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Australia, Cakes, Food, History & Traditions

ANZAC Biscuit Traditions

Home made bikkies

When is a Cookie a biscuit? When you live in Australia, of course.

On April 25 each year, Anzac Day, the nation stops to commemorate the supreme sacrifice of a group of soldiers that have contributed to the development of our national psyche. We don’t have many traditions of our own so we have adopted this to be a signifier that we are Australian. And the Anzac tradition has even spawned a biscuit or cookie! How Australian!

Today, there won’t be any dawn Anzac services attended by the many descendants of those soldiers, so it is likely that we might all be baking these biscuits at home, remembering the soldiers.

The ANZAC Biscuit

During WWI, a certain type of biscuit/cookie was sent by mail, in sealed tins, to the troops fighting in the filthy trenches at Lone Pine and Anzac Cove in Turkey. They were sent all the way from Australia, from the mothers and sweethearts of those brave, young men who were to fight Britain’s war against Turkey.

It was thought this biscuit would keep well in transit for an extended period of time. As such they are regarded as quintessentially Australian and our tradition of making Anzac biscuits on April 25, has continued for the past 9 years. Almost as old as this blog itself!

Below you will find the recipe.

Heidi 020

 Anzac Biscuit Recipe

I have posted two versions here. The first recipe is mine and the second, the trusty Women’s Weekly magazine version. Please post what temperature worked for you, if you do try the recipe…

Preheat Oven 170 – 180 C or 350 F

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain or all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup – you can use honey or maple syrup as an alternative
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 160 g or (⅔ cup) butter, melted

Method
1. Sift flour and ginger into a mixing bowl and add coconuts, oats and sugar. Mix and make a well in the centre ready for the addition of the wet ingredients.

2. Stir in Golden syrup, boiling water and bicarb soda, in a small bowl, until combined.

3. Add the syrup mix into the dry ingredients, along with the melted butter. Mix well.

4. Take heaped teaspoons of mix and roll into small balls.

5. Place on trays and flatten gently.

6. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown

7. Cool on tray 10 minutes until they firm up slightly.


Wanting to try the ever faithful Woman’s Weekly recipes, last year I cooked up a second batch. These ones aren’t so crisp, but if you like the flavour of brown sugar, they are worth a ‘go.’

Woman’s Weekly Anzacs

Preheat oven  160 -175 C or 350 F

Ingredients

Heidi 020
  • 125 g (I cup) butter chopped coarsely
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup Rolled Oats

Method

  • Melt butter and golden syrup over low heat.
  • Add bicarb and water to butter mix.
  • Mix remaining dry ingredients and combine wet and dry.
  • Spoon teaspoons of mix on to lined baking sheet, and flatten slightly.
  • Cook 12 – 15 minutes. Cool on tray  5 – 10  minutes.

Now you can also try these biscuits, and tell me what you think. I will ponder whether they will become a tradition in your house.

baking recipes
Community

Raspberry and Almond Shortbread

I am at a loss to remember where I found this recipe, but it was handwritten on a scrap of paper which mysteriously turned up in my cupboard last week, so rather than throw it out, I tried it out! It could well have stemmed from a binge Pinterest session or some online Scandinavian recipe site, but who knows?!

Whatever it origins, the hungry hordes in my house scoffed the finished product down with gusto. Undoubtedly, a good seal of approval.  The biscuits have a lighter texture, akin to a shortbread. In fact, one could easily substitute rice flour if one wanted to avoid wheat!

wp-image-1231837151

Ingredients

1 cup Butter ( softened )

2/3 cup Sugar

1/2 Teaspoon Almond extract ( can also use vanilla if you don’t have almond)

2 cups Flour

Pinch of Salt

1 Egg

1 tsp Milk or Kefir ( can also use yoghurt)

1/2 cup Raspberry Jam

Method

Preheat oven at 180 degree °C or 350°F

Cream butter and sugar and add the almond or vanilla extract and egg.

Mix well.

Add in salt, flour and milk/kefir and mix gently but well.

Take heaped teaspoons of cookie mix, and roll into a ball shape

Place 2 inches (5 cm) apart on a greased/lined tray.

Press your thumb into the middle of biscuit and fill the cavity with jam.

Bake the biscuits 14- 18 minutes in preheated oven. Cool 1 minute.

If you are pedantic, you can even drizzle a mix of icing sugar, mixed to a liquid with almond essence, over the top of the biscuits, if desired  – I don’t do usually this, but you might like to do so.

Enjoy!

Calorie content:  Feel free to do the math…..


Tantalizing Tuesdays

Something Edible to Ponder About

 

 

 

 

baking recipes
Community

Lingonberry/ Cranberry Slice – Tantalizing Tuesday

Well known in Scandinavia, the lingonberry is related to the cranberry, bilberry and blueberry. Berries are a great addition to one’s diet. Why? Because they contain powerful antioxidants  and provide many health benefits when we eat them. And why not enjoy them in a delicious dessert slice. This slice can be served hot or cold.

Tantalizing Tuesdays

More information on the health benefits is given below but here is the Scandinavian recipe:

Lingonberry  / Cranberry  Slice

 

Base:

4 1/2 dl (almost 2 cups) Plain white flour
1/2 dl (2/3 cup) Sugar
1 tablespoon Baking powder
150 g(5 ounces, almost 2/3 cup)
Unsalted butter
1 Egg
2 dl (3/4 cup) Lingonberry  or cranberry jam/ plum filling/ or your favourite preserves

Streusel topping:
1 1/2 dl (2/3 cup) Oatmeal
3 tablespoons Butter
1 dl (1/2 cup) Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla sugar (1/2 teaspoon extract)

Pre – heat the oven to 200 degrees C (400 degrees F).
Combine flour, sugar, and baking powder then cut in the butter.
Add the egg and mix well. Spread into a greased 20×30 (8×12″) pan.
Spread the preserves quite thickly over the batter.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until golden.

Cool in the pan and slice while still warm.
Enjoy served warm or cold. Yumm!!!!

 

Animal studies have shown how the lingonberry can lower inflammatory molecules, block oxidants from destroying tissue, and also help the body replace important antioxidants, like glutathione, which is a master antioxidant in our body. Lingonberry has also been shown to increase red blood cell and liver enzymes needed for antioxidant protection. We need antioxidants to protect vessels and nerve tissue, and also to help decrease the damage from inflammation. Proanthocyanidin extracts from lingonberries were also found to be effective against the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause a wide variety of infections.

[Credit: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/superfruit-lingonberry%5D

Something nutritious and delicious to Ponder About

Food, History & Traditions

Scones with Tea – A Morning Tradition

In my husband’s family, it is a tradition to have morning tea. That is, a cup of hot tea with a scone of two with butter or jam. My husband’s paternal grandmother was a brilliant farmhouse cook and used an old wood burning stove – one that was without thermostat or temperature gauge. Yet she cooked everything to perfection, testing the temperature only with the back of her hand. Wouldn’t we all love that skill? Granny Mac was of German heritage, so perhaps her cooking skills came from a background of generations of women cooking in the kitchen? Or perhaps from necessity?

Together with her husband, they owned a dairy farm, atop ‘Clear Mountain’, so it is self-evident that there was plenty of fresh cream available.

Thus, making and then selling the scones was a way to supplement the farm’s income and feed Granny Mac’s ten hungry children at morning tea time.

This same recipe made the scones served to the State of Queensland’s Governor, as well as many tourists, or day trippers, in the 1950’s, who drove up the steep, Clear Mountain Road, for a weekend picnic.

This is that never-fail secret family recipe!

Granny Mac’s Scones

Ingredients:

NB. the quantities of ingredients were never measured by the original cook, just estimated. However, for the rest of us, I have provided the following measurements:

2 1/4 cup Self Raising* flour

*(Self raising flour can easily be made by combining 2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of plain flour and sift well)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup cream

Optional: a good handful of currants/sultanas/chopped dates – my kids love that)

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, place all the dry ingredients, (and fruit), and stir to mix thoroughly.
  2. “Cut” the wet ingredients into the mix by stirring thoroughly with the blade of a flat butter knife.
  3. Knead mix a little with extra flour, if needed. (You will want a dough that is smooth enough to handle, but not too dry)
  4. Roll or pat out on a floured board, to 1 inch high (no less)
  5. Cut 6 cm rounds with a scone cutter or as Granny Mac used: a used, empty, small baked beans tin, (cleaned and dried, of course)!
  6. Bake 12 -15 minutes @ 210 degrees Celsius on a metal scone tray

Delightful served with butter or jam and cream.

Best eaten while hot, however they do freeze well.

Is there a traditional recipe within your family heritage? Do you still make this food?

Will you keep up this tradition for generations to come?

Something to ponder about….

Cakes, Food

Christmas Cookie Recipe – One Batch, Five Different Cookies

Adhering to time-honored Christmas traditions means cooking at least seven different types of biscuits or cookies, for the ‘Juletide’ feast. In today’s fast paced lifestyle, time-poor families need a shortcut if they are to maintain these customs. It was a mere  error or perhaps, serendipity that created an opportunity for such a discovery in my kitchen. This recipe makes at least four, if not five, different types of cookies, from the one mix,  thereby reducing the workload in the kitchen. [See recipe below.]

Xmas cookies

The Rationale or Explanation:

I am used to being the sole cook in my kitchen, yet Christmas is always frenetic. There is more people in the house, more to do, more excited conversation, more spontaneity, and thus ever more distractions. This is not conducive to concentrating on the task at hand: i.e. to make seven varieties of cookies following several recipes at once. Add to that another increased layer of difficulty:the recipes are hand-written by me in my marginally legible handwriting similar to that you would find on a Doctor’s prescription! So, it should come as no surprise that I stuffed up and missed adding an extra cup of flour to the basic recipe for Jam drops.

The result was Jam drops that were flat as a pancake, looking more like a Brandy snap that had a blood spattered head injury! Embarrassing to put on the Christmas table, to say the least. (Yet, ironically, it was these same cast-offs, which my food- fussy husband gobbled up, well before I had a chance to photograph them). So with a little skill they could still be presented as an edible Christmas treat!

Upon further analysis of this major cooking mishap, I realized I had omitted a second cup of flour, from the recipe and that the rest of the, as yet uncooked mix, could definitely be salvaged.  Thus I added, the missing cup of flour and cooked a second tray-ful, (which hubby didn’t like as much, so were available to photograph).

After which, I thought, well, why stop there? Thus I added white chocolate chips, cooked a third tray, and then added cocoa and cooked a fourth and final tray.  Now more than half the xmas cookie baking is done. Thank goodness for serendipity!

image

Recipe Tray 1 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

Jam Snaps

1  1/4 cup butter

3/4 cup  castor or fine white sugar

2 eggs

1   1/4 cups Self-raising flour

N.B. (Self raising flour = Plain Flour with 1 Tsp Baking powder per 1 cup Plain flour)

1/2 cup jam

Cream  butter and sugar together in a bowl.

Add eggs and beat well.

Gradually add flour, mixing thoroughly each time.

Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on a greased/lined baking sheet, 5 – 10 cm apart ( these cookies spread significantly)*

Wet your thumb and press into each biscuit, creating a dent. Drop a small dollop of jam in each one. (about 1/4 teaspoonful is fine)

Bake for 10 minutes in a moderate 180 degree celsius (375 F) oven, or until browned. Cool on wire tray

*Only spoon out enough for one tray of cookies, and save the rest for making Recipe 2, see below.

 

Recipe 2 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

JAM DROPS

Gradually Add 1 full cup of Self Raising Flour to the existing Mix and stir thoroughly.

N.B. (Self raising flour = Plain Flour with 1 Tsp Baking powder per 1 cup Plain flour)

*Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on a greased/lined baking sheet, 5 – 10 cm apart

Wet your thumb and press into each biscuit, creating a dent.

Drop a small dollop of jam in each one. (about 1/4 teaspoonful is fine)

Bake for 15 minutes in a moderate 180 degree Celsius (375 F) oven, or until browned. Cool on wire tray.

*Only spoon out enough for one baking sheet of cookies, and save the rest for making Recipe 3, see below.

 

Recipe 3 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

White chocolate chip Cookies

Into the existing mix,

Add:

50 g white chocolate chips and mix thoroughly

Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on a greased lined baking sheet

Cook 15 minutes in moderate 180 degree Celsius (375 F) oven or til browned

Cool on wire tray

*Only spoon out enough for one tray of cookies, and save the rest for making recipe 4, see below.

Recipe 4 (makes one full baking tray of biscuits)

Chocolate cookies with chocolate chip *

Leftover Mix from Above

Add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder and mix thoroughly **

Drop teaspoonfuls of mix on  a greased lined baking sheet

Cook 15 minutes in moderate 180 degree Celsius (375 F) oven or til browned

Cool on a wire tray

** This mix could also be made with only 2 tablespoons cocoa stirred through lightly with the result being a marbled cookie, making a fifth variety of cookie!!

Now that is 5 cookies done and dusted. Two to go….

Cooking Tip:

If you live, as I do in a humid environment, and your home-baked biscuits, once cooked, tend to go too soft too quickly, here is a solution: Pop them in a 180 degree C (375 F) oven for five minutes and then turn the oven off, leaving them in the oven to cool for a further 10 – 15 minutes, in the oven, and voilà: crispy cookies, that will last well into Christmas.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone from Something to Ponder About

xmasCollages5

 

 

 

Cakes, Community, Food

12 Days of Christmas – Danish Pebernødder

Another Christmas recipe from the wonderful blog of My Danish Kitchen.

I tried this recipe the morning. Apart from the usual problem of getting biscuits to brown in this new oven, I altered the recipe by adding some perlsukker ( pearl sugar chips) on the top for my husband who has both a sweet tooth and an aversion to edible items not previously seen! I think I am on a winner.

Here is the fruit of my efforts:

Pebernødder

Food

Make Your Own Cake and Cookie/Biscuit Mixes, and save money…

You can easily make good quality cake mixes on your own in a food processor, or by hand, if you relish rubbing in butter to flour (can you tell I don’t?).Buying larger bags of flour and sugar, in order to make up a few batches of cake mix will also save money in the long run, as you can access cheaper prices for buying in bulk.  Think how much each individual box of cake mix costs and I think you could save at least 2/3 of this price. So in effect, 3 for the price of 1! Gotta be good value!
How to do it:

Measure ingredients accurately and place mixes into plastic bags: large zip lock bags are good. Seal and store in the fridge or freezer for 3 months. The can be made up immediately they are taken out of the fridge. It will take a little longer to mix them straight from the fridge, than if the ingredients were at room temperature, but you can allow a few minutes to prepare pans, trays etc. whilst waiting for the mix to acclimatize, if you find it works better at room temperature.

NON -SPECIFIC CAKE MIX
1 1/2 cups Self raising flour

NB: {for the non-Australians: Self raising flour is the equivalent of 1 cup of plain or all purpose flour mixed with 2 teaspoons of Baking powder sifted and mixed thoroughly}

3/4 cup  (180 g) castor sugar

2 tablespoons skim milk powder

125 g ( 4 0z) butter

Combine sifted flour, sugar and milk powder in bowl of food processor, fitted with metal blade, add chopped cold butter. Process 10 to 20 seconds until butter is evenly distributed in dry ingredients. Seal and store or continue to make a cake….

To Make Cake:

Place cake mix into small basin of electric mixer,

Add:

2 eggs, 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 cup water, beat on low speed until ingredients are combined.

Increase speed to  medium, beat until mixture is changed in colour and smooth. There should  not be any lumps in the mixture; if there are, beat until they have disappeared. Spread mixture evenly into well-greased  20 cm Round, Bundt  or Ring tin, or a 28 cm X 18 cm ( 11 in  X7 in) lamington tin.

Bake in moderate oven 30 minutes befor turning on to wire rack to cool.

3 VARIATIONS:

Orange Cake

2 teaspoons grated orange rind can be added with the water and eggs; omit vanilla. Top cake with Orange glace icing when cold.

Coffee

Dissolve 1 tablespoon instant coffee with  1/4 cup boiling water, and make up to 1/2 cup water with cold water, leave to cool before using.

Use this in place of the 1/2 cup water in original recipe.

Top with glace icing of your choice, or coffee icing.

Chocolate:

Sift 1/3 cup cocoa into small basin, gradually blend in 2/3 cup water, stir till smooth. Use in place of water in original recipe.

(The extra water is needed in this recipe to absorb the cocoa.) Top with chocolate icing.

COOKING TIMES

This quantity of cake mix can be cooked in other sized tins: here is a guide to thier sizes and cooking times:

20 cm (*8 inch) ring tin – 35 minutes

2 x 25 cm x 8 cm (10 in x 3 in) bar tins – 30 minutes

20 cm x 10 cm (8in x 4 in) loaf tin – 50 minutes

23 cm x 12 cm (9in x 5 in) loaf tin  – 50 minutes

25 cm x 15 cm (10in x 6 in) – 45 minutes

ICING

Vanilla Glace Icing

1  1/2 cups icing sugar

2 teaspoons melted butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons milk, approximately

Stir icing sugar into small heatproof bowl, stir in butter, vanilla and enough milk to make a thick paste. Stand basin over hot water, stir constantly until icing is of spreading consistency. Spread over cold cake with spatula.

Variations:

Orange Glace Icing: Use 2 tablespoons strained orange juice in place of milk and omit vanilla.

Coffee Icing: Sift 2 teaspoons instant coffee owder with icing sugar. If granular instant coffee is used, heat the milk and dissolve the coffee in the milk.

Chocolate Glace Icing: Sift 2 tablespoons cocoa with the icing sugar, you will need about 3 tablespoons milk to bring mixture to a paste-like consistency.

BISCUIT/COOKIE   Pre – MIX

1  1/4 cups self raising flour (or 1  1/4 cup all purpose or plain flour and 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder)

1 tablespoon skim milk powder

1/3 cup castor sugar

1/3 cup coconut

125 g (4 oz) butter

Sift flour milk and sugar, place in bowl of food processor which has been fitted with metal blade; add coconut, and choped cold butter. Process 10 – 20 seconds or until butter is evenly distributed through dry ingredients. Seal and store for up to 3 months in fridge or freezer.

To make biscuits/cookies:

Place biscuit mix into basin, add 3 tablespoons water, beat with wooden spoon until mixture comes together. Mixture should be quite stiff. Roll teaspoonsfuls of mixture in to balls, place 5 cm (2 in) apart on lightly greased oven trays, flatten biscuits with a fork which has been dipped in flour, or top biscuits with almonds, cherries or choc bits. Bake in moderate oven 10 – 15minutes or until golden brown. Place on wire racks to cool. Makes 20 cookies/biscuits.
If you are planning a fund raiser, something to ponder about is making the mixes well beforehand ,so that you can bake without lengthy preparation on the day of sale. No doubt about it, freshly baked home baked treasts will sell like hot cakes!!