Who can resist a golden brown Anzac biscuit straight out of the oven? I heard about these biscuits and their wartime history long before I ever visited Australia. I used to make them as a commis pastry chef at The Savoy hotel in London back in the day.
The recipe link below is from those days with a few tweaks including the addition of brown sugar, which helps to ensure a chewy biscuit rather than a hard one.
The following recipes are simple but delicious, and show the versatility of this classic Aussie biscuit.
1. Coconut, white chocolate and mint Anzac ice-cream sandwich
Line a small baking or plastic tray with greaseproof paper and place it into the freezer. Take store bought or home-made coconut ice cream and soften it in a bowl with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Spoon approximately 50g of ice-cream into a 6cm round pastry ring or cutter, place onto the frozen tray and level with the back of a teaspoon to flatten. Make six of these discs and pop them back into the freezer to harden. Place 12 Anzac biscuits into a warm oven to soften and remove them once warm. Working quickly, take a 6cm pastry cutter and cut neat circles from the biscuits. Once you have 12 neat, round biscuits, take the ice-cream discs from the freezer and sandwich them between the biscuits. Push them together well and leave them out for a minute or two to allow the ice-cream to stick well to the top and bottom biscuits. Place the sandwiches back into the freezer and gently melt some white chocolate in a microwave bowl. Melt the chocolate in short bursts in the microwave, stirring in between each burst until the chocolate has melted. Add a drop or two of peppermint oil to the chocolate and mix well. Dip each ice cream sandwich 3/4 of the way into the chocolate and let them set back onto the tray. Store the sandwiches in the freezer and take them out 5 minutes before serving.
2. Pears and ginger Anzac crumble
You can make individual crumbles, a small one to share or a big crumble for the entire family. I work on a ratio of one pear per person. Peel and core four Beurre Bosc pears and place them into a saucepan. Cover with water and a splash of white wine and add 400g of caster sugar. Place slices of peeled ginger into the pan, as well as a few slices of peeled lemon zest. Cut a disc of baking parchment the same diameter as the pan and place this over the surface of the pears. Heat gently over a medium to low heat until the pears simmer and gently poach. Cook the pears until soft, about 25 minutes, and remove from the heat. Allow them to cool in the pan. Once cooled cut the pears into quarters and place them into a deep ceramic dish or individual ramekins, add some of the ginger slices if you wish, and top the dish with uncooked irregular pieces of Anzac biscuit dough. Once sufficiently covered, cook the crumble in a 180C oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with thick cream.
3. Milk chocolate, honeycomb and Anzac biscuit 'rubble'
At Sweet Studio in Melbourne one of my most popular products is 'milk chocolate, popcorn & honeycomb rubble'. Chunks of honeycomb and freshly popped popcorn are sprinkled on top of large thin trays of milk chocolate. This version is a delicious twist, using broken Anzac biscuit pieces instead of the popcorn.
Line a 30cm x 30cm baking or plastic tray with a high-density freezer film such as Go Between. For the honeycomb, combine 240g caster sugar, 45ml water, 50g honey and 90g glucose in a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Have a level tablespoon of bicarb soda handy and line a large deep-sided baking tray with non-stick paper and spray liberally with Canola spray grease. Bring the syrup to a boil, whisking constantly, and cook the syrup until it reaches 155C. Keep whisking until it reaches this point then remove the pan from the heat. Add the bicarb in one go and whisk vigorously. The mixture will expand furiously, so take care as it is hot. Pour the honeycomb into the lined baking tray. Allow the honeycomb to cool for 30-45 minutes and then turn it out and smash it into chunks with the back of a knife. Melt 600g of milk chocolate in a microwave bowl. Melt in short bursts, stirring in between to ensure the chocolate is cool and melted, not hot and melted. Pour most of the chocolate into the freezer-prepared tray and tap the tray to level. Push pieces of honeycomb and Anzac biscuits into the tacky chocolate and flick the remaining chocolate over the slab. Place in the fridge for 10 minutes before removing and breaking into irregular shards. Serve on a dessert buffet or bag up and ribbon for a cute gift.