Another Australia Day is rolling around on Monday. It feels like just yesterday I was celebrating the last Australia Day and telling you all about Jaffle Meat Pies and the Triple J Hottest 100. This year will be a bit different because it’s not a public holiday in London (obviously!), so I’ll be stuck at work.
It’ll be pretty low key, but I might have some Vegemite on toast and a beer to celebrate. I could try having a barbecue on a cheap, tiny disposable barbie, but I think 5°C weather and a high chance of rain might put a damper on that idea. It’s also hard to find decent beef sausages here, and it just wouldn’t be a proper barbie with pork ones. So instead, I’ll try and stay warm, and dream of summer and beaches and sunshine all day.
And I’ll eat some of these Iced Vovos. If there’s any left by Monday. I couldn’t mention Australia Day and not share some sort of tasty Australian treat with you. It’s going to be an annual tradition here on Close Encounters of the Cooking Kind, to bring you a true blue, fair dinkum Aussie recipe for Australia Day every year. This year’s recipe kills two birds with one stone, because it’s also post number three in my Australian Biscuit Series. You can find the first two posts here and here. Other Australian recipes can be found on the Recipes page under the ‘Australian’ headers.
Now, what is an Iced Vovo, you may ask? Only an Australian icon. Truth be told, I’ll probably call every biscuit in this series an Australian icon at some point, but it’s only because we have so many iconic biscuits. An Iced Vovo consists of a soft (ie. not crunchy), plain vanilla biscuit, topped with two outer strips of pink marshmallow (it absolutely has to be pink!) and a raspberry jam strip down the centre. But that’s not all. It is then sprinkled all over with desiccated coconut to give it some extra oompf. You may think this sounds like way too many flavours and textures going on here. All I can say to that is: you’re wrong! The assembly can be a bit time-consuming, but everything fits together perfectly in a rewarding harmony of sweet, soft, coconutty, jammy goodness.
Iced Vovo Biscuits
Prep Time: 40 minutes + approx 1 hour 15 minutes for dough to chill
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
2¼ cups plain flour
½ tsp baking powder
170g butter, at room temperature
¾ cup caster sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pink mini marshmallows, cut in half lengthways
½ cup desiccated coconut
½ cup raspberry jam
- In a medium bowl, add plain flour and baking powder and mix to combine well. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, use an electric mixer or wooden spoon to cream butter and caster sugar, until pale and smooth. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue mixing until fully combined. Add flour mixture, a quarter at a time, mixing until just combined. Use your hands to bring dough together, then divide in two. Mould each half into a ball, then flatten to form a disc. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4 and line two large baking trays with baking paper. Remove one disc from the fridge and roll it out to a thickness of about 5mm. Use a fluted pastry wheel (or a pizza cutter) to cut as many 7cm x 5cm rectangles from the rolled dough. Gather the scraps together and re-roll to cut more rectangles from the dough. Place biscuits on a baking tray leaving a 2cm gap between each one and freeze for 15 minutes (We have a tiny freezer, so I put about half the biscuits on a small chopping board then put a layer of baking paper on top followed by another layer of biscuits). While the first batch is freezing, repeat step with the remaining disc of dough.
- Once the second batch of dough goes into the freezer, the first batch should be ready to come out and go straight into the oven. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the edges have turned golden. Remove from oven, and allow to cool on tray for 5 minutes, before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with second batch of biscuits.
- When biscuits have cooled completely, it’s time to assemble them. First, pour the desiccated coconut into a shallow dish and set aside. Next, lay a single row of pink marshmallow halves, cut side down, on the two long edges of each biscuit to create two outer strips (I used 12 marsmallow halves for each biscuit). Place as many prepared biscuits as possible on a microwave-safe plate, then microwave for 30-40 seconds (I cooked them for 40 seconds in a 700 watt microwave; cook them for less time if your microwave is more powerful). Remove biscuits from microwave and carefully press face down into the desiccated coconut, so that it sticks to the softened marshmallows. Be careful not to push too hard as the biscuits will have softened in the microwave. Set biscuits aside to cool and repeat with remaining biscuits. Do not discard desiccated coconut.
- Spoon raspberry jam into a small microwave-safe bowl, and microwave for 20 seconds. Remove jam from microwave and carefully spoon about 1 teaspoon down the centre of each biscuit. Use fingers to sprinkle jam strip with a small amount of desiccated coconut. Set biscuits aside to cool once more, and repeat with remaining biscuits.
- Store biscuits in an airtight container.
Biscuit recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction.