Saturday, 21 April 2012

Cacao Anzacs!

April 25 is of course Anzac Day which commemorates the first landing of the Anzacs during WW1 at Gallipoli in 1915. For most Australians and New Zealanders, it is an important National day where we remember the sacrifice of those who died in the war. 

The traditional Anzac biscuit recipe is said to have been developed during WW1 and of course stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps. The story goes that during the war, Anzac biscuits were baked by the wives of soldiers and posted to their loved ones abroad. Due to the fact that the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation, they were a sought after package of much needed energy for the soldiers and not to mention a taste of home. 

Anzac biscuits, much loved by Australians and New Zealanders, are a big favourite in our household. My girls love them in their lunchbox and they are often my snack of choice. They are also so quick and easy to make, especially in the Thermomix :) I have a favourite 'traditional' recipe which I haven't made for quite a while, but this is because traditional recipes rarely remain traditional once I add them to my repertoire! . . .I just can't help myself :) 
My most recent take on the Anzac biscuit is the wholesome version below featuring freshly ground raw cacao beans. . . yummo!

I just love a crunchy Anzac with a chewy centre, and my latest version definitely meets my expectations, and best of all is powered by chocolate! These Cacao Anzacs also happen to be vegan, wheat-free and higher in fibre than conventional ones. I have used coconut oil in place of butter and added some extra nutrition by using freshly ground oat and brown rice flour instead of white flour and also adding flaxseeds to the mix. I have also used sucanat sugar (which is easy to find in Hong Kong) in place of conventional brown sugar. For more about sucanat, see the Nutrition tid bits below. 

Cacao Anzacs

60g organic raw cacao beans 
2 tbsp flaxseeds
40g brown basmati rice
90g whole rolled oats (or steel cut oats)
110g organic virgin coconut oil
60g golden syrup
1-2 tbsp water
1 tsp bicarb soda
60g desiccated coconut
90g whole rolled oats, extra
150g sucanat (rapadura) sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Place the raw cacao beans, flaxseeds, 90g oats and basmati rice in the TM bowl and grind for 1 minute on speed 9. Decant into a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place coconut oil, golden syrup and water in the TM bowl. Mix at 60°C for 1-2 minutes on speed 2 or until fully melted and combined. Use less water for thicker, chunky biscuit and more for a thinner, chewier one :)
  4. Add bicarb soda and mix for 5 seconds on speed 3 until dissolved.
  5. Return the ground cacao beans, flax, oats and rice to the TM bowl along with the remaining dry ingredients, including the extra whole oats, and mix on reverse, speed 4 for 10-15 seconds until the mixture is just combined and comes together.
  6. Drop tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared trays and flatten slightly with the back of a spoon, leaving enough room for spreading. Bake for approx 10 minutes or until they just darken evenly. First you'll see the edges brown and they'll just be a minute or so more. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on a tray, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

No Thermomix?
Use my list of ingredients and make these using the traditional method for making Anzacs. Grind the cacao beans and flaxseeds in a coffee grinder, use any combination of flour instead of grinding your own to 130g (you could even use plain wheat flour if you prefer) and combine with the other dry ingredients. 

Nutrition tid bits
Sucanat or rapadura sugar as it is also known, is essentially dried cane juice. It still retains the vitamin and mineral rich molasses which is removed during the refining process to make white sugar. Brown sugar is commonly refined white sugar with added back molasses. 

Raw cacao beans, hailed as a superfood, are of course best eaten in their raw state in order to reap their potential health benefits. They are nutritionally a better choice than conventional cocoa or roasted cocoa beans because many of their active ingredients are preserved and not destroyed during heat processing. I utilise them raw in my Raw Cacao treat ballsRaw cacao beans are a rich source of a range of anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins. 

Variation ideas
There are so many! 

For White Chocolate Cranberry Anzacs:  use 1/2 cup dried cranberries in place of the cacao beans, add 1 tsp cinnamon & drizzle with 100g melted white chocolate.

For Orange & Almond Anzacs: add 1 tbsp orange zest and 70g of flaked almonds in place of the cacao beans.

You can use raw cacao powder in place of the cacao beans and butter in place of the coconut oil if you don't have these in your pantry :)

The basic recipe for Anzacs is so versatile! I have made Anzac slice, Anzac muffins (recipes not as yet converted for the Thermomix) and have also been known to sprinkle crumbled homemade Anzac biscuits over stewed fruit as a quick fruit crumble. Try it sometime :)

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  1. Great adaption of a classic recipe and much healthier than the traditional

  2. Made these again. Out of flaxseeds so used wheatberries and this time reduced the sugar to 90gms - kids were none the wiser, still gobbled them up.

    1. Fantastic! You're right. I always cut the sugar back too :)