The best ANZAC Biscuits and reflections

This ANZAC Day blog isn’t your traditional ANZAC Day reflection. I intend no disrespect to people who are commemorating ANZAC Day the traditional way, I’m just having a different kind of ruminations.

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus recently. It wasn’t planned, it just happened. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog, life just got in the way a little bit. It’s been good to get away and get some perspective. With all the time I freed up from not blogging, I had the opportunity to evaluate things from a different perspective and realized that some of my older recipes need updating!

Anzacs (7 of 15)

With the rest of my free time, I went to New Zealand and Africa and met amazing people, had adventures that I’ll never forget and ate a whole lot of delicious new foods. I’ll sprinkle details of my trips in upcoming blogs, but would thoroughly recommend both destinations to anyone even vaguely considering a holiday right now. Get out there!

The last time I posted an ANZAC biscuit recipe I was at a very different stage in my life. You can read about the wonderful adventure I had here. I was totally in love with Australia and in awe of how different its landscapes can be. Right now, I’m still in love with Australia, but for very different reason. The Boy, as he was referred to in previous blogs, is no longer a part of my life. Things changed for the worse in our relationship and it ended up being unhealthy. The deterioration of one relationship, however, has meant that countless other relationships have bloomed – my friends and family are wonderful, crazy, ridiculous people who are there for me at the drop of a hat.

I am grateful for Australia because of all the people in my life that are here. I’m also grateful that we have such a delicious little morsel to help us commemorate ANZAC Day.

Enjoy your day off, I hope you’re spending it well!

Anzacs (6 of 15)

ANZAC Biscuits

Makes 24

  • 1 cup oats
  • ¾ cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 tsp bicarb

Line a baking tray and preheat your oven to 160°.

Mix together all of your dry ingredients until they’re evenly distributed.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter and golden syrup over a low heat. While this is melting, put the boiling water and bicarb into a small cup and mix them.

When the butter and golden syrup are completely melted, pour the water and bicarb in and allow it to bubble up for 20 seconds, stirring as little as possible. The butter and golden syrup will react to the bicarb, bubbling and becoming cloudy.

Remove the mixture from the heat and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix until there are no dry pockets left, then spoon tablespoons of mixture onto your lined tray.

Bake the biscuits for 12-15 minutes, rotating at half way. Transfer them onto a cooling tray and devour them still warm – they won’t last very long!

 

Santa’s cookies and Christmas recipes

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. There’s a sense of magic in the air – people are friendlier, smiles come more easily from strangers, and everything smells so ridiculously delicious! Along with the magic, the air is laden with smells like sherry, fruitcake, pine and cinnamon.

For me, Christmas revolves around food and family. In the absence of family this year (the Boy and I are in Sydney while the rest of my family are up the coast), I plan to eat myself into a a food coma – who is with me?

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And I’ve already started with these babies! I’ll be putting some out for Santa, but I can’t promise that I won’t nibble on them before he gets to them! They’re soft and moist, and the hint of cinnamon is subtle, but works wonders. Make these, Santa and your stomach will be eternally grateful.

Santa’s choc chip cookies

  • Makes 40 cookies
    1 1/2 cups Nuttelex
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 1/2 tspns cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons cornflour
  • 2 teaspoon bicarb
  • 5 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup milk chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 180C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
Cream together your Nuttelex and both types of sugar, then add in the eggs, vanilla and cinnamon until just combined.

Pop the cornflour and bicarb in, then add in the flour, one cup at a time, mixing after each addition. Try not to overmix, as this will make your cookies tough.

Finally, add in the choc chips, saving a handful of each and setting them to one side.
Scoop out heaped tablespoons of mixture and roll between your hands until you have a rough disc, then press some of the remaining choc chips into the discs so that you end up with an appealing mix of chocolate on the top of the cookie.

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Set them on your lined tray about 1cm apart and pop into the oven for 12 minutes, rotating at half way. These cookies are best if you only put one tray in at a time. However, if you decide to put two trays in at once, leave them in for 2 minutes extra, and swap them over at half way so that they cook evenly.

When you remove them from the oven, allow them to cool for two minutes, then transfer them to a cooling tray.

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I recommend you devour these babies warm, but make sure you save some for Santa!

If cookies aren’t your thing, here are some other last minute Christmas recipes for you:

No-bake choc mint cheesecake

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Mint chocolate crackles

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Cherry syllabub

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Chocolate mud cake and Sweden

November 7 is Kladdkakans Dag!

Or, if you’re not Swedish, Mud Cake Day. I’m not exactly sure why, but those beautiful people have created a day for this delight. After a brief attempt at Googling the day, I believe it has something to do with a memorial day.

Whatever the reason, between my love of Sweden and my love of cake, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make something delicious! I adapted my recipe very slightly from Kirsten Tibballs’ (she’s an amazing pastry chef and chocolatier, who runs Savour School, and has an absolutely mesmerising Instagram) classic chocolate mud cake recipe.

 

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I could not have been more pleased with the results. It’s fudgy and dense, sticky and sweet, completely over the top; what more could you want from a mud cake?!

 

Chocolate mud cake

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 310g butter
  • 1 1/3 cups caster sugar
  • 310ml water
  • 1 ¾ cups plain flour
  • 2 ½ tbsp cocoa
  • 1 tsp bicarb
  • 2 eggs

 

Chocolate ganache (milk, white and dark)

  • 125g white chocolate
  • 90g milk chocolate
  • 90g dark chocolate
  • ¾ cup thickened cream

 

Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin and preheat your oven to 160°C.

Melt your dark chocolate with the butter, caster sugar and water in a saucepan without bringing to a boil.  Remove from the heat and set to one side.

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Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder together, then pour melted chocolate mix over your dry ingredients, mixing until you’ve got a smooth consistency. Add in your eggs and mix until just combined. Pour into your tin (giving the tin a few light taps on the counter to get rid of some of the bubbles) then pop into the oven for 60-70 minutes.

Your cake will still be a bit wobbly when you take it out of the oven, but don’t be tempted to over-bake it – this wobbliness will keep it delectably fudgy. Allow the cake to cool at room temperature*, remove from the cake tin, then pop in the fridge for at least four hours.

*While your cake is cooling, the centre will sink – never fear! You have two options; one, fill the centre with ganache and make it some ridiculously delicious chocolate well, or two, level off the edges (like I have done in these photos) and have a flat-topped cake.

Remove the cake from the fridge just before you start on the ganache – the coolness of the cake will help your ganache set.

Put each type of chocolate into a separate container (Pyrex jugs are great to help you with pouring later) and set to one side. Put your cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat and bring to a boil – stir it lightly so that it doesn’t catch on the bottom. Leave on the heat until it froths up impressively, then remove from the heat. Pour ¼ cup of the cream onto each of the containers of chocolate, whisking them until the chocolate has melted. Set to one side for ten minutes.

If you’re planning on putting the ganache on the cake at a later time, cover with cling wrap touching the surface so that it doesn’t develop a skin.

Grab an offset spatula (or a spoon will do). Set your cake on a cooling rack and set that cake rack on a tray lined with baking paper – this might get a little messy! Spoon your chocolate ganaches onto your cake in random blobs, covering the top of the cake, then use your spatula to marble them. Smooth the ganache over the edges so so that you’ve got good coverage. Top with fruit and chocolate as desired, then pop into the fridge for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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Serve slivers of this cake – it’s so decadent that you don’t need big slices. Plus, if you start small, there’s no harm in going back for seconds!

 

 

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No-bake chocolate pumpkin cheesecake and Halloween

Halloween is a bit of a funny one this year – it’s on a Monday. Wandering the streets of the city yesterday, I saw the oddest mix of people; regular Saturday shoppers, zombie walkers, Jokers and Harley Quinns, blood-covered doctors or nurses and many bemused onlookers. Australians have mixed feelings towards Halloween, so when it doesn’t fall on a weekend, it seems even further diluted.

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Baileys brownies and chocolate

I’m attempting to make healthier food choices to balance out my baking. How is it going, you ask?

Interestingly.

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Day one: the earth conspired against me and my delicious berry smoothie to ensure that I didn’t get the clean start I was looking for. And there’s that box of chocolate that Nestle sent me, just sitting there, packed to the brim with tempting goodies.

Chocolate cardamom biscuits and a hiatus

I’ve been away for a little while. The Boy and I moved into a new place, which meant uprooting ourselves and our little pupper.

This meant that our already anxious little Daisy turned into a giant nervous wreck. Norman, the most regal dog I have ever met, is remaining at my parent’s place. He’s old and forgetful, so it wasn’t fair to take him with us.

Norman

And this meant that Miss Daisy had to spend long periods of time by herself.

Just. Look. At. This. Face.

White chocolate cupcakes and the best white icing

For those of you who missed it, I went to Hawaii recently. Having never been to the States before, I was in awe of most things food-related! I had heard about giant portions and ridiculous amounts of sugar, but the food over there still stunned me. I’m not complaining, but  I think I’m still processing the excessive amounts of sugar that I consumed.

White chocolate cupcakes (11 of 13)

Chocolate peanut butter cookies and Winter recipes

I’ve hit a bit of a wall recently. All I want to do in my spare time is hide under the covers, binge on Netflix series and eat delicious things.

Generally I would have no issue being the person who makes said delicious things, but these past few weeks I haven’t been getting very far. I played around with a delicious earl grey and orange blossom water layer cake (recipe still in the works) and I’ve made litres and litres of soup. I’ve also been really into breakfast smoothies.

The soup and smoothies are testament to how much of a hermit I am recently. I don’t need to expend much energy making them, and all I need to do is blend up assorted food lying around the house.

But no baked goods!

ANZAC day scones and food memories

I have written before about how ANZAC Day is tied up with food in my household. I cannot imagine an ANZAC Day where my dad didn’t make biccies and I didn’t eat the raw dough. So it was with some trepidation this year that I bustled into the kitchen myself and made a different kind of ANZAC Day treat.

 

ANZAC day scones (15 of 16)

 

Dear readers, please be aware that I have gone against a long-standing tradition…

Home made raisin toast and Easter hangovers

Anyone else feeling the effects of Easter still? I know I am! All of that chocolate and merriment! Easter at my house is jam packed with so many people, so much food, and lots of laughs with the kiddy Easter egg hunt that Easter Monday has a hard act to follow. To counter the blues that set in when you realise that Easter is over, and you no longer have an excuse to eat your body weight in chocolate, I recommend straight up denial.

Denial in the form of chocolate spiked raisin bread!

Hot cross bun bread (13 of 18)

It’s basically a giant hot cross bun that you can eat warm out of the oven, cold with a smattering of jam, or piping hot, straight from the toaster and smothered in butter.

Not only is this bread the perfect way to relive Easter at any time of the year, it’s also a great way to use up the Easter eggs that you may have hanging around the house. I don’t know about you, but after Sunday I seem to have about three tonnes of them in various bowls around the house!

How was your Easter? Do you have a tradition of Easter egg hunting like my family does?

 

Home made raisin toast / hot cross bun bread

  • 2 teaspoons instant dried yeast
  • 1 ½ cups warm water
  • 3 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 150g milk chocolate easter eggs
  • 1/3 cup sultanas
  • 1 tbsp milk

Vanilla bean butter

  • 160g butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

Pour your warm water and yeast into a cup and set to one side for the yeast to do it’s thing for ten minutes.

While the yeast is set aside, sift your sugar into a bowl. Mix in the white sugar, followed by the allspice and cinnamon.

Hot cross bun bread (1 of 18)

Make a well in the centre and mix in your yeast. Pour in your water, about ¼ cup at a time until you’ve used it all and have a cohesive ball of dough.

Hot cross bun bread (2 of 18)

If you’re using a stand mixer, mix on a medium speed for 3-4 minutes. If you’re hand-kneading, do it for about 10 minutes.

Lightly oil your bowl and set the dough back in it, cover the bowl in cling wrap and set to in a warm spot to rise for one hour. For those of you who don’t know, sausage dogs prosper in the heat just as much as rising bread does. Try to keep sausages and dough separate.

Hot cross bun bread (3 of 18)

When your dough has more than doubled in size, lightly flour a surface and scoop your dough out onto it. Put half of your chocolate and sultanas into the middle of the dough and fold the dough in on itself a few times. Put the rest of the chocolate and sultanas in the dough and knead until the chocolate and sultanas are evenly distributed throughout.

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Pop into your bread tin and set in a warm place to rise again for 15 minutes.

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Preheat your oven to 180°C. Brush your bread with the milk, then pop your bread in the oven for 10 minutes.

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Reduce the temperature to 170°C and continue baking for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven when the top of the loaf is nicely browned and it makes a hollow sound when you knock the top of it.

Hot cross bun bread (9 of 18)

 

This bread is great served with regular butter, but I recommend whipping up some vanilla bean butter for an extra tasty slice. Allow your butter to come to room temperature and quickly mix in the sugar and vanilla. I use regular, salted butter as it adds a nice little edge to the otherwise sweet spread. Enjoy fresh from the oven, cooled, or toasted – whichever way you serve it, this bread is scrumptious!

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Hot cross bun bread (5 of 18)

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Hot cross bun bread (12 of 18)

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Planning on making this recipe? Tag me on Instagram and use #bakingwithgab so I can see your wonderful creations!