Oat and cherry biscuits

Cookbook Challenge 2011: Fortnight 9,
Theme: Crunchy
Recipe: Oat and cherry biscuits aka Big Fat Thin Anzac Biscuits
Adapted from: Bourke Street Bakery

The Easter holiday this year has been fantastic! For any non-Australians, the Easter weekend coincided with Anzac Day, which meant a five day weekend for most people (or a 10 day weekend for me, because I took this week off!).

Maria and Daz invited us to a picnic for the Anzac Day public holiday, and I took the opportunity to make my Cookbook Challenge post for “crunchy”, taking along a variation of the Anzac biscuit. We ate food, drank wine and beer, had desserts, and then we played a cut-throat game of Kubb. There was a lot of screaming and insult hurling involved. So if you were in the vicinity of Queen’s Park on the Anzac Day holiday, no doubt you would have heard us. Major apologies!

Kubb is a game where you have to throw sticks of wood at the opposing team’s sticks of wood, and it was Maria’s idea of a good post-lunch activity. Does it sound like a good idea, particularly when you’re up against some very competitive people? The temptation to throw the wood directly at the other team was incredibly high – which might explain why Maria kept aiming her throws at her partner Daz. After one game, when we lost by a huge margin, I sat out so my team recruited a couple of kids who had been watching us play. I sat back and “coached” which meant I kept telling my teammates to “hit the sticks”. They didn’t listen all that well – gosh it’s hard to find good talent nowadays.

Fortunately the kids helped win a game, which lead my team to over all victory – 3 games to 2. The kids were a crack up as well. Bro said one of them was “strawberry blonde”, to which the strawberry blonde kid said, “That’s not very nice!” He was fine with being called a ranga though – wtf? Kids nowadays – who can understand them? 🙂

But back to the biscuits! The recipe is from Bourke Street Bakery and it’s a variation on the Anzac biscuit. Apparently at Bourke Street Bakery they add dried barberries and flatten the biscuits into big thin rounds. I didn’t have any barberries, so I substituted with dried cherries and to be honest – I could have left them out. I don’t think the fruit added anything to the biscuit. They are fantastic enough without them!

Obviously, because the biscuits are flattened into thin rounds, they are crispy. So if you’re a fan of chewy versions – these are not for you. For everyone else, though they are GOOD. They’re all crunchy and buttery, with a coconut, oaty, golden syrup flavour. Goodness.

Whether they’re crunchy or chewy, Anzac biscuits are so good that they deserve to be eaten all year round. More please!

Previous Cookbook Challenge posts can be found here.

And see what other participants made for this theme at the Cookbook Challenge forum.

Oat and dried cherry biscuits AKA Big fat (err thin?) Anzac biscuits

Adapted from Bourke Street Bakery

Makes about 18

165g rolled oats
220g plain flour
100g desiccated coconut
210g soft brown sugar
30g dried cherries / barberries / whatever fruit you want – or leave it out
45ml boiling water
185g unsalted butter
60g golden syrup or honey
1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
60ml water

Preheat your oven to 170°C.

Combine the oats, flour, coconut and 175g of the sugar in a bowl.

Place the cherries in a separate bowl with the remaining 35g sugar and pour in the boiling water. Stir to dissolve the sugar a bit and set aside.

Melt the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over low heat. When all melted, add the cherry and sugar mixture. Remove from the heat.

Combine the baking soda with the water and stir it into the saucepan. While it’s still foaming, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon.

Take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and drop it on to a baking tray. Press the biscuit mixture into a big thin circle – I found it easiest to do this with my hands but you could try using a thin metal spatula. Repeat with the rest of the mixture and bake for about 15 minutes – I found I could only bake three biscuits at a time on a tray, so you may need to do this in batches.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on the tray before moving to a wire rack. They will crisp up when they cool.