As I said before, this year's Christmas baking was a bit of a rushed job, and although I would have liked to try out a new Christmassy recipe, I just kept things simple and made a tried and true crowd pleaser. The final component of this year's Christmas baking parcels, making friends with the Fruit Mince Shortbreads and the Gingerbread Biscuits, was therefore really not at all Christmassy but totally Aus. Macadamia ANZAC biccies.
For those of my non-Aussie (not to be confused with "unAustralian") readers, the term ANZAC refers to Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and ANZAC Biscuits were first made during WWI by loved ones wishing to send treats to soldiers on the front line. This style of biscuit was made as they are quite sturdy and keep well, thus surviving the long journey to the soldiers.
Like most Aussie or NZ things, there is disagreement between Australian and New Zealand sources over where they actually first originated from. I think that given the name we should both claim them equally. I also think that Russell Crowe is totally from New Zealand, and Pavlova belongs to us.
I didn't realise this, but according to Wikipedia the usual protection that restricts the use of the term ANZAC without first obtaining permission from the Minister for Veterans' Affairs is generally excempt for ANZAC Biscuits "as long as these biscuits remain basically true to the original recipe and are both referred to and sold as ANZAC Biscuits and never as cookies". Well, I wouldn't dream of calling these cookies ('twould surely be unAustralian), but I'm a little concerned that the addition of macadamia nuts in my recipe might be seen as not remaining true to the original recipe. Macadamias are at least endemic to Australia. Please don't tell The Hon Alan Griffin MP (dobbing is totally unAustralian).
This recipe is very easy and quick and is always met with cries for more, you can't go wrong with it. The only thing I'd really recommend is to weigh the ingredients instead of measuring, as I find this always creates the perfect consistency, but either way you should get good results.
75g (1/2 cup) whole macadamia nuts
115g (3/4 cup) plain flour
1 tsp ground ginger
165g (1 1/2 cups) rolled oats
165g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
45g (1/2 cup) desiccated coconut
2 tbs boiling water
1 tbs golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125g butter, cubed, melted
1. Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 2 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Spread the macadamia nuts over 1 tray and cook in preheated oven for 6 minutes or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a chopping board to cool slightly, then coarsely chop.
2. Sift the flour and ginger into a large bowl. Add the macadamia nuts, rolled oats, sugar and coconut, and stir to combine.
3. Combine the boiling water, golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda in a small jug. Once the mixture froths up, stir in the butter. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly.
Add the cooled butter mixture to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to combine.
4. Place 2 heaped teaspoons of mixture onto 1 of the lined trays and use the back of a spoon to flatten slightly. (I think I use a little less mixture than this for each biccie, I find you need to use your fingers a bit to squish the mixture together a little on the tray, and I am conscious of making sure each one gets at least one chunk of macadamia!)
Repeat with the remaining mixture, leaving about 3cm between each. Bake in preheated oven for 13 minutes for chewy biscuits or 16 minutes for crunchy biscuits, swapping trays around halfway through cooking. Set aside for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.