Anzac Biscuits: Quinoa, Coconut, and Maple Syrup Cookies
Traditional Cookies With a Super-Food Twist
In Australia, the Anzac biscuit is a food that conjures up national pride—even if you can't bake!
The original recipe was more like long-life crispy bread and designed for army troops, which is where the name comes from. "Anzac" is the acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
Some time between the two world wars, rolled oats and golden syrup (made from sugar cane that grows profusely in plantations on the northeastern coastal area of Australia) were added to the mix, turning the tradition into a sweet biscuit that went awfully well with a fresh brew of tea.
It is now a standard on the Australian supermarket shelf, while maintaining its position as a competition category in country agricultural shows. I am awaiting the "twist-on-tradition" category to show off my recipe to the judges!
Coconut Equals Dairy-Free
Coconut palms, while not an endemic plant to the country, also could grow well in the tropical parts of Australia. So, that also joined the recipe that eventually took over as the proper way to bake an Anzac biscuit.
In my development of the tradition, I have taken another step into the coconut grove by replacing butter with coconut oil—which I think actually enhances the recipe. This is one dairy-free recipe that tastes so good that people who don't need to be dairy-free won't feel like they're missing out on anything at all.
For superior quality and "super-food" nutritional benefits, purchase cold-pressed, organic coconut oil. This will maximise your hit of those lovely medium-chain fatty acids for which coconut oil is renowned.
Quinoa Adds Super-Food Power
My take on the tradition really turns it into a cookie with super (food) powers! That, of course, makes a very attractive selling-point to children.
As for the extremely non-traditional Anzac biscuit ingredient, quinoa—it adds a sweetness and soft texture that has allowed me to reduce the amount of flour normally demanded by a cookie recipe. It is also a great way to bring the wonderful ancient-grain goodness of quinoa into the family diet without anyone taking any notice.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/4 cup quinoa flakes
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/3 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
Quick Melt and Mix
- Mix all dry ingredients, except the bicarb soda, in a large bowl. Stir well to combine. If you intend to bake the cookies straight away, this is a good time to pre-heat the oven to moderately slow.
- Melt the coconut oil with the maple syrup in a small saucepan set over low heat. In summer the coconut oil will already be melted, so this process will be much faster.
- In the meantime, boil water in a kettle and very carefully measure a tablespoon of hot, boiled water into a bowl. Add the bicarb soda and mix together.
- Carefully pour the bicarb/water mixture into the melted coconut oil/syrup mix. This will foam up quickly - when it does start to bubble and rise up, remove from the heat to a safe location.
- Make a well in the dry mixture and pour in the oil mix. Stir very well to combine.
- Oil a baking slide, using coconut oil to remain dairy free.
- Roll heaped teaspoons of mixture into balls and flatten into discs. Place on tray, leaving space between each disc.
- Bake in a pre-heated oven, moderately slow for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
- Allow to cook slightly before removing from the tray to a cooling rack.
Fuss-Free School Snacks
The melt-and-mix method makes this a go-to lunchbox standard. It ticks all the boxes for a busy household that wants to make healthier eating options part of the routine. Kitchen clean up is also fast. Just be sure to take care when dealing with the hot oil and boiling water.