Helen Goh's caramelised Anzac bars

Anzac biscuit-inspired oat slice with coconut caramel topping.
Anzac biscuit-inspired oat slice with coconut caramel topping. Photo: William Meppem
Difficulty
Easy
Dietary
Kid-friendly

With oats in the base layer and coconut in the filling, there are no prizes for guessing that the inspiration for these bars is the Anzac biscuit. Chewy at the edges and soft within, the bars are very satisfying with a cup of tea or as a dessert with an apple compote on the side. Replace the coconut with walnuts or pecans for a different kind of treat, and freeze any leftovers for furtive snacking.

Ingredients

For the oats base layer

100g plain flour

30g light brown sugar

30g granulated sugar

80g rolled oats

¼ tsp salt

100g unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 5 pieces

For the coconut caramel topping

100g unsalted butter

60g light brown sugar

120g golden syrup (or runny honey)

60ml pure cream

1 tsp vanilla extract

⅛ tsp salt

120g dried coconut threads

sprig of rosemary, for garnish

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 175C fan-forced (185C conventional). Line the base and sides of a square, 20cm tin with baking paper, leaving an overhang on the sides to ease removal of the bars later.

2. Place the flour, sugars, oats and salt in a food processor fitted with the blade attachment and pulse a few times to combine. Add the butter and continue to pulse until the mixture forms a rough crumble (about 20 pulses), then tip the mixture out into a bowl. Rub the crumbs together to make sure there are no large pieces or any unmixed lumps of butter, then scatter the crumbs evenly over the base of the prepared tin. Press the mixture down firmly using the back of a spoon so that you have an even, compact layer.

3. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes until set and light brown. Remove from the oven (but leave it switched on) and allow the oat base to cool for 15 minutes.

4. While the base is baking, prepare the topping. Combine the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a medium saucepan, placed over low heat. Cook, stirring the mixture until the butter has melted, then increase the heat to medium and bring gently to a simmer. Simmer without stirring for 5 minutes, then add the cream, vanilla, salt and coconut. Stir well for a minute or two to combine, then pour the mixture over the oat base. Use a small spatula to even the top, then place into the oven.

5. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the top is golden brown and bubbling. Remove from the oven and place the tin on a wire rack to cool for about an hour, before easing around the edges of the tin with a butter knife to release the bar. Remove from the tin and place onto a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Once cooled, slice the bar into squares or rectangles. Pile the pieces onto plates, place a sprig of fresh rosemary on top, then serve.

If you like this recipe try Helen Goh's Anzac loaf cake