As of this month, the book club I am in has been meeting for six years. That is six…. years. Short of being married and, well, being Ellie’s mother I don’t think I have ever committed to ANYTHING for six whole years!
We meet once a month and rotate hosting. The hostess provides food and drinks and we usually discuss the book for at least 10 minutes or so. Unless no one liked the book. Then we just proceed directly to wine.
This past month we read Wildflower Hill by Kimberly Freeman which takes place in Australia, specifically the island of Tasmania.
Wildflower Hill is about Emma- a Prima Ballerina in London who is forced to retire when she is injured. Emma returns home to Sydney, Australia where she discovers that her grandmother, Beattie, has left her the remains of a sheep farm in Tasmania. The story flips back and forth between Emma (in present time) and Beattie (in the years leading up to WWII). As we read about Beattie’s challenges, we also read how Emma finds a new life for herself.
Anyway, we all really liked this book. One thing we got into the habit of doing over the past six years is serving food, or at least one dish, that represents the book in some way. Of course, I turned to a group of cookiers in a Facebook group I belong to. I knew a couple of members live in Australia and they did not disappoint! They unanimously suggested this cookie and it made my kitchen smell so good that I want to make them every time I have company. (Note- if you’ll be selling your home the smell of these cookies freshly baked may get you an offer….)
I used a recipe from Martha Stewart, but I made one change (out of necessity). This recipe called for desiccated coconut. Well, I couldn’t even find unsweetened coconut and unfortunately I didn’t leave myself the time to shred and dehydrate my own coconut. So I just used the sweetened coconut I had in my pantry and made a minor adjustment to accommodate the extra sweetness.
Anzac Biscuit (adapted slightly from Martha Stewart)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups rolled oats (not the instant kind)
- 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup sweetened coconut dehydrated (spread the coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for about 5-10 minutes at 250- watch carefully at about 5 minutes- don’t let it brown. Here are the instructions I followed)
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup (I used Lyle’s Golden Syrup which my husband found at Wegmans in the Great Britain section of their international foods department)
- 3/4 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water
- In a large bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, and coconut.
- In a small sauce pan, combine the butter and the syrup and heat until melted.
- Add the water with the fully dissolved baking soda to the butter mixture and stir until combined. Work carefully because the butter will foam up when the baking soda mixture is added.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly.
- Scoop the mixture onto parchment lined baking sheets with a 1/4 cup cookie scoop about 2 inches apart. Make sure you pack the scoop so the dough sicks together. It will be very crumbly. Flatten the dough slightly.
- Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. The cookies will be golden and firm, but still soft and chewy inside. Your kitchen will smell like heaven.
- Let cool completely.
If you can find unsweetened desiccated coconut, I recommend that you follow Martha’s recipe. From what I read, it’s more difficult to find than sweetened coconut, so I thought I would share the changes I made to work with what I had.
If you’re in a book club, I recommend both the book, and the cookie!
Do you have any book/food pairings you can recommend?
I’ll be linking this recipe to Simply Sweet Saturdays at Simply Sweets by Honeybee.