I am now back from a three-week long venture in Australia and New Zealand, and of course discovered some amazing food along the way and just have to share one of my favorites with you. One of my preferred sweet snacks we ran across while in New Zealand is something called an ANZAC cookie.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The cookie is named as such due to their creation in the time of World War I. Families wanting to send care packages to soldiers were able to depend on this eggless cookie making the long journey without spoiling.
Traditionally, ANZAC cookies are made with golden syrup and caster sugar. In order to make this recipe more approachable for the everyday cook, I thought I would experiment with some substitutions for these ingredients that don’t fall into the list of staple pantry ingredients.
Caster sugar is an easy one in this instance to substitute. The super fine granules of caster sugar make for easy dissolving and a more pleasing texture in the overall product of baked goods. The consistency can be mimicked in the case of these cookies by simply running some plain old granulated sugar through a food processor to break it down even further.
Golden syrup is a more distinctive ingredient that is a little trickier to imitate. In my two test recipes, I tried out a one-to-one substitution of honey on the first batch, and a mixture of two parts light corn syrup and one part molasses for the substitution on the second batch. The honey yielded a sweeter, slightly chewier cookie with a deep golden color. The corn syrup and molasses substitution resulted in a crunchier cookie with a tempered sweetness and heartiness about it.
In the traditional cookie recipe, sunflower seeds are not included, but I really enjoy how this addition adds a gratifying heft to the cookie. For the sake of seasonality, you could sub this out for pumpkin seeds, or even do a mixture of the two. The oats and addition of seeds provide a heartiness to the cookie that winter begs for, and it also adds a nice contrasting texture to the cookie.
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup one-minute oats
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 stick butter
2 Tbsp honey (can substitute 4 tsp light corn syrup and 2 tsp molasses, or use 2 Tbsp Golden Syrup)
¾ cup granulated sugar (substitute equal parts of caster sugar, if available)
½ tsp baking soda
Preheat oven to 350*F. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, shredded coconut, sunflower seeds, and set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then incorporate the honey/syrup and water.
Run granulated sugar through a food processor to break down granules, but do not take to powder form. Dissolve the sugar and baking soda into the stovetop mixture. Take pan off the heat and immediately stir in the oats mixture.
On a parchment paper or Silpat-lined sheet tray, place tablespoon-sized scoops of the mixture 1 ½ inches apart and flatten to 1cm high.
Chill dough in refrigerator for 20 minutes. Bake for 14 minutes, rotating pan halfway through. Recipe yields approximately 20 cookies.
I know it is cruel to discuss impending Christmas sweets while we are still recovering from our Thanksgiving food comas, but there is no time like the present to start thinking about what unique additions will make their way into your cookie tins this year. Some atypical ANZACs might be just the twist you’re looking for to fit the bill.
If you are looking for some other interesting items to add to your tins or baked goods this holiday season, The Chopping Block offers a Fun ‘n Fancy Holiday Cookies class. You'll go home with plenty to share with your family and friends as well as ideas for your holiday baking!