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ANZAC biscuits – gluten-free!

ANZAC biscuits – gluten-free!

It’s the time of year when we remember our fallen soldiers, and ANZAC biscuits are a tradition. Here’s a gluten-free take on the Healthy Food Guide favourite.

It’s been a while since I posted here. Life has been very busy for us, and of course the start of the new school year is always a bit manic! However, I am now back with a vengeance and you can expect to see something new from me every fortnight.

Each quarter, I’ll be converting a popular Healthy Food Guide recipe to a gluten-free version of itself. I’ve started with ANZAC biscuits. You’d think that biscuits would be simple. Not so much. This has resulted in quite a number of experiments, which the children have enjoyed! I’ve been playing with a couple of new ingredients – chia seeds and quinoa flakes. Chia seeds are fabulous for extra fibre, and quinoa as an ancient grain is chock full of calcium, protein and fibre. I’ve just run across Ceres Quinoa Flakes – found in the breakfast cereal section at my local New World. They’re very expensive, but they looked to me to be more the consistency of rolled oats, so I got some to try.

Rolled oats is a tricky one, because in many countries they are considered to be gluten-free as the percentage of gluten contained in them is quite small. In New Zealand, however, they are over the required levels to be considered as gluten-free. As they are a large part of what makes ANZAC biscuits the way they are, I decided to find a substitute.

With any recipe I convert, I first make the original recipe. This helps me to see the texture and gauge the correct taste. I can then work towards replicating that in a gluten-free way. I’m also keen to do what I can to increase the fibre content of the gluten-free goodies I make, as many of the gluten-free flour substitutes are low in fibre. Here’s my version of Healthy Food Guide’s ANZAC biscuits. An added bonus of this recipe is that it is very easy to make it dairy-free as well as gluten-free.

Gluten-free ANZAC biscuits

Makes about 24 biscuits

1 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 1/4 cup milk (cow, rice, soy or almond) or water*
1 cup rice flakes OR 1 cup quinoa flakes**
1 cup gluten-free flour (brown rice flour works well, or try using a gluten-free flour mix)***
1 cup coconut
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp LSA (optional)
1 tsp xanthan gum
4 tbsp golden syrup
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Step 1 Preheat oven to 160°C. Mix the chia seeds and milk in a small bowl and set aside for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 2 Place all the dry ingredients EXCEPT the baking soda into a bowl and mix well.

Step 3 In a separate bowl, whisk together the chia seeds mix, golden syrup, oil and baking soda. Whisk well until thoroughly combined and the mix has a thick and caramel-like consistency. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.

Step 4 Roll teaspoonsful of the mix into balls. Place on a baking tray approximately 3cm apart and flatten with a fork. Bake for about 15 minutes, then leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes before transferring to a rack.

*You can use 1 egg if you don’t have any chia seeds.

**The difference between using the rice flakes or the quinoa flakes is that the rice flakes make for a crunchier biscuit. The quinoa flakes have a similar consistency to a normal ANZAC biscuit.

***You may need to use a little extra flour if the mixture appears too wet, or if you are using rice flakes which don’t soak up the oil like the quinoa flakes do. No more than half a cup of additional flour should be required.

Lest we forget.

Weight-loss update

Well I’ve done it and after nine months have reached my goal weight. I feel very much better for having lost 22kgs. I managed six hours walking around Rangitoto with the family in early January, completed Round the Bays in a reasonable time, and am still walking five times a week, so I am a lot healthier and fitter than I was when I began blogging for Healthy Food Guide. It seems the answer to my “Is it possible to lose weight while eating gluten-free?” question is actually YES! I did it by a few old-fashioned changes:

  • Smaller portion sizes. I was eating good food, but I was eating too much of it.
  • Increasing the fibre content in my food by using chia seeds, LSA, quinoa and other high-fibre grains and seeds.
  • Reducing my alcohol intake. I wasn’t a big drinker, but some weeks I would have a glass of wine every night. Now I don’t normally drink on weeknights. I also took part in Dry July as some of you will remember.
  • Increasing my exercise. I do a sedentary job, and spend a fair bit of time driving around. I’ve added in 45 minutes of exercise about five times a week. Ideally I like to mix the exercise up to include swimming, aerobics (Jillian Michaels’ DVDs are awesome) and walking because I get bored. However, I hurt my left hand in January and so have been restricted to walking only. With the addition of a pedometer and MapMyWalk, I’ve developed a few different length routes around my neighbourhood. You can find my post about the 10,000 Steps® program here, and I highly recommend it as a way to identify how much (or how little) you move during the day and to increase your activity levels.
  • Moderation. I still had my hot chocolate at morning tea time, and still had the occasional chocolate bar or treat. It wasn’t the end of the world if I did eat something that wasn’t so good for me, and I would often balance it out by doing a little more exercise. But by being moderate, rather than extreme, and taking the weight off slowly, I didn’t feel that I was ‘dieting’ or under pressure, so hopefully this will help to keep the weight off long-term.

How have you managed to lose weight while staying gluten-free? Have you kept the weight off for a good length of time?

Lisa

Lisa Rose combines parenting six children and working full-time in the IT industry with indulging her loves of writing and food by blogging. In 2010 she was diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, causing severe eczema. In frustration at not being able to find relevant information, she started her own blog with the aim of providing a resource to others in the same situation. You can find Lisa’s blog, Being Gluten Free in NZ, at glutenfreenz.wordpress.com. For those wanting more information on coeliac disease, check out the NZ Coeliac Society website www.coeliac.org.nz.

First published: Apr 2014

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