Lamingtons

January 26: Australia Day

Happy Australia Day to our awesome Aussie blog readers! And Happy Anniversary to our friends, Gary and Girlie B., whom we met when we lived in New Jersey (they still live in the Garden State and we visit each other when we can). They suggested some recipes from Down Under, which we could try, such as Lamingtons, for our blog on this special day.

Our friends came from Sydney, but Lamingtons originated in Queensland and were named after Lord Lamington who served as its first governor from 1896-1901. These snack-sized chocolate-covered, square-shaped sponge cakes are rolled in desiccated coconut to give it its distinct texture and taste.

Lamingtons are the quintessential Australian snack and they are terrific during tea time and for celebrating Australia Day.

Recipe

(Adapted from Chefs Jamie Oliver and David Lebovitz)

For the sponge cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly

Directions

In a large bow, mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Gradually add this to the egg mixture.

Stir in the melted butter and mix into a smooth batter. Pour into a lightly greased 8×8 inch square baking pan (we lined ours with wax paper). Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for about 25 minutes, testing cake for doneness.

Remove from the oven and cool completely. Square off the edges of the cake by trimming the sides (optional). Cut evenly into 2×2 inch squares (16 pieces).

For the chocolate-coconut coating

  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3+ cups desiccated coconut

Directions

In a large microwavable bowl, melt the chocolate, butter and milk. Stir until smooth. In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and cocoa powder.

Gradually add the sugar-cocoa mixture into the chocolate mixture. Stir until smooth. Carefully dip a cooled square cake into the chocolate mixture and coat evenly around the cake. Roll into a pie plate of desiccated coconut. Let set on a baking sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.

Notes

 

Fairy Bread

Fairy Bread

January 26: Australia Day

G’day, mates! We asked our friend, Girlie, who grew up in Sydney, and whom we met while living in New Jersey, for a simple sandwich recipe to celebrate Australia Day (which also happens to be her wedding anniversary). She suggested vegemite sandwich and Fairy Bread. We have tried the yeasty spread before and it is a taste that we have not quite acquired. So we opted for the colorfully sprinkled, sweet and crunchy open-faced sandwich instead. Fairy Bread is fun food at kid’s birthday parties Down Under but can still be a festive feature on the menu for anyone celebrating Australia Day around the world.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • Slice of white bread
  • Butter or margarine
  • Colorful nonpareils (also known as “hundreds and thousands” in Australia; we used the Wilton brand)

Directions
Spread softened butter or margarine on one side of the bread. Sprinkle with nonpareils. Or put the sprinkles on a plate and press the bread, buttered side down, onto them.  Slice diagonally (optional: cut off the crusts).

Fairy Bread

Notes

  • Robert Louis Stevenson wrote a poem specifically for children entitled “Fairy Bread,” which may have been the inspiration for the popular Aussie snack.
  • Cookie cutters can be used for unique Fairy Bread shapes. Nutella instead of butter is another variation for the spread. Some also use wheat bread or white toast.
  • Happy Australia Day and anniversary to Girlie and Gary from your friends at HI Cookery!