Before you declare me un-Australian, let me assure you that I made regular ANZAC biscuits too. In fact, I set out to make regular ANZAC biscuits. It's just that towards the end, I found myself wondering...what would a chilli version taste like?
It turns out, a chilli version is rather wonderful.
As my fellow Australians (and New Zealanders) will know, ANZAC day is Australia's day of remembrance. It is held each year on the anniversary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops at Gallipoli, Turkey, in World War I. It is an occasion for remembering those who fought so that we could live freely.
ANZAC biscuits are are so-called for two reasons. They do tend to come out around the 25th April, an edible marker of ANZAC day itself. However, original versions of the biscuit were thought to have been sent to soldiers whilst they were away fighting, and/or made by soldiers themselves with ingredients they had available. Those original versions were based around flour, rolled oats, sugar and water - naturally vegan, and helpfully sturdy. Today, biscuits typically include butter, golden syrup and dessicated coconut as well as those traditional ingredients. A bit less sensible, but probably easier to market.
I have to confess to not liking ANZAC biscuits very much. They are too sweet and too coconutty for my tastes, and a basic oat slice is more my thing. However, I enjoy making them and Mr Bite enjoys eating them. This year, I also enjoyed experimenting with them.
|Regular ANZACs at the back; chilli spiced biscutis at the front.|
ANZAC biscuits are ubiquitous, and if you don't already have a recipe for them, you could find several online within 10 seconds of searching. There are minor variations - I tend to use less coconut and less butter than average - but the ingredient list is generally the same. I am repeating my recipe below, with the chilli addition, but if you have your own much-loved recipe you could just add 1 - 2 teaspoons of chilli flakes to your version.
This quota of chilli gives some noticeable warmth, but is not actually hot. Still, if you are wary of spiced foods, using slightly less is always an option.
Chilli spiced ANZAC biscuits
Makes about 20 medium-large biscuits
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup sugar
100g non-dairy spread (I used Nuttelex)
2 tbsp golden syrup
3/4 tsp bicarbonate soda
2 tbsp water
2 tsp chilli flakes (less if you're cautious; omit if you're not in to chilli biscuits)
Preheat your oven to 170'C and line three baking trays with baking paper.
Combine the oats, flour, coconut and sugar in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a heat proof bowl, combine the non-dairy spread and golden syrup. Melt over low heat on the stove top, or on low power in the microwave.
Mix the bicarbonate soda and water in a small container, then add to the melted spread/golden syrup mix and stir to combine.
Pour the liquid mixture into the dry mixture and stir well to combine. Add the chilli flakes and stir through thoroughly.
Roll small balls of mixture and place on the prepared baking trays. Flatten slightly before baking for approximately 10 minutes, or until golden and still slightly soft.
Biscuits will harden on standing but will remain chewy. If you like hard ANZAC biscuits, bake for an additional 2 minutes or so.
Around baking, our ANZAC day incorporated a leisurely, long-ish (long for us!) bike ride. Not quite as adventurous as our ANZAC outings last year and the year before, but still a day that felt thoroughly Australian.
For other Australians - how did you spend ANZAC day?
And what do you think about chilli in sweet biscuits (cookies to Americans)?