Anzac Biscuits

After my first son was born, a sweet friend generously brought over dinner to help us out during that crazy time. To be honest, I can’t even remember what she made for the main course (my family will attest to the fact that I was a complete basket-case for a good 2-3 weeks after he was born) but even through my postpartum haze, I can still remember the cookies that accompanied that meal. They were sweet, chewy and totally amazing and I am fairly sure I ate every single one of them. My girlfriend told me they were called “Anzac Biscuits” and that they were simple to make and always a crowd pleaser. I just had to get the recipe!

I have since learned that Anzac Biscuits hail from Australia and New Zealand and were originally baked by women to be sent to their husbands and sons who were fighting overseas during World War I. The ingredients were readily available and affordable at the time and they weren’t prone to spoiling which was important since it could take up to a month for the cookies to reach the troops.

From what I’ve uncovered online, these humble cookies have come a long way since war days and are now popular all over the world for their delicate chewiness and buttery goodness. My whole family loves these little gems and I highly recommend them for school lunch boxes, after dinner dessert or with your mid-afternoon tea. Or might I suggest that you whip up a batch for a brand new mom? You never know – they just might get her over the hump of those first difficult days with a newborn. They certainly helped me!

Anzac Biscuits

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1 cup all-purpose flour (or 1 cup of Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free AP Baking Flour + 1 tsp xanthum gum)
1 cup regular oats
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup Earth Balance or Organic Butter, melted
3 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. golden cane syrup

Preheat oven to 325.
Combine flour, oats, sugar, coconut and baking soda and stir well. Add butter, water and syrup and stir again.
Drop spoonfuls at least 2 inches apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
Bake at 325 for 12 minutes or until cookies are almost set (they should still be a bit gooey). Remove from oven and cool.
Enjoy!

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Monster Cookies

These cookies are the delicious result of a few failed baking experiments of late. I have been trying my hand at vegan substitutions in some of my favourite recipes and I’ve made some real clunkers. Here are a just a few of the things I’ve learned:

1. Coconut oil as a straight butter replacement may make your berry muffins gummy and thin – yuck!

monster cookie 1

2. Apple sauce in place of eggs in a traditional chewy cookie recipe may result in cookies as thin and as full of holes as lace – weird!

monster cookie 2

3. Even the dog will turn his nose up at pancakes made with soy milk and ground white chia seeds – not good!

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But I am nothing if not determined and baking is my very favourite thing to do. So I forged on, whisk in hand and I eventually turned out a healthy, yummy and kid-friendly cookie that is packed with nutrient dense foods and actually resembles a bakery-worthy dessert.

I called them “Monster Cookies” because of the amount of goodness I was able to pack into these babies – spelt flour, freshly ground almond meal, oats, pumpkin seeds, nuts, dried fruit, flax meal and chocolate.

Unfortunately because of the nuts these are not school-friendly but they do make an awesome after-school snack. They are chewy, crunchy and chocolatey. Mmmmmm…who could ask for anything more from a cookie?

And yes (in case you were wondering)- even the dog liked them!

Monster Cookies

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3/4 cup of light spelt flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup almond meal (I ground raw almonds in my coffee grinder)
1 cup oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp xanthum gum
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (try Enjoy Life brand)
3 tbsp. of ground flax meal + 12 tbsp. water (flax eggs)
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan margarine or organic butter, melted
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Add seeds, cranberries, nuts, raisins and chocolate chips and toss until covered in flour mixture.

Mix the flax and water and let sit for 5 minutes to get goopy.

Whisk together the margarine and oil. Add flax eggs and whisk for 1-2 minutes until thickened. Add maple sugar and agave and stir to combine.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well combined.

Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the parchment (approx. 1 tbsp. size) leaving space in between each cookie (I was able to put 12 on a regular sized baking sheet). Bake for 12 minutes.

Enjoy!