They shall not grow old
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Not the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning
We will remember them
Lest we forget.
~ Laurence Binyon "For the Fallen"
The 25th of April marks Anzac Day, a public holiday in New Zealand and Australia that commemorates the day the Anzac troops landed in Gallipoli, Turkey in WWI. The campaign was disastrous: they were under-resourced, out-numbered, and overwhelmed. Thousands perished. So why celebrate such a bleak event at all?
Well, while it might have been a military defeat, what was not defeated was the spirit, courage, and bravery of those soldiers fighting for their country. So on Anzac Day we remember them and their sacrifice at dawn services and through Anzac biscuits.
As a Gen Y'er brought up in peaceful little New Zealand, I grew up going to dawn parades and eating Anzac cookies and more importantly I was lucky enough to grow up never having to live through any war of any kind. But just because we live in a time of peace, it's still hugely important to keep remembering and talking about war and sacrifice so that we can fully appreciate the freedom and peace we are fortunate enough to enjoy. So as my way of remembering those heroic young men and women, I made White Chocolate Anzac Biscuits on Anzac Day.
I love the story behind Anzac biscuits: they were made by women on the home front to be sent to the soldiers at the front lines as they were hardy enough to last the long sea journey without spoiling. Sending their love through baking all those years ago. The journey abroad was also the reason why there are no eggs in the recipe, eggs would make the cookie spoil faster and were also tightly rationed during the war.
This is a cookie recipe I've made for years. It is a fantastic go-to cookie coz it's just so easy and you always have the ingredients on hand: flour, rolled oats, coconut, golden syrup and butter.
The white chocolate is an extra little Nessie add-on to the standard Anzac recipe, so you can leave it out if you like and still get a delicious chewy coconutty cookie. I'm actually not a huge fan of white chocolate per se, but it just works so well in this cookie. Something about the creaminess of the white chocolate that really brings out the caramelly golden syrup and nuttiness of the coconut.
My recipe is based on a classic Edmonds Cookbook recipe that I've tinkered with over the years. I know I always say this, but this is a seriously easy recipe. Everything mixed up in one bowl and you don't even need to use a beater. You can bake them for longer and get a crispy crunchy cookie or for shorter and get a lovely chewy soft cookie. They keep for yonks in a tin so make great biscuity gifts.
White Chocolate Anzac Cookies
Adapted from a recipe in the Edmonds Cookbook
makes around 4 dozen
2 cups plain flour
1 1/3 cup white sugar (next time I think I might try adding a little less sugar just to tweak it a little more)
2 cups shredded coconut
2 cups rolled oats
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tablespoon golden syrup (if you can't get golden syrup where you are, you could substitute treacle or honey but the cookies will taste a little different)
1 tsp baking soda
4 Tablespoons boiling water
250g white chocolate bits (I like using the Nestle White Chocolate Bits coz they hold their cute drop shaped after baking but chopped up white chocolate would work too)
1. Preheat the oven to 180oC and line two cookie trays with baking paper.
2. In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar and salt till well mixed. Mix in shredded coconut and rolled oats. Make a well in the centre.
3. Melt butter and golden syrup in the microwave or in a sauce pan until totally melted. Mix baking soda with boiling water (I just do this in the measuring cup I used to measure out the flour) and mix the bubbling mixture into the butter/golden syrup. Let the mixture bubble up then pour into the well in the flour mixture. Stir with a knife till mostly incorporated then add the white chocolate bits and mix with the knife till mixed through.
4. Place tablespoon-fulls on the prepared baking trays around 1 inch apart (they won't really spread). Flatten ever so slightly with a fork (or your fingers). Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown (longer for a crispier cookie). Cool for about 2 minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. They will come out of the oven really soft and then harden as they cool. Keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.