28 October 2009

Ah, the Miracle of Coconut Oil -- Veganized Anzac Biscuits

From October 2009 Photos

I'm very fond of many of my cookbooks, but few are written with such care as The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion. It's really a great book for beginners because it explains so much of the food chemistry that goes into baking. It's even better for those of us a bit more practiced who like to tinker with recipes.

One of the recipes in the Cookie Companion that I've had tagged for a few years without trying is "Anzac Biscuits." Traditional Australian cookies, crisp and buttery, these yummy bits are usually made with golden syrup and sugar. I knew they would be a challenge, and not quite authentic made with agave nectar, but I pushed forward. The big issue is that agave nectar just doesn't crystalize. Add in coconut oil instead of butter, and you get a cookie that's moist, not crispy.

From October 2009 Photos

All that aside, these are really great, habit-forming cookies. Even though the recipe calls for no spices or flavorings, these still have plenty of flavor from the caramelized agave nectar, the oats, and all that coconut.

From October 2009 Photos

The interesting step of mixing a slurry of baking soda and boiling water with the agave nectar and coconut oil does something fizzy and magical to the cookies. It makes them light and indescribably snackable. I couldn't keep my mitts off them. Luckily, I brought the majority of the batch to Mom and Dave as well as some friends on Monday night. They were quite the success. No one thought they weren't made with butter. And, that my friends, is the miracle of coconut oil. Solid at room temperature, the stuff frightens me with all its saturated fat. However, it's supposed to be good fat, so I'm not going to worry (OK, I worry a little and only eat two cookies -- please send me links to research that will set my mind at ease!) too much.

All that to say, I'm happy to be able to veganize classic recipes and make them agave nectar friendly. One last thing -- when I make these again, I'm adding vanilla and ginger. Mom thought they would be excellent as well (and we know that she knows what she's talking about). Here's the recipe as I made it.

Anzac Biscuits (greatly inspired by the recipe of the same name on page 83 of The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion)

Yields 3 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon coconut flour (sifted)
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup coconut oil (measured solid)
2/3 cup agave nectar (you'll want amber for this)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water

Directions:

1. Mix together the oats, flours, coconut, and salt in a large bowl until well combined. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil in the agave nectar over low heat. This will take about 10 minutes of stirring often. If you need to turn up the heat a little, you'll need to keep a close eye on it. Just make sure it doesn't boil.
3. While the oil is melting, boil the water and make the baking soda slurry. Add the boiling water to the baking soda and stir well.
4. Take the oil/agave nectar mixture off the heat and stir in the baking soda slurry. This will foam up in a lovely caramel color. It won't foam over, so don't worry about that.
5. Gently mix the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients until everything is well combined. Let rest.
6. Heat the oven to 325 degrees F and prepare three baking sheets with parchment paper liners.
7. Using a medium cookie scoop (or two spoons), scoop the dough in even measures with lots of spreading room (because these guys spread a LOT) onto the cookie sheets.
8. Bake for a total of 12 minutes, turning and switching the positions of the sheets at 6 minutes.
9. Let the cookies sit on their sheets for 10 minutes before delicately moving them to racks to cool completely. They crisp up a bit, but will always have a nice moistness to them.
10. Enjoy!

4 comments:

Sophie said...

Wow,...these cookies look to die for,..very crunchy too,..

Yum!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Sophie. In reality, they are not crunchy -- at least the way I made them. They were nicely moist.

Vegetation said...

I never make Anzac cookies because I can't keep them out of my mouth and before I know it the whole batch is in my belly!

I love your version of them! They look awesome.

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks, Veg!