There are some places in the world that eat into your very soul and become a part of who you are. Places of near impossible beauty, both in their surrounds and in their essence.
I left behind a sizeable chunk of my heart to such a place. I wasn’t ready to leave (perhaps I never would have, if given the choice), but love of another kind and duty dictated it to be so. I believe that one day we will return, my heart and I, to piece it back together and be whole once again.
Aotearoa (New Zealand) is where I’ve most felt at home over the years. I’ve moved A LOT, but here was a place that finally fitted like a glove, that made me feel creative and alive! It is a food-lover’s paradise, thanks to the rich, fertile land. Some of the most phenomenal ‘sauvignon blancs’ and ‘pinot noirs’ in the world are produced here (which happen to be my favourite whites and reds). Their art, design and architecture leaves one awestruck. However, as is often the case… at the heart of it all, are the people. The people you chance upon and are lucky enough to form friendships with. My heart really lies amongst them.
So, with my fondness for old recipes… Nana-style recipes you might say… I’d like to share the following tasty morsels with you. They come from a kiwi cookbook by Alexa Johnston, called ‘A Second Helping – More from Ladies, a Plate’. Alexa has gathered up a great many of New Zealand’s classic biscuits, slices, cakes and sweets and tested a variety of tried and true recipes, all in the quest of finding the very best way of preparing them. She has done a superb job!
Hokey Pokey is the New Zealand term for honeycomb toffee, so you will find that these biscuits have a slight fizz on the tongue (from the addition of baking soda to the golden syrup). They go deliciously well with a cup of tea.
After making these, I’m sure I felt a little bit more of my heart skip across the sea.
Hokey Pokey Biscuits
- 115g/Just under ½ Cup Unsalted Butter (softened)
- 115g/½ Cup Caster Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Full-Cream Milk
- 2 Teaspoons Golden Syrup
- 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 170g/1 Cup + 2 Tablespoons Plain Flour (sifted)
- There is a suggested option of adding ¾ Cup of chocolate chips to the dough (at the same time as you add the flour).
- I decided to test out a tray or two of biscuits with some caramel chips added and they certainly weren’t as pretty to look at as the originals, but really were quite delicious!
- Recipe from Alexa Johnston’s ‘A Second Helping – More from Ladies, a Plate’
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Line 2 baking trays with baking parchment.
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Place the milk and golden syrup into a small saucepan and bring just to the boil over medium heat. Add the baking soda and stir it in quickly. When the mixture froths up, remove from the heat and scoop it into the bowl with the butter and sugar. Stir to combine.
Add the vanilla extract and then the flour and stir until it all comes together. It should be a fairly soft dough.
Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture onto baking trays, allowing some room for spreading. Press down gently on each one, with a fork.
Bake for about 8 – 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.