Well, this is unprecedented in recent history … I am posting a recipe before I’m good and ready to do so.
[EDIT: I was never going to be ready. The photos and macros have been included as of 25 April 2013. Quite appropriate really.]
But this is a special case. Tomorrow is ANZAC Day and we are commemorating the contribution made by our armed forces in defence of our nation and our allies throughout history since World War I. I am not going to rant on about the horrors of war, about conflicts past and present. I just want to recognise and pay my respects to those who have often carried a heavy burden and have sometimes paid an even heavier price in these conflicts. We have a number of traditions here in Australia to mark the day. There are dawn services all over the country, as well as at ANZAC Cove in Turkey, in France and Belgium, and elsewhere. Many gather to share a beer and see friends they may only see once per year, perhaps even to indulge in a little gambling with a game of two-up, for old time’s sake. Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of soldiers old and young, join in the parade to march in place of family members who have paid the ultimate price in the call of duty.
LEST WE FORGET.
It’s a day of respect and solemn reflection on war, peace, and the state of humanity. But we also have cookies. Because hey, we’re Australian and we have to create a treat along with all the beer and gambling 🙂
Anyone not familiar with the tradition may still have heard of the famous ANZAC biscuit (or cookie). It is a cookie that is chock full of oats and coconut and lots of butter and brown sugary awesomeness. Sure, many have adapted the recipe over time to include chocolate chips, dried fruits and nuts, pretty much anything you can throw at a cookie.
I’m taking a different route … because let’s face it, our armed forces are full of guys and gals who are super fit and have mad survival skills. The carbohydrates and fats won’t hurt them but hey, an ANZAC treat that has been boosted with some quality protein has to be a move in the right direction. Keeping them all fighting fit … and let’s hope for a world where they are not required to fight. Right? Right.
So here they are … you can make these into cookies if you like. I could not be bothered forming them into balls and flattening etc. So I baked them in a slab and cut them into bars.
Now, the first time I made them, I used macadamia nut oil. Partly because it tastes amazing, partly because it’s full of healthy mono-unsaturated fats, and partly because it’s a very Australian thing to do. They did taste amazing! But they don’t hold together very well as cookies or bars. But I have an astounding tub of ANZAC crumble to swirl through my Greek yoghurt or on top of some poached fruit. There is only WINNING here.
So, I made them again, but I used cacao butter instead. Why? Well, I think it adds a beautiful flavour and all that stearic acid gets converted into mono-unsaturated fats in the body and hey, it is cacao butter. You can easily substitute dairy butter if you wish.
I have also used less sugar, but you don’t have to. These bars are not about being low-fat or low-carb. They are ANZAC biscuits and should stay true to the spirit of the ANZAC tradition. But adding in some protein is a plus.
Of course, you can go ahead and make these as traditional ANZAC bars or biscuits. Simply substitute plain flour for the rice protein and brown sugar for the coconut sugar and Natvia. Substitute golden syrup for the maple syrup. Use unsalted butter and increase the quantity of butter to 150 grams.
These bars are dairy (lactose) and tree nut free and can be gluten-free if you use gluten-free oats. They are also low FODMAP if that is a concern for you.
Let’s hop to it. You will find the macro details below the recipe, as usual.
ANZAC Protein Bars and Cookies
140 grams rolled oats (gluten-free if you prefer)
140 grams rice protein powder
50 grams coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
50 grams Natvia (or preferred sweetener or more sugar)*
70 grams unsweetened shredded coconut
15 grams cacao nibs (optional)
125 grams cacao butter (or unsalted butter)
30 millilitres 100% pure maple syrup
5 grams (1 teaspoon) bicarbonate of soda
30 millilitres boiling water
*You can use all sugar or all sweetener, as you wish. I like to add the coconut sugar for that toffee richness it imparts to give the bars a more authentic flavour.
Preheat the oven to 180℃.
For bars, line a 29cm x 19cm bar pan with silicon baking paper, allowing some overhang on the sides. For cookies, line a baking sheet with silicon paper and set aside.
Place the oats, rice protein, sugar, sweetener, coconut, and cacao nibs into a large mixing bowl and mix well together. Make a well in the centre and set aside.
In a saucepan, place the cacao butter and maple syrup. Place over a low heat to melt the butter.
Add the boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda, mix to dissolve the soda, and add this to the melted cacao butter mixture.
Pour the cacao butter into the dry mixture and mix well with a mixer or a spatula until the mixture is well combined.
Press the mixture into the bar pan and use a spoon or offset spatula to press it flat and evenly across the pan.
If making cookies, divide the mixture into 24 balls and place on the baking sheet and flatten slightly (but not much).
Bake the bar pan for about 20 minutes until golden. The cookies will only take about half the time to bake.
Remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool in the pan before removing and cutting into 18 bars.
Cool completely before storing in an airtight container at room temperature. They should keep for up to a week.
The macros provided here are based on the recipe as stated above. Remember to factor in any substitutions or additional ingredients, if you add them.
These macros include the optional cacao nibs, because of course I added them!