It was on the eve of Anzac Day, the last day of our shoot for this edition of TMix+, and it was a natural for us to commemorate the occasion with a Thermomix version of Anzac biscuits. Our chef, Lesley Russell, says she has made Anzac biscuits “a million times” and creating the right recipe was a doddle.
Like lamingtons and shortbreads and pavlovas, there is no true mother and father for these soft/firm/medium biscuits. Like the pavlova, there is also
a conspiracy theory that they were born and bred in New Zealand, a Russell Crowe of biscuits. There is also no single recipe, and, in all likelihood, the Anzac biscuits we have grown up with are a modern version of biscuits that had more in common with concrete than today’s melting sweet treat. That’s understandable, given the original biscuits were described as “army biscuits” or “Anzac wafers” or “Anzac tiles” according to the Australian War Memorial’s website. Variations are also understandable, given the need for all cooks (TMix+’s team included) to fiddle with a recipe, depending on personal likes, or availability of ingredients.
The addition, or not, of grated coconut to an Anzac biscuit, is a case in point; whether you do or don’t, is really a taste choice. The War Memorial’s info doesn’t exactly paint a glowing picture of the original, noting it was likely to have been produced long before Anzac Day and for many generations of army, and that the original is described as having a “long shelf-life, hard tack biscuit…substitute for bread.” The original biscuits were “very, very hard. Some soldiers preferred to grind them up and eat (them) as porridge”, a gruel as part of a grueling experience.
Lesley’s recipe is anything but “very, very hard” and is not recommended as part of next Tuesday’s porridge. It’s actually soft to the tooth, and may appear undercooked when taken from the oven. Our recipe suggests that you let the biscuits cool on the tray for a bit, allowing them to firm. Those who wish to have crunchier, “crack-the-teeth bikkies” can continue to cook the biscuits a little longer. And no, we don’t use coconut, and neither did early recipes. Please yourself with that as an addition, or not.
- Heat oven to 170C fan–forced. Grease a flat biscuit tray or simply line it with baking paper.
- Whizz the sugar 2 seconds/Turbo to make caster sugar. Set aside in a separate bowl.
- Add the butter and golden syrup to the Thermomix bowl and heat 5 minutes/70 degrees/speed soft until the butter is thoroughly melted.
- Heat again 1 minute/100 degrees/speed soft so the mixture reaches boiling point, essential to activate the bicarbonate soda.
- Combine the bicarbonate of soda and boiling water in a small cup then immediately pour into the Thermomix bowl; it will froth up dramatically when it contacts the hot butter mixture.
- Add the reserved sugar, flour and rolled oats. Mix together 10 second/Reverse/speed 3
- Form the mixture into walnut-sized balls and place them on the prepared tray.
- Flatten each one slightly with your fingers and bake in the centre of the oven until golden brown.
- Allow the Anzacs to cool slightly and become firmer before transferring them to a cooling rack