Saturday, 21 April 2012

Go Ahead, Bake My Day: Vegan ANZAC Biscuits

For any of you readers not in our hemisphere, Anzac biscuits are more Aussie than Vegemite, and we take these very seriously. Like, protected by law seriously. The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and was first used during WWI. The story goes, the biscuits were made by soldiers wives and shipped overseas as they contained ingredients that would store for a long period and not spoil. The beautiful thing about these is, they already contain no eggs, so I just had to sub the butter to make them. Due to the scarcity of eggs during the war, eggs were left out and golden syrup or treacle was used as the binder. They are very popular in Australia, and with ANZAC Day coming up on Wednesday I thought this would be a good time to make them. Let me make one thing clear: these are a biscuit, not a cookie, as these are Australian and cookie is an American term (in any case I always think of cookies as softer and heaped, whereas biscuits are thinner, hard, and crisp - but I digress). The official recipe is actually controlled by the Retired Serviceman's League and the term ANZAC is protected under Australian law - the only exception to use the term is for these biscuits! To call these Anzac biscuits they must conform to the original recipe.  (Subway learned all this the hard way a couple of years ago and were forced to remove the biscuit from the menu). Any kind of commercial venture must be approved by the RSL - there are only a couple of companies allowed to use the name officially.

Anyhoo, these beautifully crisp biscuits  are well worthy of being veganised and I hope you make a batch! Unfortunately, my Aussie grandparents are no longer with us, but making a batch of these for yours, or perhaps a serviceman (or woman) and giving to them on Anzac Day would make a lovely pressie.

1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons golden syrup
100gr copha
40gr nuttelex
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tsp bicarb soda

Mix in a large bowl flour sugar and rolled oats.
In a large saucepan melt copha with golden syrup and nuttelex ( I found the two different fats best substituted butter when the biscuits were cooled).
In a separate bowl or small jug, mix boiling water and bicarb.
Add to hot copha mixture - watch out it will foam (hence there need for a large saucepan)!
Pour into dry mixture and stir rapidly to combine.
Drop small teaspoonfuls on a baking tray well apart - these guys really spread during baking which I absolutely forgot when I made the first batch and ended up with one giant biscuit, but that's OK, Mr Sprout will eat them.
Bake in a 170C oven for about 12 minutes until golden brown.
Leave on the tray for a few minutes before you slide them off onto a rack to cool. They won't come off until the fat and sugar cool and solidify so don't even attempt it until they have cooled somewhat!

There are lots of variations, including adding coconut, or macadamias, but I wanted to make these to the original, because remembering our ANZAC soldiers is what the day is all about. And since it's all about Aussies, dip your biccie in a cuppa of Twinings limited edition Australian Afternoon Tea, a blend by former PM Kevin Rudd. And while I'm giving it a plug, can I also add that 10c from every pack of this sold goes to Kev's charity of choice, which happens to be the RSPCA! See Kev's plug here for the comp held last year for the winning blend, which involves his own animals "trying" the tea :)

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