These are a bit like the Australian version of scones – not that I mean they’re actually like scones to eat, they’re more like thin flapjacks, but I mean that every family has their own recipe, thinks it’s the best, and the taste is evocative of home, family cooking, Saturday afternoon in the garden, packed lunch boxes and good times. They are also a commemoration of resistance in bad times – traditionally these are the biscuits that were made, packed up and sent off by communities to their troops on the front line in Europe in the First World War, far away from home. They’re sugary, chewy, full of calories and they’re a blend of the taste and texture of the North and the South – oats and coconut. Having no egg, they keep well, as they would have to, being sent half-way across the world, and that makes them ideal for all family occasions – picnics, long walks, movie nights on the sofa. They’re also easy to make, which means children can really let their creative instincts run riot. I’ve seen recipes with added dried fruit, or added chocolate chunks – not part of the classic canon but why not? This recipe is based on the one given by Kate Young in the Little Library Cookbook, with some tweaks suggested by other Australian friends.
The magic ingredient is of course golden syrup, which has properties that enhance just about any recipe – it provides that chewy sweetness and binds all the more substantial ingredients together. They don’t rise much but they do spread out in the oven, so give them a bit of space.
I made them for the Seniors Lunch Club group and we had a discussion on all things Australian – ranging from the animals to the wine, to the geography, to history. Some of our members have relatives who were deported, some have relatives who have emigrated. Many have visited and have happy memories. One of our volunteers is Australian and loves to make these for the group on Australia Day – coming up in January.
Makes about 30 medium sized cookies. Timing 40 minutes.
Pre heat your oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.
Put the butter, sugars and golden syrup into a small pan and melt over a low heat.
Sieve the flour into a large bowl and add the oats and coconut.
Mix the bicarbonate of soda and water, add to the pan of butter and stir in, then tip the pan of liquid mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and mix briefly.
Put walnut sized spoonfuls of the mixture on the baking trays. I get about 4 in a row along one of the short sides of a tray. Some recipes say flatten the spoonfuls of mixture to get a more biscuit shaped outcome and some don’t, which gives a more domed outcome, but it’s up to you. I get about 12 on a tray.
Put the trays in the oven for 8 minutes and then swop over the position on the shelf – it does make quite a different to this mixture where in the oven they are cooked. Cook for another 5-6 minutes and then take them out when they are still soft and golden brown, not deep brown. They are very soft when taken out, so let them harden on the tray for a couple of minutes before sliding the whole sheet of baking paper onto a rack to cool.
Some Changes - April 2022
Thanks to my friends and followers for your patience, and for your encouragement to start blogging again.