was as close to dessicated as possible. I searched high and low for something called “golden syrup,” which turned out to be the most delicious, tasty, melted butter-scotchy thing ever. I improvised when I found I had less than half the amount of sugar needed. I learned that baking trays and pizza trays are not equal. I did science with baking soda and hot butter. I forcefully crammed together fistfuls of dry dough hoping it would stick together. And…
SUCCESS! The biscuits were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. They’re quite dense and very sweet (due to the raw sugar, methinks), and rather than slow you down, it just makes them ridiculously addictive. And of course, since they have oatmeal, they qualify as a health food…right?
This attempt to recreate his homeland cuisine made Aussie happy, therefore, made me happy too… and I made a double-batch last night so he would have some to take to his Aussie friends at work. (What the heck has happened to me?!?)
ANZAC Biscuits (From O Pistachio, with tweaks by me)
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup raw sugar (NOTE: recipe calls for 1 cup sugar… like I said, I had to improvise)
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup very finely grated, unsweetened coconut (i.e. dessicated coconut)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tbsp golden syrup (NOTE: You can find this at Whole Foods with the maple syrup. Try not to eat it all with a spoon.)
2 tbsp boiling water
1 tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 375F
Grease a pizza tray well (the cookies stick), but not TOO well (they also spread). I found a cookie sheet yielded bizarre results. Combine dry ingredients in large boil. Over low heat, melt butter ad golden syrup. Add boiling water to the baking soda and stir until there are no lumps. Add the baking soda mixture to the butter mixture… and keep an eye on it, because it grows! Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and mix thoroughly. The mixture is dry and crumbly, but as long as you can form it into balls, it’s ok. If it’s too dry, add more hot water.
Make balls from about 1 teaspoonful of the mixture and place on the pizza tray. You will need to actively squash the balls — the mixture is dry and crumbly! The biscuits spread a lot while baking, so place them far apart and bake them in two batches.
Bake for 12 minutes. They should be golden. If not, you can cook them a bit longer, but watch them. Allow to cool on the tray before removing them to a cooling rack — they need a chance to harden.
(EDIT: Huh. As it turns out, I used 2 TSP of boiling water instead of 2 TBSP! No wonder the dough was so dry! I added extra water to various amounts among the three batches I made, and they all tasted about the same… but wetter dough sure made for easier ball-making! Note to self: “b”s are way more important than you originally thought!)