Sunday, July 1, 2012

ANZAC Cookies: Tough, Tender, & Time-Tested

Some things are designed  to be sturdy and resilient, to travel well, and to require no special handling. Rucksacks, helmets, and combat boots come to mind. But one doesn't normally associate a cookie with those particular qualities. Interesting, then, that just such rough and tumble characteristics rightly belong to this chewy little cookie. Containing no eggs and not prone to crumbling, they hold up well in transit and are palatable for a good while after being baked.

Featuring dessicated coconut, oats, and that beautiful concoction Lyle's Golden SyrupANZAC cookies/biscuits (they're named for the Australia New Zealand Army Corps) gained popularity during World War I. Wives, moms, and girlfriends prepared them for their loved ones in the service far away. Can't you just picture a tired young soldier unwrappping a parcel from home, only to find a couple dozen of these fragrant cookies snugly packed inside, along with a nice long letter? It's no wonder they've withstood the test of time.

And besides boasting a strong constitution, these cookies have a lush buttery flavor. They're just plain delicious. Try one dipped into a cold glass of milk, tucked into a scoop of chocolate ice cream, or served alongside a bright bowl of fruit sorbet.

About this recipe . . . 

From Alice Medrich's irresistible book, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-In-Your-Mouth Cookies, this is my formula of choice for this legendary cookie. (My only adaptions were to double the recipe and rewrite the instructions to reflect what I actually did). I doubt this recipe could be improved upon. It's so good as it is. You can always trust Alice's recipes. That gal really knows her stuff.

ANZAC Cookies

(For a printable version of this recipe, click here!)

2 cups rolled oats (I happened to use quick oats.)
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) Lyle's Golden Syrup (You can substitute honey, per Alice, but I have to believe these taste best made with Lyle's.)
2 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached, and whisked it lightly before measuring.) 
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups dessicated coconut (This is coconut that's dried, shredded small, and unsweetened; readily available in health food stores if you can't find it in a regular grocery store.)

In the large bowl of your food processor, pulse the oats for a few seconds, until coarsely ground but not powdery. 

In a large mixing bowl, by hand, combine the ground oats along with the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large pot (I used a dutch oven) set over low heat, stir together the butter, sugar, water, and golden syrup until the butter is melted. Add in all of the dry ingredients, and stir until it's entirely combined. 

Divide the dough into four equal parts and form each one into a log about 2 inches in diameter. Roll each log snugly in parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, or overnight. 

When you're ready to bake the cookies, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Line a couple of cookie sheets with parchment. Removing one chilled log from the fridge at a time, slice the cookies to a thickness of no more than 1/2 an inch with a very sharp knife; if the dough crumbles on the edges as you slice, press it back together with your fingers. Lay the cookies about 1 inch apart on the parchment lined cookie sheets. 

Bake the cookies for approximately 15 minutes, until they're golden on the bottom and lightly golden on top. Rotate the sheets in the oven half-way through for even baking. Let the finished cookies cool on their pans for a few minutes. (They'll be firm enough to handle relatively quickly, but will still be kind of soft and chewy at first. They'll be much firmer after a few hours and that's when you'll realize why they're famous for their sturdy constitution!) 

(If you'd like to comment on this post, or to read any existing comments, please click on the purple COMMENTS below.)


June said...

Oh....woe is me, Jane! What a completely NOT perfect time for me to begin my 30 days of strict dieting. These ANZAC bikkies are so tempting...they're calling to me right now, begging me to bake a batch. They're saying, 'Oh...go on...coconut and oats are golden syrup are all healthy ingredients. This is a healthy treat...go on...go know you want to!'

And believe me - I do want to. As in, right now. Right this moment. I've made a deal with myself and the bikkies - after the 30 days (or, August 1st), I WILL bake up a batch of these beauties, and report back to you as to how delicious I'm sure they will be, following your recipe.

Thanks for sharing this one, Jane. And if I don't get a chance to say this before time, here's wishing you and your family a very happy Fourth.

~~louise~~ said...

I think June and I should feast together on those beautiful cookies, Jane. They do look just perfect. I am so saving this link for Anzac Day, April 25th!!!

Thanks for sharing, Jane...

tea with hazel said...

it's great to see a different method for making these treasures..i make my shortbread the same way and the biscuits always look well formed and neat like your anzacs..

Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen said...

Delicious looking ANZAC cookies. I don't normally like golden syrup but for some things, it is just the right ingredient.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jane!! I am going to be making these for a cookie tray for a wedding. Can you please tell me where I would find Lyle's golden syrup? I am going to make them a little smaller as they will go on a cookie tray. Do you think that would be ok? I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! My sisters and I follow it religiously!! You have the yummiest things on it!!!

xo xo


Ирина Кулёва said...

Джейн, какое красивое печенье!

Jane said...

Hi June,
It's a struggle, that's for sure! So many sweets, and only so many calories available per day. What's a girl to do?? Thanks for the 4th of July wishes, June. America misses you!!
:) Jane

Hello there Louise,
Leave it to you to know when ANZAC day is! :) Thanks for always being an enlightening gal!
Jane :)

Dear Hazel,
I thought this recipe had kind of an interesting method as well. And it's so quick and easy. I still have a log of dough in the freezer for an "emergency"! Ha!
Keep on baking,
Jane :)

Hi Hester,
You know, I have rarely used Lyle's Golden Syrup, but this time I really thought it had an impact on the flavor of the cookies (and I assume on its moisture retaining abilities). It so pretty too--truly golden indeed!
Thanks for visiting,
Jane :)

Dear Linn,
Yes, go ahead and make them smaller. I can't imagine any reason why that wouldn't work. Just keep an eye on those babies in the oven in case they bake faster.I have been finding Lyle's in the international foods aisle of big grocery stores these days, and occasionally I see it in the baking aisle of smaller markets, usually near items like corn syrup, molasses, and such. Good luck with your cookie trays, and thank you so much for those sweet comments. I appreciate it like crazy!
Jane :)

Paula said...

A perfect cookie to be shared with friends over a cup of coffee or tea. Loved learning the history behind them. Wishing you a wonderful Independence Day!

wefamlee said...

We spent a year in Australia on an ISP for my husband's company. I first discovered these cookies there & they were a family favorite. Thanks for reminding me & for a perfect recipe!

Nancy Baggett said...

Love these cookies--they are addictive. And you are right Alice is very talented--and works very hard.

plasterers bristol said...

Jane: i'm so pleased i found your blog, These look yummy and so do all your other recipes..... Can't wait to try making some myself.