The doors and windows are open on this warm pre-summer evening and the neighborhood children are outside playing in the dusky air. I love the sound of children’s laughter. There is no more purely happy expression. Occasionally punctuated by a yell or complaint as a sibling picks on someone, their joy is contagious.
It reminds me of long summer evenings playing with my friends until my mother called for us to come home. Skipping back in the dwindling light, hands clasped with my best friend our arms swinging broadly between us, until the last possible moment before we broke apart and headed into our front doors. Incredibly reluctant to part even though we knew we would play together all day tomorrow.
Today’s theme for Food Network’s #SummerSoiree is Packable Desserts. To me that means sweet treats that are easy to take on picnics, to potlucks and parties and that would easily fit in a kid’s lunchbox. Something that you don’t have to worry about keeping cold, that wouldn’t melt in the heat, and would stand up to being transported to the beach, park, or swimming pool.
This past week on the Secret Recipe Club’s reveal, I saw a recipe for Anzac Biscotti and I was intrigued. I wondered if I could take the flavors of one of my favorite cookies, convert them to gluten-free and successfully make biscotti, The Artist’s absolute favorite. Could I blend the two into one cookie that we both would fight over? Oh yeah, I could!
The original ANZAC biscuits were designed for the Australian-New Zealand military forces, full of healthy and delicious ingredients that don’t spoil easily and keep well during transportation. With oatmeal and coconut as the primary ingredients, these are a sweet treat that really satisfies without tasting “healthy”.
I first discovered Anzac cookies when I saw them in the Dean and Deluca shop in St. Helena, Napa Valley. One bite and I was hooked. They are pleasingly sugary but the oatmeal helps balance the sweetness and the protein keeps you from having a major sugar crash.
One of the “secret” ingredients in these cookies is Golden Syrup. An English creation, it is a natural cane sugar syrup, cooked until thick and deep golden brown. The stickiness helps hold everything together and also makes it a bit tough to handle, but a little water on your hands and you can make the dough any shape you want! It has a clean flavor, sweet with just a touch of caramel. If you can’t find it, you can use honey, corn syrup, or agave nectar.
These are really lovely cookies – crunchy with a slightly chewy center. I definitely recommend you double the recipe because one batch just isn’t enough!
As I listen to the children playing, I know they would love these cookies and may just take a plate out to them later – if I can wrench them out of The Artist’s hands, LOL!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
When working with sticky doughs, moistening your hands helps you form it as you want without most of it staying on your hands.
By adding a little almond meal (or hazelnut meal) as a portion of the total flour weight, you can boost the flavor and protein content as well as adding texture. The almonds meal and oatmeal make these a healthier choice for your little ones who cannot eat regular cookies.
Inspired by a recipe by Easily Good Eats
Yield: about 20 to 30 pieces, depending on thickness of the log(s) and slices
115 gr (3/4 cup) gluten-free all-purpose flour blend
24 gr (1/4 cup) gluten-free hazelnut meal/flour
90 gr (1 cup) gluten-free rolled oats/oatmeal
75 gr (1 cup) unsweetened, dried coconut
100 gr (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
100 gr (1/2 cup) brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1 tbsp golden syrup, honey, corn syrup, or agave nectar
2 large eggs
1 tsp grated orange zest, optional
Heat the oven to 325°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, hazelnut meal, oats, and coconut. Stir until evenly blended.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the sugars, salt, golden syrup, eggs, and orange zest (if using) together until pale yellow, about 2 minutes on medium speed. Add the flour mixture and mix just until blended and all the dry ingredients have been moistened. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover loosely with plastic wrap, set in the refrigerator and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. This gives the flours, starches, and oats a chance to more fully absorb the liquids. Note: This is a good idea for nearly all gluten-free baked goods and makes them easier to handle.
Using moist hands, divide the dough into two equal-size pieces* and place on either end of the lined baking sheet. Wet your hands again and form each piece into rounded rectangles about 1/2-inch thick. Place in the hot oven and bake until lightly browned around the edges, fairly firm when you gently press in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on.
Cool cookies for 5 to 10 minutes or until just barely cool enough to handle. Pick up one end of the parchment paper and carefully slide it with the cookie logs onto a cutting board. Gently holding each piece in place with a hot pad, use a serrated knife to cut the logs on the diagonal into 1/2-inch slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down back on the baking sheet.
Bake until the cookies are pale golden, 10 to 25 minutes longer. The crispiness is up to you – the longer you bake them on the second bake, the crunchier they become. For little children, softer will probably be more popular. I prefer my biscotti to be a little softer because I don’t soak them in espresso before eating, the way the Italians do.
Slide the parchment with the cookies onto a wire rack. Let cool completely before transferring to an airtight container, such as a cookie tin, to store. Wrap a couple of biscotti together in plastic wrap for each serving and tuck them in your kid’s lunchbox, the family picnic basket, or your husband’s luggage when he is heading out of town on business. He will have a sweet surprise when he gets to his destination!
*I formed the dough into a single rectangle and the cookies were a bit hard to handle. Some of them broke in half, so they would be perfect if you worked with two smaller rectangles.
Create a New Tradition Today!
This recipe is part of Food Network’s weekly Sensational Sides. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
The Lemon Bowl: 5 Ingredient No-Bake Fig Newton Bites
Dishing: Caramelized Pineapple with Mint
Weelicious: Raspberry Cheesecake Jars
Virtually Homemade: Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Salted Brownies
The Heritage Cook: Anzac Biscotti
Taste With The Eyes: Cherimoya Brulee
Devour: The 5 Best Picnic Sweets
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Chambord Raspberries
Red or Green: Healthy Ginger-Molasses Cookies
Cooking With Elise: Salted Caramel Brownies
Swing Eats: S’Mores Bars (Gluten-Free)
Domesticate Me: Summer Berry Parfaits with Vanilla Bean Ricotta and Toasted Almonds
Dishin & Dishes: Triple Berry Pretzel Salad Dessert in a Jar
Food For 7 Stages of Life: Oats and Peanut Laddoo (No Bake Energy Bites)
Bacon and Souffle: Mason Jar Overnight Oats
In Jennie’s Kitchen: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
FN Dish: Make-and-Take Picnic Desserts
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