Well it is that time of the year again - Anzac Day where us Aussies give thanks to those who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during the first World War.
Some history on these delicious baked goods:
During the first world war, mothers, wives and girlfriends of the overseas troops were concerned about the lack of nutritional value in the food being supplied to their men. Most of it was being transported to them aboard merchant navy ships which had no refrigeration and so had to remain edible for more than two months. The women thus devised a biscuit that was durable and nutritious based on a Scottish recipe inlcuding rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, butter and golden syrup or treacle - all long life ingredients.
After the Gallipoli landing, the biscuits became known as ANZAC biscuits.
As for the Lamingtons, they were created in the early 1900's in Brisbane Australia, named after the eigth governor of Queensland (Brisbane is the capital of Queensland). Rolled in moist chocolate sauce, and then coconut, the cake remains soft and scrumptious for days.
Now, onto the recipes! I have done by best to provide accurate conversions and substitutes where they may be required...
Lamingtons (makes 25):
1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
1 cup plain flour (all purpose flour)
1 TB unsalted butter
350g (12oz) good-quality chocolate
3/4 cup cream (35% milk fat)
4 cups dessicated coconut
Optional (see end of recipe): 5 tbsp strawberry jam
Preheat the oven to 180c (350f) and lightly grease a 20cm (8") square cake tin.
Whisk the eggs and sugar on a high speed for about 10 minutes.
In 2 batches, sift the flour over the egg mixture and, using a metal spoon, gently fold to combine, then fold in the butter.
Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 20 minutes or until a skewer/toothpick comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for a further 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and set over a saucepan of simmering water.
Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is combined and smooth, then set aside.
Scatter the coconut in a tray for dipping.
Cut the cake into 25 (4cm / 2") square pieces (5 rows across and 5 down).
Using a long skewer, dip each square into the chocolate and shake off the excess, then roll in the coconut, again shaking off the excess.
Place on a wire rack until the chocolate sets.
Optional: before coating the cake in chocolate and coconut, slice each piece in half and spread with a layer of strawberry jam.
Anzac Biscuits (makes 25):
60g (2oz) butter
1 TB golden syrup (substitute maple syrup, or light molasses, or honey, or dark corn syrup)
2 ts water
1/2 ts bicarbonate of soda
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
1/2 cup brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 160c (320f). Heat the butter and syrup in a saucepan over low heat until the butter is melted, then add the water and set aside.
Combine the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, then pour the warm butter mixture over and stir to combine.
Line 1 large or 2 small baking trays with baking paper and roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls and place on the tray about 5cm (2") apart.
Flatten slightly with a fork.
Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave the biscuits on the tray for a further 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
Store in an airtight container.
500g (17.5oz / 1 pound, 2 ounces) caster (superfine sugar)
500g (17.5oz / 1 pound, 2 ounces) strawberries, quartered
30g (1oz) pectin
Scatter 300g (10.5oz) sugar over the quartered quartered strawberries. Cover and set aside at room temperature overnight.
Mix the rest of the sugar (200g/7oz) with the pectin.
Place both mixtures in a saucepan and cook uncovered over low heat for 3 hours until it reaches jam consistency.