Country of the Week: Australia / Chocolate Crackles
After two weeks of “virtual” patriotism, we’re leaving the USA behind and heading to Australia. The kids decided this by vote, of course, but I warned them that if they chose Australia they’d hear nothing but “Australia! Australia! Australia! We love you!” all week from their father. (Monty Python fans will know what I’m talking about.)
So we started with our usual “What do you think of when someone says Australia?” to get started. Andrew pointed out that some of the things we listed are pretty stereotypical. But even that lends itself to discussion, don’t you think?
So here’s what we came up with:
- koala bears
- Ayers Rock
- Sydney Opera House
- East Australian Current (Finding Nemo, anyone?)
- Great Barrier Reef
- Men at Work
- penal colony
- Rescuers Down Under
- Crocodile Dundee
- Steve Irwin
- Olivia Newton-John
- Hugh Jackman (and Nicole Kidman and a bunch of others, but we’ll stop here!)
There’s definitely enough material here to keep us busy for a week. The funny thing is that I had my Olivia Newton-John concert CD in the car’s CD player before we even chose Australia, so we listened to that on the way to swim lessons this morning. (Yes, I listen to Olivia Newton-John!) I told the kids that we have to watch Xanadu this week. They looked at me blankly. Just wait, I said, you’ll love it. There’s rollerskating!
I did a quick search and saw a bunch of websites featuring aboriginal art, so we’ll definitely check that out and find some ideas for kids’ projects to share.
One thing I noticed is that we didn’t come up with any food ideas other than Vegemite. Is that strange? I did a search for popular Australian foods and read about chocolate crackles, Australian meat pies, ANZAC biscuits, Lamingtons, and pavlovas.
The chocolate crackles looked easy enough so we started with those. Quite a few sources say that chocolate crackles are served at children’s birthday parties—I’ll have to ask my Australian friends to weigh in on that.
The only catch is that most of the recipes list an ingredient called copha. Which, I think, is coconut oil. We don’t have copha in Wisconsin, so I substituted butter. The recipes also call for “icing sugar.” I think that might be powdered sugar, but I’m not 100 percent sure. And I’m assuming that desiccated coconut is fairly similar to shredded coconut. Even with my substitutions, I think these are dangerously delicious! (By the way, I learned that Rice Krispies are called Rice Bubbles in Australia.)
4 cups crispy rice cereal
1 cup butter
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
3 Tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup shredded coconut
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat or in a microwave oven. Add the crispy rice cereal, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, and shredded coconut to the saucepan. Spoon the mixture into paper cupcake holders. Chill in the refrigerator until firm.
Makes 24 crackles.