Wednesday, July 07, 2010

June 26, 2010: Neo-Aussie biscuits

It's hard to believe that our American colleague's 11 months at my workplace have come to an end. But before he and his family departed, we were determined to give them a send-off to match the many memorable adventures they've had while here. To this end our boss hosted an Aussie barbecue at his home with cricket and quizzes, damper and honey joys. For my part, I tracked down a copy of the Australian board game Squatter to send home with them and baked these biscuits with native spices.

These were very much an experiment, inspired by the flavours of wattleseed and lemon myrtle.  I wanted a soft, not-too-rich, not-too-sweet biscuit with the warm coffee-ish flavour of wattleseed, topped with a thin, crunchy lemon myrtle glaze.  Basing the biscuit recipe on Nigella's coffee walnut splodges and making the icing up as I went along, these didn't match my vision but were very pleasant nonetheless. The biscuits were very, very close to what I was after but could have done with more wattleseed.  The icing, however, was too thin and ended up soaking into the biscuits.  It never quite attained intensity of tartness that I sought to counteract the sugar.  I need to work more on infusing the liquid with that lemon myrtle.

Have any of y'all tinkered with Australia's native foods in your own kitchen?  I'd love to know what you've tried, and how it worked out.

Neo-Aussie biscuits

biscuit dough
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
200g unsalted butter, softened
75g castor sugar
60g brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground wattleseed (I'll try 2 tablespoons next time)
2 large eggs, beaten
150g walnuts, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons boiling water
2 teaspoons ground lemon myrtle
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and sugars. Gradually mix in the wattleseed and then the eggs. Stir in the flour mixture and the walnuts by hand until just combined.

Line a baking tray (or two, if you have them) with paper and drop generous teaspoons of the dough onto them.  Bake for about 12 minutes, until they've just developed a firm crust. Let them cool on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack.

When the biscuits have cooled, prepare the icing.  Pour the boiling water over the lemon myrtle in a cup and allow it to steep for a few minutes. Strain the water into a small saucepan. Add the butter and melt them together. Remove the mixture from the heat and sift over the icing sugar. Whisk the icing until smooth and dip the top of each biscuit into the icing, in turn, before returning them to the rack.  Allow the icing to set before serving.


  1. Hope your colleague was impressed with these little rippers! Have tried bush spices a little - mainly use wattleseed to enhance the chocolate flavour in place of coffee because I don't like coffee - tried lemon myrtle in a damper but not sure it was that strong

  2. Squatter! Love it. Saskia and Mr M played that game a lot as children. I've never been massively into it myself, but I love the Aussie-ness of it (and the fact you can have a stud ram called Lachlan Lad!).

    Interesting on the bush spices - I have been meaning to try some out myself...

  3. i'd love to try out more native australian ingredients. at the moment i only tend to use lemon myrtle (makes delicious tea, also goes well in scones).

  4. Johanna - could you detect the wattleseed amongst the chocolate? I can imagine it being a tasty combination, though I fear the wattleseed might get lost.

    Emily - glad Squatter resonated with someone! Winton Boy was my favourite ram. :-D

    Nixwilliams - lemon myrtle is just my kinda tea flavour too! I can really imagine it suiting scones or damper, yum.