The way that recipes change over time and through repeated making is something that Lois and I have spoken about a couple of times. Favourite recipes are seldom made exactly as the original source specified; as cooks make and remake a recipe a little less sugar might be added, a handful of sunflower seeds sprinkled in, the baking time adjusted. It’s often only when you go to write down the recipe, perhaps to give to a friend, that you discover that you have drifted away from the original recipe without even realising it.
There is the personal history of recipes and then there are recipes that live in the public realm, such as Anzac biscuits. Lois wrote a very interesting article which explores how the recipe for Anzac biscuits has changed over time, which you can read here. There are two types of Anzac biscuits currently in the popular vernacular: one is thicker, crumblier cookie sometimes with sunflower seeds and dried fruit added; the other is a crispy and chewy thin disc. Both are good, but the latter really is something special. Lois’ recipe is for the thinner, chewier sort.
Lois’ Anzacs (recipe from Lyndie Pillar)
3 tablespoon golden syrup
¼ cup boiling water
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
100g rolled oats
75g coconut (I used long thread, but you could also use desiccated)
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Gently heat the butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan until the butter melts. Pour the boiling water into a cup and dissolve the soda. Mix the flour, sugar, rolled oats and coconut together in a large bowl. Add the soda and water to the melted butter and syrup and immediately pour the foaming mixture into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Cover two baking trays with baking paper. Place heaped teaspoonfuls of the mixture on the prepared trays, leaving room for spreading. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the biscuits have melted flat and baked to a rich brown. Keep a very close eye on the biscuits from the 10 minute mark; they go from perfect to burnt very quickly! Leave the biscuits to cool slightly on the oven trays before transferring onto a cooling rack.