Thursday, 10 May 2007

take four

I was surprised to see that Janet's recipe for Anzacs was identical to my first one. Seems we both must buy the same brand of coconut.

I like this version, though I think I'm still sold on #3 so far. The extra syrup in this makes them a bit more like #2 - the sticky, chewy, greasy thing is just coming into play. I'm sure the extra coconut carries some of the blame there too. I can really notice the textural difference the extra coconut makes and the lesser quantity of flour - they have definitely lost that cakey feel I got with #3 and are altogether harder.

Suse's comments on the last post has really got me reading and thinking about what it means to become the expert on Anzacs. What started as a folly is becoming a serious project for me. I have drawn up my comparison chart and I am devoting a reasonable degree of brain space to it.

And in part it is because I like being thorough and having a reason to indulge my scary sciencey uptight self, but it is also because it has become an opportunity to learn some answers to bigger questions.

I've never learned much about the science of baking - and don't be mistaken there is considerable science in baking. The reactions of the ingredients to each other, oven temperatures, combining methods and baking times are all elements that change the outcome in cooking. By using all these different recipes which have only slight variances I am getting a feel for what happens when you change the variables one at a time.

If I could be bothered and had the time I'd like to learn more about it and there was a time when I seriously considered becoming a baker in a domain larger than my kitchen. So the thing about this humble little project is I am beginning to learn enough to be able to extrapolate some of what I am learning. And, for me at least, there is no learning like doing.

With only four of my (so far) eight recipes tested, I am getting excited about learning more. I've even decided I'd like to go back and try #1 again since I think I buggered them up be using a fan forced oven setting. I'm also going to try both Suse's coconut free and chocolate versions. Hell I might even be tempted to try the original Anzac recipe - even though it looks completely unappetising.

And what began as perhaps the most attractive aspect of this whole project - the eating - is rapidly becoming more of a chore than doing the washing up afterwards. So I think I might start halving recipes, or I might just become an expert in something I can no longer bear to look at...

Oh and a note on the recipe archives - each photo contains the full recipe. If you click on the full size photo you should be able to read each one. If not please let me know!


shula said...

Never let it be said that she does things by halves.

manda said...

soozs i seriously get exhausted reading your blog. i don't know how you do it..amazing u are...
I just made anzacs the other day...we also call them nutty biscuits ?! no nuts in them so i have no idea mum named them i think. anyway,, i burnt one batch of them.. damn it. .. and my partner said he would eat those ones.. he now has his own little bag of burnt anzacs. u think he might have self esteem issues?? he hee,,...theres no way i would even consider volunteering to eat the burnt batch of biscuits!

Janet said...

Hmm, hadn't considered the coconut for grease factor, but it makes sense. Still we are into coconut round here...

One of the things I miss about almost daily baking (in the cafe) was that you worked your recipe bit by bit until you knew every single variable. And workshopped the biscuits and cakes, sometimes quite passionately.