Salted Caramel ANZAC Blondies (GF)

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn;

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning;

We will remember them.....

It is the 98th anniversary of the day the ANZACs landed in Gallipoli at the start of World War I. ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and is a national day of remembrance to honour those men and women who served and died in all wars and conflicts since this time. ANZAC Day is probably the most important and solemn day in our national identity and is gaining significance each year as the number of Veterans diminish. It is the day that we reflect on the qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice and is a day we put our sporting woes aside and have a beer with our Kiwi mates. 

There are Dawn Services held in every town, a public holiday is observed and sweet biscuits made in kitchens all over then country. Having a baby made attending a Dawn Service extremely difficult this year (even though there was a Dawn Service in London at Hyde Park Corner), so for the first time in probably 15 years, I didn't set my alarm for 3am on the 25th of April. But the custom that I was able to continue, was making ANZAC Biscuits. ANZAC Biscuits are thought to have been made by the wives back home and shipped to their men at the front. Due to the lack of eggs and high shelf life of all the ingredients, they do not spoil easily and would travel well for weeks on the ship. I have made them every year since I was a little girl, and can't wait to teach Baby M how to make them as she grows up too.

This year I thought I would put a little twist on the traditional biscuit though, but only in that I added to it, I would never figuratively or literally detract anything from the ANZAC Biscuit. I used the ANZAC Biscuit recipe that I have always used and made it into a slice. Which I then topped with a Salted Caramel Blondie (because well what's more Australian than a tanned blonde right?!).

ANZAC Biscuit base

1 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup coconut

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup plain flour (I used All Purpose GF Flour)

1 1/2t bicarb

2 T boiling water

4 Oz butter

1 T Golden Syrup

Note: I did one and a half times the recipe as I wanted the base to be thick and chunky!

Method:

1. Heat butter and golden syrup in a saucepan over low heat until completed melted.

2. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3. Boil water and put 2 tablespoons in a small cup.

4. When the butter has melted, quickly perform the next step. Add bicarb to the boiling water and stir. Add immediately to the hot butter and watch it foam up. It will froth up and triple in size, so be sure to use a deep enough saucepan!

5. Pour the frothy butter mix over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

6. Ordinarily you would then form into biscuits and bake for 20 minutes at 150C/300F, but, as I made a slice this time, you press the mixture into the base of rectangle tin. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until just browning on top ( I perhaps left mine a minute or two too long).

7. Leave to cool slightly as you prepare the next step.

I found this simple Blondie recipe on The Luna Cafe via Pinterest and was attracted to the short list of ingredients and basic method. I knew I didn't need anything too complicated or rich due to the flavours of the ANZAC base. I only used half of this recipe, but will keep it as is for the recipe.

Salted Caramel Blondie

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 t vanilla

2 cups Plain flour (I used All Purpose GF Flour)

2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt (plus extra on top)

Method:

1. Melt butter in the microwave (not on the stove as we don't want it to be too hot). Pour into a large mixing bowl and add the sugar.

2. Cool the mixture until just warm and then stir in the eggs and vanilla.

3. Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and combine well.

4. Spread batter evenly over the top of the partially cooked ANZAC base and sprinkle with extra salt. It started practically glistening under the warmth of the base, melting the butter.... I had a sneaking suspicion that good things were to come!

5. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until just browning on top and starting to crack ever so slightly. It should still be a little wobbly to touch. 

Cut into squares when the slice is cool enough, but don't mess around with teeny tiny pieces. You want nice big hand-sized squares. If you've come this far, you may as well follow through. Now is not the time for weight management. 

It looks like a lot of effort, making effectively two different slices, but I'll tell you, it is worth it! We ate a few slightly warm pieces last night as they were cooling and, oh my god, they are delicious! Who knew!!!! 

The top was crunchy and sweet, with a soft and buttery centre brought out by the comforting oats and golden syrup of the base. The two layers melded together into the perfect chewy and slightly messy blondie. 

I think it is the perfect addition to the already pretty perfect ANZAC Biscuit, because who doesn't love a little more butter and sugar in their day. This ANZAC Blondie takes me straight back to a place that is warm and homely. I missed not going to the Dawn Service this year, but sharing the butter coma with our Kiwi friends today will feel good on a different level!

.....Lest we forget

UPDATE: For 2014's Anzac recipe Anzac Biscuits with Caramel Ganache, click here.

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