Dream Bars

This recipe first appeared in the Australian Women’s Weekly Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits when it was published in 1982. I’ve been making it ever since and it’s always popular.

The original recipe uses 2 cups fruit mince (mincemeat) but I use a cup of dried fruit and a cup of jam instead. It’s great for using up all those bits of jam and marmalade at the bottom of jars – something my family say I’m famous for. It’s always a great achievement when you can find things in the fridge which need using up and turn them into something finger lickin’ good.

When I returned to take the photo someone, who shall remain nameless and blamed the dog, had already eaten a piece.


180g butter at room temp
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 cups plain flour
4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 Tbs Plain flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
3 cups dessicated coconut
1 cup jam (any flavour)
1 cup dried fruit

Preheat oven to 180°C. Process butter and sugar in food processor until creamy. Add sifted flour and mix until you have crumbs which are starting to stick together. Press mixture into a greased Swiss Roll tin or slice tin (mine is 35x25cm) lined with baking paper. It doesn’t have to look very smooth but it does need to be evenly spread to cover the base. Bake for 10 mins or until golden.

Process eggs, sugar and vanilla in food processor. Add coconut, jam and fruit and process just enough to mix. Spread topping over the cooked base, bake for 25-30 mins or until firm and golden brown. Cool, dust with sifted icing sugar and cut into squares.

Variation: Frangipane Bars: make the base as above. When cooked, spread with about a cup or so of raspberry jam or lemon curd. For the filling mix 125g butter, softened, with 1 cup caster sugar in food processor until light and fluffy. Add 4 eggs, ¼ cup plain flour, 3 cups almond meal (or another ground nut) and a tsp of vanilla or almond essence. Spread evenly over the base, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for 25-30 mins or until firm and golden brown.

Anzac Biscuits

On the 25th of April Australians and New Zealanders remember those who have lost their lives in military conflict. The date of Anzac day marks the anniversary of the landing in Gallipoli (Turkey) during the First World War, when many lives were lost. The acronym Anzac stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Dawn services are held on this day in many countries, including France and Turkey.

Anzac biscuits were apparently sent by wives to soldiers abroad because they kept well during naval transportation. Nowadays they are made commercially, but many people make their own. There are some variations in the recipes so here is mine.


1 cup porridge oats
½ cup plain flour
½ cup self raising flour
1 cup sugar
¾ cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
2 Tbs golden syrup (see note below)
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 Tbs boiling water

Preheat oven to 170°C. In a large bowl mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut. Place butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan and stir over gentle heat until melted. Mix soda with boiling water and add to the butter mixture, then mix into the dry ingredients.

Place balls of one tablespoonful of mixture on lightly greased oven trays, or trays lined with non-stick baking paper – 12 per sheet, not too close together as they will spread. Bake for 12-20 minutes, or until a nice honey-brown colour. Ovens vary. If you prefer them more chewy and less crunchy, remove from the oven a bit earlier. If on tins without paper, loosen while still warm, then cool on the trays. Store in an airtight tin.

Makes about 2 dozen

Note: unless you live in Australia, New Zealand or the UK you may have difficulty finding golden syrup. There are some online sites which sell British ingredients. I have tried substituting honey but it’s not the same.

Sesame Cheese Biscuits

These delicious biscuits are family favourites to serve with drinks.  They’re a traditional Aussie recipe and were made by all the ladies of a certain age – my mother in law, her sister and my dear friend Joan Tyrrel who passed away last year. While the recipe says to use cheddar, you can use any hard cheeses, including a mixture of leftover bits and pieces! At their best when fresh, they will keep in a tin with a lid for up to a week, if they last that long.

Sesame Cheese Biscuits
200g plain flour
200g butter
200g cheddar cheese, grated
1-2 tsp dry English mustard or cayenne pepper (optional)
Sesame seeds to coat

Preheat oven to 180C.  Place flour and butter in food processor and process until fine crumbs.  If liked add some English mustard powder or cayenne pepper at this stage.  Add grated cheddar and continue to process until mixture forms a ball.  Tip out then pinch off pieces the size of a large walnut and roll into balls.  Roll balls in sesame seeds to coat them all over, then arrange on baking trays lined with baking paper.  Press each biscuit lightly with a fork and leave a space between each one as they will spread while cooking.  On a hot day it’s a good idea to refrigerate the biscuits for about half an hour before cooking.  Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden.  Cool on cake racks.

Makes about 45 biscuits

Note: you can make this recipe with less or more ingredients, just keep the weights of flour, butter and cheese equal