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A Strayin’ from Tradition – Messing with the Anzac Biscuit

It’s un-Australian to not have a day off work to commemorate Anzac Day.

There, I said it.

There were much blood, sweat and tears shed leading up to the eventual celebration of this public holiday so that we- I mean they! They, the Anzacs, and subsequently other war veterans, can kick back, have a stubby with their mates and play two-up on a day off work. Sure, there was a public holiday declared on the Saturday but what use is that if there isn’t a compensatory day given the following Monday. This doesn’t even warrant a question mark as we all know what the answer is.

In reflection of the un-Australian act only adopted by a few states, I’m going to be doing what, at the heart for me, is a very un-Australian thing to do – mess with the Anzac biscuit.

Initially, I went with the idea of making them by hand and including some wacky ingredients. Then, a simpler idea presented itself.

But first, the ingredients.

This moment of inspiration began when shopping for Anzac biscuits. There were two varieties available at the time – the off-the-shelf variety made by Unibic pictured above and a supermarket variety that was supposedly produced from their in-house bakery.

Just look at the packaging! How more Australian could you get than that? It would draw a salute and a proud tear from the eye of a patriot.

Unibic on the left. Supermarket bakery on the right.

It also drew a tear from my eye but only because these were terrible Anzac biscuits, at least in my opinion. There is no saluting this biscuit, as everything I would expect from an Anzac biscuit wasn’t there – crunchy without the moist chewiness, no visible sign of oats, the taste and texture felt all wrong and so forth.

The picture as a visual metaphor says it all. When stacked up along side the supermarket bakery one (right), it falls short and does not surpass it.

Not to say that the other ones were fantastic either. It was ok, and served its purpose considering I wasn’t in the mood to bake. This was the one I selected.

Now, the next step in the process involves a cookie cutter ring. The cookie cutter serves a dual purpose here – firstly to cut things to a uniform shape and, later on, as a mould to hold things together.

Is it just me or is there some irony in using a cookie cutter after the cookie has been baked.

Anyhow, as illustrated you use the cookie cutter to cut into the Anzac biscuit. Now, if you’re going to try this one out yourself, you may want to select a softer, chewier Anzac over a crunchy one. Otherwise, this will be a lot of hard work.

Once you punch out the cookie. It should look somewhat like this. You will need two of these per serve.

The next ingredient is the ice cream. I presume the more astute of you know where I’m heading with this but lets talk about the ice cream first.

The Digger is an Anzac biscuit inspired ice cream from Homer Hudson. Though I wouldn’t say that it tasted like an Anzac biscuit, you can tell where they were heading with this flavourwise. It’s a great ice cream and probably my favourite from the Homer Hudson range.

Now, with one of the Anzac biscuits positioned at the bottom of the cookie cutter, place a scoop of ice cream into the mould. Press down the ice cream in the mould with a spoon a little just so it gets to the edges at the bottom.

Grab the other Anzac biscuit round and place that into the top of the mould and press down gently until the ice cream is nicely sandwiched between the two. You should feel some resistance when you get to this stage.

Unmoulding the Anzac biscuit ice cream sandwich may be a little tricky. However, I found the simplest way was to get a cookie cutter ring that is slightly smaller than the one that was used for the mould. Place the moulded ice cream sandwich over the smaller ring and press down, sliding the mould ring away from the ice cream sandwich while it sits on top of the smaller cookie cutter ring. From there, use a spatula or just grab the base of the sandwich and then either put back into the freezer if you’re making a number of these or plate for immediate service.

There you have it. The Anzac Biscuit Ice Cream Sandwich. The pairing of Anzac biscuits with Anzac biscuit ice cream. My way of messing with tradition.

Is it un-Australian? If it is, how more Australian can you get whilst stepping across the un-Australian line?

Does it work? The pairing of biscuit with ice cream, a classic combination. The harmony of Anzac biscuit flavours with Anzac biscuit inspired flavours. How could this possibly fail?

However, fail it did.

One thing you need to realise about anything involving gooey, sugary substances is that they often have the tendency of setting up like a rock when brought into contact with the cold. I’d unwisely popped the whole thing in my mouth and ended up eating ice cream sandwiched between two slabs of marble.

For the record, I did manage to finish it but I’d dislocated my jaw in the process. It would have been pretty nice if it wasn’t rock hard.

If you are serious about making this and if I had my time again, I would have broken up the biscuits and then repacked them in the cookie cutter moulds like a biscuit base for a cheesecake. So long as they’re not compacted too much, they should have enough give to save you from having to realign your jaw.

After the disappointing failure of the Anzac biscuit ice cream sandwich, I needed a pick-me-up. The cut-off scraps of Anzac biscuit were chopped up and sprinkled over scoops of Homer Hudson Digger ice cream.

After all that effort, this was by far the best pairing of these two ingredients. No cookie cutters. No fancy presentations. Some may even say it’s simple and honest.

If you feel inclined to bake your own Anzac cookies, you can find recipes at A Table for Two, fig & cherry as well as pikelet & pie. If you thought my Anzac Biscuit Ice Cream Sandwich was a travesty, check out this monstrosity. And here I thought my idea was unique…

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • purple goddess April 28, 2009, 11:44 pm

    Ah! What you need to do is bake the biscuits yourself, so they’re soft and gooey.

    An ANZAC cookie should never be hard!

    Emmaline’s range of cookies are pretty ok consistency-wise for pre-fab biscuits. I might have to attempt this with them…

  • billy@ATFT April 29, 2009, 12:47 am

    that’s actually a fantastic idea and it does look good! How can it fail?!?! If you make the ice cream layer much thicker (as I know I would), then it should be a brilliant sandwich!

  • Simon Food Favourites April 29, 2009, 3:12 am

    cool idea. how about coating the inside of the anzac biscuits with melted cadbury chocolate? this would create a protective layer between the ice cream and biscuit and add to the taste perhaps? i think what you’ve done is a success anyway!

  • Christie @ Fig & Cherry April 29, 2009, 10:48 am

    Yummy! Sad that your biscuits turned out too hard! I’ve made sandwiches like yours before too, but with peanut butter and chocolate: http://www.figandcherry.com/recipes/chocolate-and-anzac-icecream-sandwiches/

    delicious!

  • Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella April 30, 2009, 4:08 am

    The idea was good bu hmmm yes Anzac biscuits are really rock hard so biting into two frozen ones might have ruin some dental work.

  • FFichiban May 1, 2009, 2:17 pm

    Boooo pity the sandwich was fail cos it looks sooo good and the idea is genius! Mmmm I woudl settle for the sprinkling on top though mmmmm

  • Yas May 4, 2009, 1:56 pm

    I second FFIchiban – I’d be waiting for a scoop (or two ;p) with ANZac biscuit flakes with my bowl.

  • Simon May 5, 2009, 5:25 am

    Hi purple goddess!I’ll have to give that a go sometime and see. The biscuits I used weren’t hard at all on their own, which is why I thought it’d work.

    Hi billy!I would have thought the same and yet their failed. I’ll have to give my post-failure idea a go to see whether that’ll deal with the issue.

    Nice call on the thicker layer but my “mould” would only go so high.

    Hi Simon!Thanks :)

    Chocolate would be a nice idea from a flavour perspective but I don’t know how it’d do with an already hard situation.

    Hi Christie!Your sandwich looks like it would have been a treat. Were the biscuits hard with yours?

    Hi Lorraine!These biscuits weren’t hard at all so was surprised they would setup as hard as they did.

    Yeah, it’s amazing how well informed people can be with hindsight.

    Anyhow, live and learn :)

    Hi FFichiban!The sprinkles were real nice and so little effort compared to the sandwich. Though, I haven’t given up on the idea entirely. Still think it could work with a few small changes.

    Hi Yas!It was very nice, especially with the Digger ice cream. Mixing it in make it like the original ice cream but super chunky :)

  • Forager May 7, 2009, 7:07 am

    Lol! Had visions of trying to eat that icecream sandwich. A shame – sounded like a brilliant stroke of genius.

  • Simon May 7, 2009, 12:29 pm

    Hi Forager!

    Though it was a bit of a challenge at the time, I’m sure that it would have looked funny :)

    Thanks. I still think it can work but needs some adjustments :)

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