In search of the perfect ANZAC

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:

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C.  Line several large baking trays with baking paper (or bake the biscuits in batches)
  2. Combine the oats, plain flour, sugar and coconut.
  3. Combine golden syrup and melted butter in a large bowl.
  4. Mix the bi-carb in the 2 tablespoons of boiling water.
  5. Add the bi-carb mixture to the melted butter.
  6. Add the dry ingredients, stir until well combined.
  7. 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.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
  9. 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.

20 thoughts on “In search of the perfect ANZAC

  1. i can’t believe we won’t be attending an anzac day ceremony this year. hard times! and i don’t think i’ll be up at 6am for the driveway thingy. your bikkies look great. keep well!

  2. About to make the biscuits. Oh I think you may have left a step out. The bit where you add the hot water and bicarb to the butter and golden syrup. Thanks..

    • Francesca, this version just says add all the ingredients to the bicarb and boiling water. The AWW version says to add the bicarb to the melted butter mixture. That is probably better, I will add that step. ta

    • Hi Vick, that is two teaspoons. I will add that to make it clearer, ta. I have also added the tablespoon equivalents for the golden syrup and water.

  3. Hi Glenda, unlike you my husband likes ANZACS to be chewy, while I like them with a little bit of crunch. So whenever I make a batch it pleases 50% of recipients at least!

  4. Glenda, after all this time I never knew you were an ANZAC fan. A woman after my own heart. I’m going to do these today.
    Steve
    (I wonder, Do your international followers know what an ANZAC is ?)

    • Hiya Steve. If they didn’t they do now.😃. I did give a detailed explanation in 2015, maybe I will give a link to that post. I hope all is well with you an Al. Xxxx
      Done xxx

  5. Wow, Glenda, you are wowing us all with your analytical maths skills!
    It was a good exercise, because it seems to be a very common problem that a lot is us have experienced, trying to find the right recipe- not too sweet, crunchy and not soft etc.
    Thank you for publishing your results.

  6. You do maths for fun! Small in diameter for dunking, flat and just crunchy rather than tooth breaking when not dunked but must be able to taste golden syrup not overwhelmingly coconut. I haven’t made them for ages and given atm there’s no-one other than the G.O. to share them with, probably won’t for a while.

  7. I’m delighted you wrote up your findings as this is something I obsess about every time I make anzacs. Once i found the perfect recipe then lost it. I’m still looking. From memory, one of the key factors in obtaing crunch and thinness is the amount of golden syrup and water, along with the quantity of butter.
    While I’m still looking, I’ll give this a go and get back to uou.

    • Hi Francesca. I found that the water and golden syrup in all the recipes was pretty standard – I can list them out if you would like. The amount of bicarb varied a bit. I am not sure if that is significant.

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