Down Under With Martha!- ANZAC Biscuits! -241 eggs, 184 cups of sugar, 186 1/2 sticks of Butter, and 233 1/2 cups of flour used so far- 32 recipes to go!

September 18, 2011


Martha's ANZAC Biscuits

André's ANZAC Biscuits

I have a childhood friend who lives in Perth, Australia. She’s lived all over the world, really. It’s hard to imagine that someone who grew up across the street from me, who used to babysit me, who taught my sisters the silly cheers of her high school’s football team, who worshipped Shaun Cassidy and Andy Gibb is now a high-powered oil executive traveling the world negotiating oil deals on a national level. She just relocated to Perth after being stationed for a few years in Aberdeen, Scotland. She was in London for many years before that. Am I jealous of her career? Not really. She is in a business I know very little about other than it causes a lot of people a lot of worry. I am, however, jealous of the amount of travel she’s afforded through her career choice. This post is dedicated to you, B.A. since this is the only cookie in Martha’s book that comes from down under.

I’ve always enjoyed Australians. There’s a certain joie de vivre in how they approach life. It’s their “No Worries” attitude that is so refreshing. The first Aussie I met was in college. I went to an International college in Saint Louis, Missouri with just about every country represented in the dorms. I remember playing a game called Spoons in one of the resident’s dorm rooms filled with students from various countries. I don’t exactly remember how the game worked. I remember you have to hold a bunch of spoons in your hand and answer deep philosophical questions posed by the group and then award a spoon to the person whose answer you most liked. I remember one of the questions posed was- If you could have dinner with three people living or dead, which three people would you choose.  Each student tried to out-inspire and out-impress the next with answers ranging from Gandhi, Churchill and Hitler to Lincoln, Warhol and Stalin to Garbo, Chaplin and Groucho. When it was the Australian lad’s turn to answer, he simply put down his beer bored with the game and answered, “I dunno’. Three people? Are any of you busy?” I gave him my spoon and fell in love with the Aussie mindset after that.

ANZAC stands for the Australian/New Zealand Army Corps. An ANZAC biscuit is a cookie with a long shelf life thus it was a perfect ration during wartime for the traveling armies of Australia and New Zealand. Not only was it transportable, it was delicious and packed with nutrients and calories. I baked a batch of these as part of a housewarming gift to my friends Keith and Brian who recently moved into their dream home some ninety minutes outside of Kansas City. Both had a hankering to experience a more rural lifestyle and decided to put their suburban home on the market. Once an offer was made they searched the listings in the rural counties around the Kansas City Metro area and found a property that seemed almost too good to be true. Keith and Brian now live on a ten acre stretch of farmland in a large farmhouse with a four-room out building with a breezeway, a hen house, a covered shed, a barn, a horse, a mule, eighteen chickens, a dog, several indoor cats and about ten ferrel barn cats… oh, and an old outhouse. You can almost hear the Green Acres theme playing softly in the distance.

Brian grew up not far from the farmhouse and was accustomed to rural living. At the housewarming his relatives gathered en masse to eat, joke, gossip, complain and celebrate Brian and Keith’s new dwelling. I showed up with a tin filled with Martha’s ANZAC biscuits. One of Brian’s aunts asked me what they were. I tried to explain to her the significance of the ANZAC biscuit and my cookie blog to which she responded with a prolonged blank stare. After eating one she slapped me on the back and shouted, “Hell, I don’t know what you were talkin’ ’bout before, but these damn cookies are some tasty shit.” I kind of wanted her to be the next judge of Top Chef after that and every time I glanced her way during the party she did indeed, have a cookie sticking out of her mouth. Maybe she was part Australian?

What’s in an ANZAC Biscuit? Good stuff. Lots of it. Flaked coconut, butter, salt, oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, eggs and Lyle’s golden syrup are combined to make this simple drop cookie. They are baked till golden brown and allowed to cool into a stiff and crispy state. It is a sturdy cookie but light on the palate. It tastes of oatmeal, coconut, butter and honey sweetness. It was, as Keith’s Aunt so eloquently described, some tasty shit.

Not much of a story today, I’m afraid. I don’t think I have one in me right now. Going to bake the next cookie tonight and see what thoughts it stirs up. Meanwhile, if you’re feeling adventurous try baking a cookie that will last throughout the week and beyond. Preheat your oven and head down under with ANZAC Biscuits.

G’day, Mate!

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