Australian Functional Ingredients – by Vic Cherikoff

ANZAC biscuits on Anzac Day

ANZAC Day means different things to different people these days. To some, it’s only a time to drag out Mum’s old recipe for ANZAC biscuits and bake a batch. In our house, they rarely got to the hard crack stage which only happened as they cooled on storage as most were eaten right off the tray when they were still soft, sweet and chewy.

These days, I add Wattleseed at around 2% for the powder and I replace the water with Wattleseed extract for more of that delicious nuttiness. I suppose this brings together two national days – Anzac Day and Wattle day – how about Wattleseed Anzac Day?

Wattleseed Anzac biscuits as served on Qantas

But back to my thoughts on the meaning of Anzac Day. We are now seeing what a foolish effort the attack on Gallipoli really was from a military standpoint and in order to shift blame from the generals who should be despised and publicly damned. Instead, we applaud the heroics of those soldiers they condemned to certain death and of those lucky enough to have survived. To me, it’s just twisted that our government promotes a cute recipe for Anzac biscuits in honor and remembrance of those that died and legislates that the recipe can’t be changed and sweeps the military incompetance under the red carpet of wartime achievements.

It has always been considered to be un-Australian to question our government’s choices (think Iraq, the coalition of the damned willing, water, sewerage, waste management, alternative energy, town planning, environment management etc etc) except at election time but perhaps one day, we might hold political fools responsible for their idiotic decisions. Think of this:

Soldier biscuits were sent to our troops in World War 1 for sustenance and memories of home (and later renamed to Anzac biscuits) but what did we send them in WW2? A certain doctor/pathologist with whom I recently had a startling conversation told me about how he lost his first job at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital during WW2. He was charged with doing post mortems on soldiers shipped home from the war and noted that many of these young Australians had pathologies in their lungs and that there appeared to be a statistical correlation with the nicotine stains on their fingers. As his sample size was extremely large with post mortems conducted on dozens of corpses a day, this young doctor wrote up a paper on this statistical observation and it was published in a peer reviewed, scientific publication at the time. However, the head of the hospital was less than pleased at this medical revelation made public without his knowledge. He had pressure brought to bear on him because it was the government of the time which was sending cigarettes to the troops to boost morale. They certainly did not want the truth revealed that their war was a health hazard.

But back to Anzac biscuits. While it is apparently against Australian legislation to add anything to the traditional Anzac biscuit recipe, Wattleseed is the one flavouring which can be added with impunity. Here’s a recipe for my version but please don’t smoke while you’re making them.

Anzac Biscuit Recipe:

2 cups rolled oats
½ cup sugar
1 cup flour
125gm butter
1 tablespoon Cherikoff Wattleseed
2 tablespoons Cherikoff Wattleseed extract
1 tablespoon golden syrup – a product made from cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda

Combine the oats, sugar and flour together. Add the Wattleseed and Wattleseed extract to the butter and golden syrup in a saucepan and heat to melt the butter. Mix well and stir in the baking soda before adding this foaming mixture into the dry mix and combining well. Put spoonfuls of the mixture on a greased tray and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 15-20 minutes or until cooked to a golden-brown color.

Drop over to Benjamin Christie’s site for a few more thoughts on Anzac Day and another recipe for Anzac biscuits with Wattleseed and coconut.

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Vic Cherikoff