I have always loved me a good ANZAC biscuit. What's not to love? The chewy texture, the delightful combination of flour, coconut, oats, sugar and butter. They are the type of biscuit that seem to make the world better when you eat them, a warm glow radiating out from your tummy.
But - flour and sugar. Not the healthiest of foods, especially if you have gluten sensitivity, or blood sugar problems. Or even if you are wanting to safe-guard your health for the future - and I commend you - traditional ANZAC biscuits won't stand you in good stead.
So here I have re-done ANZAC biscuits so that they will edify you and strengthen your health. While preserving that chewy ANZAC deliciousness, and the resulting 'warm tummy glow'.
I am more than pleased with this reinvention.
I read recently about Sarah Britton's Chickpea Tortilla Nachos (salivating all-the-while). Apparently the idea to use Chickpea flour came as an epiphany, and gave just the result she was searching for. So when I was pondering how to reinvent the faithful ANZAC biscuit yet retain fullness of flavour and distinctive texture, it struck me - CHICKPEA flour!
What I love about chickpea flour is that it is lower in carbohydrates than wheat flour, contains no gluten but loads of protein, vitamins and minerals. It lends a rich, nutty, caramel-like flavour when used in baked goods. It was the perfect base for my 'healthified' biscuits.
Now, refined sugar is the other ingredient not on my favourites list. It does the body no favours, and only serves to spike insulin levels and cause a whole host of other problems when eaten regularly over a long period of time. Not what you want for yourself or your family, right? So to sweeten these scrumptious biscuits I have used my favourite unrefined sugar - coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is full of nutrients, has a beautiful flavour and less is required than refined sugar for pleasing results. Coconut sugar also lends a caramel-like flavour and colour in baked goods, so the pairing with chickpea flour seemed serendipitous. A touch of blackstrap molasses only increases the nutrient profile of the biscuit, and adds to the rich malty caramel flavour.
Chickpea flour has many names, you will probably find it in specialty food stores, organic food shops or online referred to as chickpea OR besan flour, although it goes by other names too. You may even find it in the supermarket. If you can't - you can probably substitute it for a rice flour, buckwheat flour, or even all-purpose flour, although the result won't be as good.
The two tricks to getting the perfect mixture of crispy and chewy with these beauties is: to push them down really thin before baking, and then to allow them to cool completely on the trays. This is when they will 'firm up'.
Heartfelt Anzac Biscuits
Makes 24 / Gluten free, Refined Sugar free
3/4C chickpea flour* (also called besan flour)
1C organic rolled oats
3T tapioca flour
Pinch maldon sea salt
1C dessicated coconut
3/4C slivered almonds
1/2C coconut sugar
1/2t ground cinnamon
1/2t baking soda
1T blackstrap molasses (or honey)
*Substitute for rice flour, buckwheat flour, or all-purpose flour if required.
1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees fan-bake and line two cookie trays with baking paper.
2. Into a large mixing bowl, sift the flours, then add the rolled oats, salt, coconut, almonds, coconut sugar, and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
3. In a pot over a medium-low heat, melt the butter with the blackstrap molasses (or honey). Remove from the heat and add the water and baking soda, stirring to combine. Pour the wet mixture into the dry, add the vanilla, and mix with a wooden spoon and a firm hand until well combined.
4. Using a tablespoon (or damp hands) create balls of mixture, placing them evenly on the trays. There will be 12 per tray. With slightly damp hands, flatten and reshape - the goal is to get nice, flat biscuits. They should be about 1cm thick.
5. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes. When the biscuits are golden in colour and smell divine, remove from the oven.
6. Allow biscuits to cool completely on the trays; this is when their lovely chewy texture develops!
7. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
I hope you have a blessed time with family and friends, remembering the ANZACs who fought and died for our freedom.
With love from my kitchen to yours,