Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Anzac biscuits, at school, in October?

I had a meeting with a primary (elementary) school in our city a month or so ago, about teaching baking to a select group of children.  It was myself, the Principal Teacher for that department and the Healthy Eating Assistant for the school, and we discussed what type of recipes may be suitable, which ingredients the Scottish Government Healthy Eating Policy (or whatever its official name is) would allow and so forth.  As a slight geek, I was excited about the basic science and maths involved in baking - watching the solids turn to liquid, watching disparate ingredients turn into delicious cookies and cakes, seeing the numbers on the scales increase, sifting the flour through the little holes and watching it get finer and so on.  I like it when my girls master a new skill, like sifting flour only into the bowl, or cracking eggs and having no shell in the bowl, or weighing out sugar and was hoping to pass that joy on to other kids.
We determined that we'd need short, easy recipes to start with (no mention was made of how long this arrangement may continue, but one session to start with, so Oct-Dec) and that in the week that I wasn't in class, the teachers would work on hygiene, basic maths, science etc to prepare the children for what was to come. 
Somehow the idea of cooking from different countries came up, and with my Aussie background, I looked for simple classically Australian recipes of my youth, and found this beauty that would perfectly suit our needs - Anzac biscuits.  For the history behind these tasty crunchy, oaty bickies (as the Aussies call them), see here.
Isn't this board great?  The teacher made it to visually show the children all the steps involved in baking.  On the left side we can see the ingredients for this particular recipe, and the recipe itself in the middle.  They each had various tasks to perform, and next time their name will be beside the task for that lesson.
Here are the biscuits, ready for the oven.  The Healthy Eating Assistant was going to take them through to the school kitchen, and they would be ready for the children once they'd eaten their lunch - perfect.
One of the children cleaning the table, others were tasked with washing and drying dishes - not their favourite parts. 
The lesson ended before the biscuits were baked, and I had wanted to try out the recipe before teaching it, so below we can see The Team plus a friend/classmate/neighbour stirring the biscuit mix yesterday afternoon, after they'd all done their homework of course.
 Here we see her making 'balls' with the mix the clean way, getting it ready for the oven.
And the finished product - the Kitchen smelled fantastic, and the biscuits were crunchy, oaty and delicious!  Enjoy.