Sunday, February 21, 2010

Australia Meets Peruvian Grains

When I was eleven, my teacher had each student pick out a country they wanted to write a term paper on. After we wrote the paper, we each had to set up a booth where we presented information on the country's history, culture, and so on. I chose Australia, a country that I had always found fascinating. (Below is my display, and the anzacs were glamorously served in the big container of Tupperware in front of the koala.)

In one of the books I rented from the library, there was a recipe for Anzacs, something I'd never heard of. But since I was a budding baker and my mom was a seasoned pro, we made the cookies and had them in my booth for people to try. Since I was eleven and didn't worry about sugar or fat, I had no idea what my mother exactly meant when she said "there's a lot of sugar and butter in here" when she looked at the recipe.

Fattening or not, they became my favorite cookie of all time. The name comes from the biscuits given to the soldiers of the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. They were nothing like these cookies, but Anzacs are now a traditional cookie in Australia and are essentially their equivalent of chocolate chip cookies. When I was sixteen, I visited Australia for the first time and got a bag of Anzacs from my best friend (who grew up and still lives there) for my birthday. Needless to say, I was thrilled.

The traditional cookie has oats and coconut, but oats are still a very debatable issue for celiacs. Since I am very sensitive to gluten, I decided not to risk pain for taste. As we all know, it's so not worth it. So I replaced the oats with quinoa flakes. They give the cookies a bit of an odd flavor, but my taste testers were more fanatic than usual over these, especially one who is from New Zealand.

For some reason my taste testers (a.k.a. my coworkers) thought that they tasted like shrimp puffs, so they now refer to these cookies as Shrimp Puffs, even though they don't think they taste like shrimp. Go figure.

Quinoa Anzacs
1 1/8 cup White Rice Flour
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1 tsp. Baking Soda
3/4 cup Quinoa Flakes
1 cup shredded Coconut
1 tbsp. Cinnamon
dashes of Cloves and Allspice
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) of Earth Balance, melted

Preheat oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine everything except the earth balance or margarine. Pour in the melted earth balance and stir until fully combined.

Roll into balls and place on greased cookie sheets, about two inches apart. Bake for about ten minutes or until they begin to brown. Move cookies to wire racks to cool. Enjoy.

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