Scientifically Sweet: Anzac Brownies

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Anzac Brownies

I've been in Australia for nearly 5 months now and I've learned a lot about this wonderful country. The spiders are huge, birds make an obscene amount of noise but are equally beautiful, swim between the flags (!), everyone has a dog, the "penny" does not exist, cricket is a funny sport, wearing shoes outside or in the airport or in shopping centers is optional, they pronounce tomato toe-mah-toe and ketchup is called toe-mah-toe sauce, afternoon tea is practically ritual, air conditioning is a total privilege, the UV is off the charts and summer days are HOT.

Last friday it was 46 degrees celcius, my bedroom's on the third floor and a/c is not happening. I've never been so hot outside of a sauna. I mean...I was diminished to wearing a wet bandanna on my bear back and I can't eat chocolate without getting it all over myself. Above all, I just can't help myself but still want to eat chocolate even though it's a) melting, and b) all over my face/arms/clothes.

Side note: Toblerone, you're wonderful. You look so cool in a funny triangular shape but you are such a pain to eat and not so easy to wrap back up when I'm eating from a 1 kg bar! I'm sure with every bite I take, 70% gets in my mouth and the remaining 30% gets divided among the floor, my dress and my face. I think you need to get your act together.

So to celebrate Australia day, which passed this weekend, I've combined one of my favourite things with a very iconic Aussie treat called an Anzac biscuit. And don't even dare call it a cookie because it's a biscuit. Aussies are very strict about this.

Anzac biscuits were created during World War I to sustain the soldiers since they last nearly forever. Firstly they're egg-free, which means they have a longer shelf-life, and they're packed with oats and coconut which are full of dietary fiber and will keep you nicely satiated.

Something that makes these biscuits very Aussie is the addition of golden syrup - I love this stuff. It has the most lovely caramelized sugar taste and the best substitute for it if you can't find it in North America is maple syrup. The combination of golden syrup, oats and coconut is incredibly comforting and the aroma these cookies...errr biscuits...emit as they bake up is seductive.

First the Anzac biscuit base is packed into the bottom of your pan and baked until lightly golden.

Anzac biscuits can be enjoyed crispy or chewy. In this case, this will serve as a lovely, nutty, chewy base for some fudge brownies. Golden syrup is a liquid sugar and a humectant that does a great job of binding moisture to help contribute chewiness. Oats are naturally high in soluble fiber to add wonderful toothsomeness as well.

Now we're ready to pour over the brownie base and bake again until just set with a shiny brittle crust and still super fudgy beneath.

There's absolutely nothing to not love about these little squares. There are so many wonderful flavours going on, yet you can distinctly point them all out. They're also dead simple to make - notice the super short instructions. Right? I know there are a million things you need to do today, but I really want you to be able to fit in some coconutty chocolaty delicious too. So, if you happen to have all of the ingredients around now, I suggest you get on this bandwagon!


Anzac Brownies
Makes 18-24 squares

For the Anzac base:
½ cup quick oats
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tbsp golden syrup

For the brownie layer:
¼ cup unsalted butter
115 g/4 oz dark chocolate 
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2/3 cup caster sugar
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
¼ cup all purpose flour

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C and line an 8x10-inch or 9x9-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch over hang at each end.

Mix together all ingredients for the Anzac base and press evenly into prepared pan. Bake until lightly golden, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool while you make the brownie layer. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F/160 degrees C.

Melt together butter and chocolate until smooth and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt until smooth. Whisk in warm chocolate mixture. Sprinkle flour over the top and stir it in until combined. Pour brownie batter over Anzac layer and bake until shiny and slightly cracked on top, 15-20 minutes longer. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting into squares.

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  1. What a great dessert mash up...looks fabulous! Yum.

  2. Coincidentally I just made anzac biscuits for the first time last week! I used honey to replace the golden syrup, but I should have thought of maple syrup, that would have been good.
    They must have been a hit because they all got eaten very quickly.

  3. Are you loving Australia? 46 one week, then floods the next? But how good is golden syrup? My secret indulgence is golden syrup on toast. It's so much better than honey! Of course, it's not an everyday breakfast, you can't be running out the door with the slice in your mouth, or you end up dripped all over before you get to the office!
    Anyway, these sound fantastic! I'm going to make them for Anzac day. Thanks very much from an Australian fan!

  4. Ooooh, these look like a must make! Thank you! And I am envious that you've been in Australia for so long. I fell in love with it and I only had three weeks back in 2003. I dream of going back to visit. And the birds - right on ;)

  5. I love Golden Syrup. Here in Calif we used to buy it in a British shop, but Cost Plus and even WalMart (occasionally) carries it. Being from the UK, there IS no substitute. Makes wicked caramel, pecan pie, and even pork chops. As every of your recipes is wicked good, these will be made tomorrow! Enjoy Oz as it's beautiful in their shoulder/winter season.

  6. Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!!!! It's so lovely to see something Australian :)
    I love Anzac bicies and I love this idea! It might be sacrilege but may do this for Anzac day in April.
    Thanks so much!!

  7. sounds great! i've always wanted to try anzac biscuits and this would be a great twist!

  8. Woah! These look phenomenal! What a journey you must be having. :D

  9. These are amazing, I made a pan last night and they are gone this morning. Goes great with an ice cold glass of milk or hot cup of coffee. Just lovely. Thanks!


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