After the most recent torrential storms here in the northern California foothills our internet went out for almost 3 days. Downside: could not post anything or use internet as a distraction from things I really should be doing (cleaning, organizing, preparing for taxes, etc.). Upside: so much time to clean, organize, do taxes and my favorite thing – COOK! Fortunately, we had power so I headed to the kitchen to try out some new recipes. Beats doing taxes, right?
One of the foods I loved in both New Zealand and Ireland were the biscuit/cookies they have everywhere. In New Zealand they are called Anzacs and were popular during WWI because they were easy to make, inexpensive and didn’t spoil as they have no eggs. In Ireland and England biscuits are the name for all sorts of cookie/biscuit-like creations. I like them because they usually aren’t very sweet, have lots of healthy things in them and are great to throw in a backpack for some energy on a long hike or are a nice afternoon nibble with a cup of tea. An Anzac Biscuit/Cookie typically has oats, maple syrup or a bit of sugar (but not much), coconut, flour, baking soda and some butter. They are much harder and denser than the usual oatmeal cookie and a healthy snack for your kids or yourself. They can easily be gluten-free and vegan, too.
Since I had plenty of time to experiment I made several versions and they were all delicious. The gluten-free/vegan version was drier and more crumbly than the version with wheat flour but just as tasty. Here is my adaptation for both a vegan and a gluten-free/vegan Anzac. I added extra healthy things like oat bran, sesame seeds and nuts, too, so you can eat them guilt-free 😀
RECIPE FOR OATMEAL ANZACS (vegan and or vegan/gluten-free options) – makes about 20 “cookies”
- 3/4 cup flour (you can use unbleached white, or oat or almond flour for gluten-free)
- 1/4 cup oat bran
- 3/4 cup gluten-free regular (NOT quick) oats
- 1/2 – 3/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (depending on how much you like coconut)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 TBSP boiling water
- 1/4 cup VEGAN butter (you can also use real butter)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 3 TBSP maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 TBSP sunflower seeds
- 1 TBSP toasted sesame seeds
- 1/8 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 -2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 cup dried cranberries
- In medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (except the nuts & dried cranberries if you are adding them) together with a whisk.
- Heat butter and coconut oil together in a small pan until just melted, add maple syrup and whisk together.
- Add baking soda to 2 TBSP hot water in a small container.
- Mix melted butter/maple syrup mixture into the dry ingredients and add the hot water/baking soda.
- Mix in any nuts, dried cranberries and cinnamon or other spices you want to add.
- Stir everything together with a wooden spoon until all blended together. It will be a very stiff “dough”.
- With a spoon scoop out enough dough to make 2 ” rounds. Roll into balls with your hands. It will be very oily from the butter/coconut oil, so not that sticky.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the balls about 2 ” apart, then press flat with the bottom of a glass or jar lid.
- They should be fairly thick, about 1/2 – 3/4 inch. They do not spread very much while baking.
- Bake for about 20 – 25 minutes at 350 degrees until the bottoms are just golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 1/2 hour or so before eating, if possible!
Store these Anzac Biscuit/Cookies in a sealed plastic bag or container or they can easily be frozen after they cool. They last a long time (unless you eat them all as quickly as I did) 😋
Enjoy them with a cup of tea like they do in New Zealand and Ireland. I also found them to be the PERFECT “to go” breakfast for those busy workday mornings. They have all sorts of fiber and nutritious ingredients and are so much healthier than ANY granola bar you will ever buy in a store! 👍