ANZAC Biscuits with a Twist

Here in Australia it is the ANZAC day long weekend, and for us Aussies that means 3 things. First and foremost it’s an opportunity to honour our fallen soldiers and those still serving to protect our country. Secondly it’s a public holiday which is never a bad thing, and lastly it’s the perfect time of year to make ANZAC biscuits.

To me these biccies have to be soft and chewy, golden brown and super sweet, and that’s just how this recipe turns out.

To add a little bit of a twist, and to appease the chocolate fanatics out there half of this recipe was turned into chocolate chip ANZAC biccies 🙂

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Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time- 10 mins, Makes 20

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This weekend I have been fortunate enough to spend with my Husband and his Parents who live in a little village called Paluma which sits on the top of a mountain range. During the Second World War, Paluma was established as a major radar station, being used first by the American Army and then by the Royal Australian Air Force. Throughout the war years Paluma was used as a rehabilitation hospital site, and was also used for “jungle training” as conditions were similar to those in the South Pacific.  Timber was also cut in Paluma to aid the war effort (https://palumaeec.eq.edu.au/Aboutus/Pages/History-of-Paluma.aspx).

Paluma RAAF Base, in service from approx 1943-1946

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Historical Ivy Cottage – still in use today as a tea house at the top of the Paluma Range

Left: Cottage used by Medics, still in use today    

Right: Log cabin built  by the American Army around 1943 to escape the weather

Today, looking at the village only a few remnants of the war remain. Only a few igloo style radar stations, some concrete slabs, and a few of the homes still used to this day which were built back then for use as barracks. If you didn’t know any better, the peace and quiet of this beautiful place now, would trick you into thinking it was always like this.

This time each year should be a reminder to us all that we should be kind to each other and aim to keep our beautiful country as peaceful as possible. Lest we forget.

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ANZAC Biscuits

125g butter

1 cup plain flour

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup desiccated coconut

¾ cup raw sugar

1 tbs golden syrup

1 tps baking powder

2 tbs hot water

Optional -1/2 cup finely smashed chocolate chips

  1. Heat oven to 180°C and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. In a small microwave safe bowl melt the butter and golden syrup.
  3. In a cup, mix the baking powder with hot water, be sure to stir well to remove any lumps, and add to the butter mixture.
  4. In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour, coconut, baking powder sugar and oats. Once mixed, create a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter mixture. Combine well until mixture will clump together and not crumble.
  5. Roll mixture into small walnut sized balls and flatten slightly. If using real butter these should spread out when baked, if you are using a butter substitute like margarine, you will need to flatten them more as they will not melt in the oven.
  6. Bake biscuits until they are golden but still soft in the centre, about 10mins. Remove from the oven and let stand until cool.

Enjoy!

~A

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Triple Chocolate Chip Muffins

Who doesn’t like chocolate? If you find someone that doesn’t, well then there is something seriously wrong with them! These chocolate muffins are a serious indulgence. Chocolate base with two types of chocolate chips (thee if you don’t have a fussy husband who won’t let you use milk chocolate) brings all the yummy to these muffins.

Prep time – 10 mins, Cooking time – 20 mins, Makes 15

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I remember a recipe similar to this that my mum used to make all the time when I was a kid. They were the best muffins ever, alas that recipe has been lost but I’d say this one comes in at a very close second. Rich but not too rich, good in the centre and crunchy on top, you definitely won’t be disappointed with these guys.

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Triple Chocolate Chip Muffins

2 ½ cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted

3/4 cup dark chocolate bits

3/4 cup milk choc bits

3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 egg – lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla essence

Icing

1/3 cup dark chocolate bits

1/3 cup milk chocolate bits

1/3 cup icing sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 tbs butter

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. In a large bowl sift the flour and cocoa powder. Mix in the chocolate bits and sugar and create a well in the centre of the bowl.
  2. In a small bowl mix the egg, milk, oil and vanilla and whisk lightly with a fork.
  3. Pour milk mix into flour mix and stir together with a wooden spoon until combined. If the mix is a little dry add a dash more milk.
  4. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin tins and bake for 20 mins.
  5. When cooked remove from muffin tins and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. To create the icing, place chocolate, butter and milk in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high in the microwave for 20 seconds. Stir well until all the ingredients have melted and make a smooth mixture. Add the icing sugar and using a whisk, stir the mixture until smooth.
  7. Let mixture chill in the fridge to thicken for about 10 mins. When muffins have reached room temperature they can be iced.
  8. Enjoy!

~A

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Chocolate Tart

I recently spent the Easter weekend with my Mum in Cairns. I don’t get to see her as often as I would like, so this year I promised myself and her that I would make an effort to spend more time with her despite the 400 km distance between us.

So like the old days when I still lived at home, when we come together there is usually a lot of food related activities to be had! When I was little we would always be making something in the kitchen, usually baking on the weekends when we had time away from school and work.

Almost like making up for lost time, this weekend we baked up a storm, making two of these delicious chocolate tarts (one for Mum’s great neighbours and one for us) and one very yummy New York Baked Cheesecake, soon to be shared on The Strange Couple.

This tart is super easy and anyone should be able to make it. We did use a food processor but if you’re feeling strong enough you could mix the pastry dough by hand too. The chocolate filling is divine and ridiculously simple to make. You might consider this as the perfect dessert next time you’re entertaining guests (or just want something chocolaty for yourself!).

Prep time – 30 mins, Cooking time – 30 mins + 30 mins setting time, Serves 8-10

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Chocolate Tart

Base

1 ½ cups plain flour

¼ cup cocoa powder

¼ cup icing mixture

180g cold butter – chopped

Filling

½ cup cream

30g butter – chopped

200g dark cooking chocolate – chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, and prepare a tart tin about 34 x 11.5cm with a little butter and flour.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder and icing mixture, place into a food processor with the cold chopped butter. Use the pulse setting to process the mixture until it resembles crumbs. Add about 3 table spoons of iced water and process again in pulses until the mixture comes together to form clumps. Ensure mixture is moist by pinching a bit of the mixture, if it looks too dry add a touch more iced water.
  3. When clumping, remove the dough from the processor onto a flat surface and roll out with a rolling pin to about 5mm thickness and make sure it will be long and wide enough to fit your tin. This recipe should yield more than enough dough to cover the dimensions of the tin.
  4. Lay the pastry into the prepared tin and lay some baking paper on top of the pastry and fill with dried rice or beans and bake for 15 mins, remove the rice or beans from the pastry and bake for a further 15 mins or until the pastry is dry and cooked through. Allow to cool.
  5. For the filling heat the cream, butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over a low heat until the chocolate begins to meld. Remove from the heat and stand, stirring often until melted and smooth.
  6. When pastry base is cool, pour in the chocolate mixture and smooth out.
  7. Place tart in the fridge until the chocolate has set.
  8. Serve with fresh cream and berries and enjoy!

~A

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The Ultimate Hedgehog Slice

Back in the day I had been known, when feeling slack, to delve into the realm of packet mixes. I know, slap me on the wrist.

One day, my husband Paul decided that he wanted me to make hedgehog slice. So off we went to the shops ready to get all the ingredients, but as we were cruising down the baking isle he spotted a packet mix for the slice. He told me I should save myself the trouble and just use  a packet mix. I tried to talk him out of it but no, he wanted the packet mix because the picture on front looked soooooo amazing. So I gave in.

You know those Pinterest fails that are going around the internet? Yes? Well it basically turned out like that! My guess is at the time we got it, it must have been out of date because what it turned out as was anything but the delicious hedgehog slice shown on the packet! It resembled tar. No joke, and it didn’t taste much better either!

So from that day forward I vowed never again to use a packet mix. My solution to the lazy man’s Hedgehog slice follows! Fair warning though, this baby is so rich and delicious you may only be able to handle a little at a time!

Serves 15, Prep time 20 mins, Total time for cooling approx.  6 hrs/overnight

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Ultimate Hedgehog Slice

400g dark melting chocolate

150g butter

1cup icing sugar

1 ½ packets Arnott’s Scotch Finger biscuits

150 g packet hazelnuts – chopped

1 egg – beaten

1tsp vanilla extract

Icing

1 cup icing sugar

½ cup cocoa powder

2tbs milk/water

Chocolate flakes (optional extra)

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  1. Melt chocolate, butter and sugar in a glass bowl, you can use the microwave for this just be sure to stop every 30 seconds to stir.
  2. Once completely melted and mixed together add the egg and vanilla extract. Be sure to combine well, then heat once more in the microwave for 30 seconds to ensure the egg stays warm enough to cook through. Your mixture should turn a glossy chocolate colour and be smooth.
  3. In a separate bowl crush the biscuits and mix in the chopped hazelnuts.
  4. Add the biscuit mix to the chocolate and combine until all the biscuits are covered in chocolate.
  5. Spoon mixture into a lined 20 x 30cm slice tin pressing down to ensure the mixture is packed in.
  6. For the icing, simply mix all ingredients together to form a thick paste. When fully combined drizzle the icing over the slice evenly to smooth out the surface. You can also tap the tin lightly on your counter top to reduce any air bubbles or gaps that might not have been filled at first. Feel free at this point to top with chocolate flakes.
  7. Chill in the fridge over night or for at least 6 hours. When fully hardened remove from the time dust with icing sugar and slice with a sharp hot knife (run under hot water – I managed to cut 15 slices about 2-3 inches square, this is very rich so if you think you you can handle more, feel free to cut larger slices!).
  8. Enjoy!

~A

Chocolate Mug Cake

So it’s Friday night and you’re tired after work, but you really feel like something chocolaty. Welcome to my world. Chocolate mug cake to the rescue! No no no, its not a typo, it really is a Mug cake, a super easy one at that. Moist (love that word) and gooey at the bottom, these are great even for guests! Follow the simple steps below and you’ll beat the chocolate craving in no time!

Prep time 15 min, Cooking time 1 min, Makes 1 cup

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Chocolate Mug Cake

40 g Chocolate (could be dark, could be milk doesn’t matter, just get it in there)

40g butter

4tsp dark brown sugar

4tsp self raising flour

2tsp cocoa powder

6 tsp milk

1 large egg (beaten)

  1. Place the butter and chocolate into your chosen mug and heat in the microwave until just melted and mix well.
  2. Add the milk and sugar to the mixture and mix well, ensuring no lumps are formed. (Warming the milk slightly may aid in this process)
  3. Add the flour, cocoa powder and egg mixing well between each ingredient.
  4. To cook place in the microwave on high for 45 seconds to 1 minute. Do check on your cake from 45 seconds as individual microwaves may vary in power. Do not overcook. Cake should be gooey in the centre.
  5. Enjoy!

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Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Today I woke up and decided to bake. It’s been a while, I have to be honest, but since starting this blog my creativity and want to bake has been sparked. I thought what better way to kick off then with some classic chocolate chip cookies.  These cookies are super easy, nice and chewy, and the best part is they are full of chocolate!

Prep – 20 mins, Baking – 12 mins, Makes – 18-20

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Classic Choc Chip Cookies

1 ¾ cups plain flour

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp salt

70g unsalted butter, melted

¾ cup dark brown sugar, packed

½ cup caster sugar

1 whole egg

1 egg yolk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cup chocolate chips – I used half milk chocolate, half dark chocolate.

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  1. In a large bowl add sift the plain flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt together and set aside.
  2. Melt the butter in another bowl, then mix both sugars in with an electric beater (or if you’re feeling strong stir it enthusiastically by hand). You will know when to stop when the mixture is combined and smooth and shiny.
  3. Into the sugar mixture add the egg, then the egg yolk, and finally the vanilla, beating in between until combined.
  4. Pour the flour slowly into the mixture and combine. Once smooth add the choc chips.
  5. Set cookie dough in the refrigerator to cool for about 10 minutes (cooling the dough helps the cookies keep their shape when baking)
  6. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  7. Line two baking trays with baking paper. Once the dough is cool, scoop into balls (about 1 heaped tablespoon worth) and place onto the lined trays. Bake for 10-12 minutes (depending on your oven this may be more or less time). Remove the cookies when the edges are just starting become golden and the centre looks just slightly undercooked, as this will keep the centre chewy.
  8. Once removed from the oven place the cookies (while still on the baking paper) onto a cool surface and allow to sit for 5 minutes. During this time they will still cook slightly. Once cooled enough to touch transfer the cookies to a cooling rack.

If there is any remaining dough remember to keep it in the fridge between batches of cookies.

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Enjoy!

~A