Today’s recipe is adapted from one in one of my newer cookbooks: The Baking Collection from The Australian Women’s Weekly. Like so many Women’s Weekly cookbooks this one is a winner – sweet treats of every description from simple cakes and cookies to decadent pastries and fancy holiday delights. An excellent collection of old fashioned Aussie favourites with some modern interpretations. These squares are soft and moist – more like mini cakes than a slice. The honey works so beautifully with the cashews. To top it all off they are SO easy.
- 1 c (150g) SR wholemeal flour
- 1 c (220g) caster sugar
- 1 c (90g) rolled oats
- 1 c (80g) desiccated coconut
- 2/3 c (70g) cashews, coarsely chopped
- 2 eggs
- 125 g butter melted, cooled slightly
- 1 T honey
- ½ c chopped cashews, extra
- 1 ½ c (160g) pure icing sugar, sifted
- 60 g butter, melted
- 1 T honey
- 1 T hot water, approximately
Preheat oven to 160C. Line 23cm x 32cm (9” x 13”) swiss roll pan with baking paper. Combine dry ingredients and mix. Add eggs, butter and honey and mix well. Press firmly into pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool slice in pan. Meanwhile, make honey icing. Mix sugar, butter and honey well. Add enough water to make runny enough to pour. Spread over the slice, and top with remaining cashews. Adapted from Honey Walnut and Oat Squares, in The Baking Collection / The Australian Womens’ Weekly, 2013.
I have talked before about my mom’s inclination to substitute ingredients in her baking and the frequently dodgy results. Sweets in my adolescent years tended to be hard as rocks, and as heavy. Of course we still ate them, but I frequently moaned about the obvious inadvisability of using recipes written for different ingredients (Betty Crocker sponge cakes really don’t work with wholemeal flour, honey and half the number of eggs!). In fairness to my mom, there weren’t too many cookbooks out there back then that catered to alternative diets – particularly not for baking. Ingredients then were also much more limited: flour was either white or wholemeal, sweet meant sugar or honey, gluten free meant rice cakes and corn bread.
Nowadays we are so spoiled with options. Now there is a range of ingredients out there with which to excite any palette or dietary limitations. Inspiring cookbooks catering to this broader range of ingredients are still relatively rare, but they are there. I have one in particular that I really love for baking: Leon: baking and puddings – book 3 by Claire Ptak and Henry Dimbley. Aside from the great range of recipes (not all of which require ‘health food aisle’ ingredients), this book also offers a fantastic guide to baking ingredients. It explains (and demystefies) the different types of flour, sweeteners, fats, and rising and binding agents that are used in baking.
The recipe shown here from this book is for the best coconut macaroons I have ever tasted. They are super easy and work perfectly every time. They are crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and totally mouth-watering!
- 3 egg whites
- 150 g caster sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 t honey
- 150 g desiccated coconut
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
Line a baking sheet with baking paper and pre-heat oven to 150C.
Combine all ingredients except vanilla in a large saucepan. Stir all ingredients over a medium-low heat until well mixed and just beginning to scorch on the bottom. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
Cook the mixture completely. Use an ice cream scoop (about 50ml) to scoop out 10 even sized macaroons onto the baking sheet.
Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden and set. Cool completely before taking off the sheet.