Up until recently, I had traveled a lot within the states, but never abroad. There was always the dream to go somewhere “someday”, but never a concrete plan to actually do so. The top destination on my bucket list, so to speak, was New Zealand, and one day early last December, I saw that Air New Zealand was having a special. The only catch was that the departure had to be booked for sometime between Christmas and New Year’s, which was only 3 1/2 weeks away! The special was only for three days, and with five minutes left, I held my breath and clicked the button to purchase. Eep!
To make a long story fairly short, I packed my bags, left on the 29th (7 months ago from today!) and after about 20 hours of traveling and layovers, arrived in Auckland two days later. December 30, 2009 did not exist! I had absolutely no plan or idea of what I was going to do, aside from attend a few concerts, but I had five weeks to explore all by myself. It was fantastic and I keep dreaming of going back.
Oh yeah, I’m dirt poor now, but it was so worth it! As they say, Go there. Now. But make sure your bank account is prepared for it.
Anyway, it seemed only fitting to have my first entry be about New Zealand and to bake a recipe from there. I instantly fell in love with hokey pokey ice cream, the Kiwi classic of vanilla dotted with little drops of honeycomb toffee, so I knew I had to make these biscuits. If you’ve ever seen or eaten a Cadbury Crunchie bar, the inside is this type of toffee.
Hokey Pokey Biscuits
slightly adapted from A Second Helping by Alexa Johnston
makes about 2 1/2 dozen
These are light and crispy and remind me a bit of shortbread cookies. The original recipe is without chocolate chips, but the author suggests them as an add-in. Who can say no to chocolate?
This recipe calls for golden syrup, which is sugar cane syrup, not corn syrup. I found Lyle’s Golden Syrup at World Market/Cost Plus, but they also carry it at Whole Foods and other specialty stores (if you’re in Texas, HEB Central Market has it). Also, I’ve made the measurements US-friendly, but the originals can be found via the link above.
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, sifted
3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet, but milk chocolate would also be good)
Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy. In a small saucepan, stir together the milk and golden syrup over medium heat and bring to a boil. Add the baking soda and stir quickly until frothy. Spoon into the butter/sugar mixture and mix well. Mix in the vanilla, then the flour, and then stir in the chocolate chips. Drop teaspoonfuls of the dough about 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, then gently flatten them a bit with a fork. Bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes (15 for me). Cool on racks and store in an airtight container.