Maus made some ANZACs the other day. They were very good but not quite perfect… which got me thinking (Oh, no!).
I don’t know if you still can but, years ago, we used to buy ANZACs in a plastic bag from IGA supermarkets. At first, I thought they were pretty good then, after a while, I got sick of them because they really were overly sweet.
In about 2008, we acquired a little booklet called ABC Delicious café food – I think it must have come with a Delicious magazine. The booklet included recipes from cafes around Australia. Bar Espresso in Darwin included an ANZAC recipe. I made the recipe and thought the biscuits were the perfect ANZACs. They were flat and crunchy: not floury and chewy like some recipes.
In April 2015, we must have decided to make some ANZACS. Here is a photo from an In My Kitchen post at the time (clearly, Maus shaped these biscuits because they are all lovely and even). I remember at the time not being able to recall where to find the perfect ANZAC recipe so we made the recipe out of the 1970 Australian Women’s Weekly Cookbook. I also remember not being too enthused by the result. They weren’t even a little bit crunchy.
The other day, when Maus decided to make ANZACs, somehow, I remembered from where the perfect recipe came. The top photo is the result. As you can see, the biscuits are very flat. They were also a wee bit too sweet. Maus confessed she used the cup rather than the weight measurement so she may have been slightly out with her quantities.
This is what I have been thinking … ANZACs are just plain flour, oats, sugar, coconut, butter, golden syrup, bi-carb soda and water so why would it matter what recipe I used? How different can they be? I was on a mission. I found eight recipes from my cookbooks (one was a repeat so that left 7) and compared the percentage of plain flour, oats, sugar, coconut and butter in each of them. I then discounted the lowest and highest percentages and averaged the balancing five. Working on 800g, I then calculated what the plain flour, oats, sugar, coconut and butter would be for the “average” recipe. The results are the first column. I then compared this average with the Bar Espresso recipe and the Australian Women’s Weekly recipe.
Average Bar Espresso AWW
Flour 23% 185g 23.75% 190g 20% 160g
Oats 15% 120g 13.37% 110g 14% 115g
Sugar 27.5% 220g 27.5% 220g 35% 280g
Coconut 12.5% 100g 11.25% 90g 11% 85g
Butter 22% 175g 23.75% 190g 20% 160g
What is so interesting about this, (apart from the inordinate amount of time it took me to determine it), is how little percentage differences make a significant textural difference to the final biscuit. Also, it is interesting how close to the average the Bar Espresso recipe is. I also noted the more modern recipes have more butter and the older recipes have more sugar.
So here, folks, is the Bar Espresso recipe:
- Plain flour 190g
- Oats 110g
- Sugar 220g
- Coconut 90g
- Butter 190g
- Golden syrup 20mls (1 tbs)
- Bi-carb soda 10mls (2 tsp)
- Boiling water 40mls (2 tbs)
- Preheat oven to 190°C. Line several large baking trays with baking paper (or bake the biscuits in batches)
- Combine the oats, plain flour, sugar and coconut.
- Combine golden syrup and melted butter in a large bowl.
- Mix the bi-carb in the 2 tablespoons of boiling water.
- Add the bi-carb mixture to the melted butter.
- Add the dry ingredients, stir until well combined.
- The recipe said to divide the mixture into 10 equal portions then to place 2-3 portions of dough onto each baking tray and to flatten them into an 8cm diameter circle. The instructions said the biscuits would spread to 15cm across. This sounded way too big for us so we made about 20 biscuits and flattened them to 4 cms. They ended up about 10cm across.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
What is your favourite ANZAC recipe and does it significantly differ from these percentages? Do you like your ANZACs flat and crunchy or thick and chewy?
BTW: If you don’t know the history of the ANZAC biscuit, I gave a short explanation in my 2015 post. Here is the link.