Special Guest Thursday: Macadamia Anzac Biscuits {threefootcooks}

As you can see, Special Guest Thursdays took a bit of a break. Well, it was really me who had a break from blogging as life with 3, plus ongoing vacation is what we’ve been busy around with here!
Today I am happy to introduce Maree from threefootcooks who shares a recipe of Anzac Biscuits  and also gives us a bit of sneak peaks into life over in Australia and the history of these cookies!
**************************
cooked anzac biscuits
Over here in Australia we are currently in the middle of the winter season. However, since my family and I live in the Northern part of Australia it doesn’t really get cold in winter.  We have had a couple of nights where the minimum temperatures were around 6 degrees Celsius, and most days the maximum temperature is in the low 20 degrees Celsius.  So we have the best of both worlds at the moment.  We can enjoy soups and stews for dinner at night but still play outside and enjoy the sunshine during the day.  Summer, however, is a different story.  Nights are hot and humid and you try and keep out of the sun during the day. Typical Australian weather – lots of extremes all over our country.
The biscuits that my daughters Bear and Bee have made for this guest post are typically Australian too.  Anzac Biscuits are associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War 1.  There is much debate over the true origins of the Anzac Biscuit recipe and what it was originally like.  However, if you were to ask someone from Australia or New Zealand what was in an Anzac Biscuit they would agree on rolled oats, sugar, golden syrup, flour, coconut, butter, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water.  The biscuits are crunchy and don’t contain eggs; so they stayed fresh longer while being sent to soldiers in care packages during World War 1.
This recipe for Anzac Biscuits has only 2 additions to the original list of ingredients.  We added a small amount of ground ginger and chopped macadamia nuts for extra flavour. Macadamia Nuts are a native Australian nut from the North East coast of Australia (the area I grew up in). Macadamia nuts were responsible for lots of sore fingers in my family (and others like ours) when I was growing up.  The macadamia nut has an extremely tough shell which needs to be cracked open with a large rock or hammer.  Thankfully, there are many versions of nut crackers readily available now that can be used to crack the macadamia nut open.
To make a more authentic version of Anzac Biscuits just leave out the ground ginger and macadamia nuts.
Macadamia Anzac Biscuits
Makes 50 approximately
Ingredients
2 cups (250g) plain flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 and ½ cups (135g) desiccated coconut
2 cups (180g) rolled oats
1 cup (200g) firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup (125g) macadamia nuts, chopped
200g butter, chopped
½ cup (175g) golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ cup (125ml) boiling water
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 180oC/160oC fan forced.
2. Line 3 large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
3. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, ginger, coconut, oats, sugar and nuts.
dry ingredients for anzac biscuits
4. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture.
5. Place the butter, golden syrup and water in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Don’t use a small saucepan even though it is only a small amount of ingredients.  Trust me; you will see why in step 7.
mixture for anzac biscuits
6. Cook, stirring occasionally, until butter has melted.
7. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in bicarbonate of soda.  The mixture will foam up as you stir it which is why it is important to use a slightly larger than needed saucepan.
foaming butter mix for anzac biscuits
8. Quickly pour the foamy butter mixture into the bowl containing the flour mixture and mix well until all ingredients are combined.
9. Roll 1 tablespoon of mixture into a ball and place on prepared tray.  Flatten slightly with your fingers.
anzac biscuits on tray
10. Repeat with remaining biscuit mixture.
11. Bake biscuits for 10-12 minutes or until golden and just firm to touch.
12. Remove trays from oven and allow biscuits to cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Please note.  I would recommend that only an adult completes steps 5, 6, 7 and 8 of the recipe.  The way the butter and syrup mixture foams up when the bi-carb soda is added is really cool to watch but it is also very hot. Once you have mixed all the ingredients together it should be cool enough for your child to help roll the mixture into balls.
I hope you enjoy making this little taste of Australia with your child.
 **********************************
maree mortimer bio photo“My name is Maree Mortimer and I am a stay at home mum with twin 4 year old girls.  My blog threefootcooks is about the cooking adventures I have with my girls.  I hope to inspire more parents to cook with their children on a regular basis. “
You can follow Maree through her FB page, Pinterest, Twitter and G+

Cooking Series: Homemade Pizza

For the next couple of weeks I am taking a step away from Creative Tuesdays and instead posting for Cooking series. In fact, since the next 2 posts are directly related to creativity and creative thinking, I decided just to go ahead and post them on Tuesdays anyway.
1
So, today I will share how we made homemade pizzas in my ESL class. We used my grandma’s recipe for the yeast dough which I prepared in advance since there wasn’t that much time to sit and wait around for the dough to rise!
Let me say something first: children ALL love getting their hands “dirty” with food items. They may not necessarily even eat what they make but making things, well, food of course, with their own hands is a world of experience to young children, as well as older ones. Though it is always easier to engage younger ones in food making process as they are still exploring and are curious about how things work. Making pizza is a very very simple activity you can offer you children which is full of sensory, smell, taste and visual experiences. Also, it helps with language development, creativity, fine motor skills development – you name it! And of course, then pride and satisfaction of making this small pizza and the happy faces and sparkly eyes – I would make pizzas in every class if I could just to see those faces!
How to set up this activity:
1. Work space should be cleared and clean and covered with a waterproof sheet. Some might want to use disposable sheets, I use a regular one which I can wash and reuse easily.
2. Prepare pizza toppings in advance if you are making pizzas with more than 2-3 children: you won’t have time to cut everything up and younger kids will get bored watching you cut stuff! Here are the toppings I prepared for my students: sausages, corn from a can, sliced and cooked mushrooms, chopped up tomatoes and green peppers, grated cheese, portions of tomato paste, some olive oil to brush the pizza base with.
3. MAKE SURE THE CHILDREN WASH THEIR HANDS THOROUGHLY. Yep, I am really really mentioning this!
4. Demonstration: first of all, go slow. Show children how to flatten the pieces of dough for pizza base. Give them time to experiment. Ask them if they want your assistance – most of them probably will. But if they are anything like my toddler and 5 year old, they might just say “no” no matter how hard it is for them or how weird their pizza base looks like! Help them brush the dough with oil and then with tomato paste.
2
5. Make sure each child has his/her own plate with toppings he/she likes. And I would also make sure the toppings don’t touch each other on the plate as most of the children really wanted.
6. Give them time to set their toppings.
7. Allow them to watch how pizza is being baked if you have a chance (e.g. through the glass window of your oven). Children kept asking me every 2 minutes if pizzas were ready.
8. Important – have fun!
How do you like your pizza?

Cooking with Kids: A Year Long Linky Party

I love cooking with my daughter. And I know a lot of moms and dads try involving their children into some cooking process. Cooking is a great hands-on activity. Allowing the child to participate in the cooking process even just a bit helps picky eaters and children with sensory issues to “warm up” to food. It is also a way to bond with your child.

I invite you to participate in the next one year in this linky party and link your posts here!

Here are few steps I would ask you to do:

1. Link your activity on cooking with your child. It can be anything from simply learning to cut food to making sophisticated master pieces!

2. “Like” the other linked posts – I will choose the most popular posts to feature once a month.

3. Visit other linked posts and leave comments letting the blogger know you are visiting from this linky party.

4. Share this linky part on your social network to help promoting our blogs (I will do the same!).

Here’s my most favorite cooking with kids post:

Gormeh Sabzi

Persian Herb Stew