Mystery Sweets and Winners of the Olive Oil Contest

Do you know what that chocolate cookie is above?

How about that crunchy little one below?

Though both have quite storied pasts, they are both new to my taste buds, having been introduced to them on my recent trip to Australia, sponsored by Boundary Bend, Ltd.

The chocolate biscuit (cookie to you, Americans), composed of two layers of crispy chocolate malted cookies spread with light chocolate cream and then covered in yet more chocolate, is supposedly the very favorite of Australians. Any Aussies in the house? Is that true? Is this cookie akin to the Oreo of Australia?

Arnott’s bakery, established just north of Sydney in 1865, started making the cookies in 1964. They were apparently named after the winning horse in the 1958 Kentucky Derby, according to Wikipedia, after the owner of Arnott bakery attended that particular race.

Pepperidge Farm introduced the Aussie-made cookies to the United States a couple of years ago in Target stores. They are sold there only from October through March, though, no doubt because that’s summer-time in the Southern Hemisphere, when the temperatures soar and would wreck havoc on shipments of chocolate-coated treats.

The second cookie originated around 1915 during World War I. Loaded with rolled oats, coconut and wattleseed (nutritious seeds with a vaguely hazelnut flavor that come from native trees in the Australian bush), but made without eggs or milk, the cookies not only kept well, but were an inexpensive source of added nutrition. That’s why wives and girlfriends would bake them during the war to send to soldiers.

The cookies were named after the landing of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZACs) in Gallipoli on the coast of Turkey, now known as Anzac Cove.

As you can probably guess now, those little round cookies, which taste a little like a granola bar, are called Anzac Biscuits, which are also still baked at home to this day.

And the chocolate ones are the famous Tim Tam cookies.

Of course, the true pleasure in traveling lies in meeting new people and seeing new sights. But there’s no denying how wonderful it is to discover some really good cookies like these along the way, too.

Contest Winners: Now, without further adieu, the winners of the Cobram Estate extra virgin olive oils. Four winners will receive five different bottles of olive oil from Australia’s leading producer.

As you recall, in this contest, I asked you all to tell me what fascinated you the most about Australia, whether you’d been there or not.

Here were the winning answers, in no particular order:

1) Amelia, who wrote: “Well, I have never been there but have this mythical idealized imagery of it. I love the openness of the land and the people, the laid back spirit, the awesome Aussie wines, the “songlines” (reference: one of my favorite travel book by Bruce Chatwin), the biggest, most amazing coral reef (which I would love to scuba dive one day), Donna Hay’s food, and all my good friends from down-under…they are so relaxed to be around, it’s like an instant vacation of the mind!”

2) Aibrean, who wrote: “I’m an anthropology and journalism major, so although you already said it, the people fascinate me the most about Australia! I don’t know what it is about — perhaps the fact that they were so far removed from the government in England, but they seem so relaxed, down to earth, and welcoming. I’ll bet the amazing scenery also keeps them pretty happy too. I would love to go visit some day, but on a college student’s budget, winning some oil from Oz may be the closest I get for a while!”

3) AFoodObsession, who wrote: “Balmain Bugs..reason enough to travel the 21 hours from NY to Sydney again…sauteed in shallots and olive oil, with lime..overlooking Manly Beach on an Australian summers’ day in February a few years ago…besides the sunny disposition of the locals, it was an amazing travel/food experience…watching surfers at 6p.m…as the sun set, and finished the meal with a Pavlova…but the Balmain Bug, that local Sydney seafood delicacy, is my favorite Australian memory!

4) Kristine, who wrote: “Waking up in my hostel and saying to my friend, ‘We’re going to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef today!’, hiking to the point where Steve Irwin died. Driving on the left side of the road and having a wallaby run across. Stopping to see wild koalas lounging in the tree, so close we thought they were animatronic. Sadly recounting that the only kangaroo I saw was dead on the side of the road. Saying “TA,” trying to fit in, but feeling ridiculous…even if it is custom there.My memories can be thought of as stereotypical — kangaroos, koalas, the Great Barrier Reef…but God gives everybody 24 hours in a day and I felt the way I experienced them were unique to me in ways that only I can remember.”

Congrats to all!

More: Australia’s Booming Olive Oil Industry

More: Olive Oil & Sherry Pound Cake

More: A Visit to Two Australian Wineries

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  • Bay Area Cost Plus stores carry Tim Tams direct from Australia if you need to get them year round! They even carry the mint and caramel ones. Have you tried “Tim Tam Slams” where you use them as straws with tea or coffee? The hot liquid melts the cookie, it’s quite a treat.

  • Anne: Oh yay! Good to know about Cost Plus carrying Tim Tams. My husband already bemoans the fact that I ate most of the package that I toted home from Australia before he could get to them. Hah.
    And no, didn’t even know they made the Slams. Do they have those at Cost Plus, too? Ooh la la!

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  • I am absolutely obsessed with Tim Tam cookies. I love them so much. Please tell me that someone taught you how to do the Tim Tam slam!!!

    Pepperidge Farm brand is similar, but not nearly as yummy as the original. 🙂

  • I really like the look of that little chocolate biscuit! I bet that would taste just perfect with a little strong coffee.

  • I got my first taste of Tim Tams 3 years ago, when I first met the SO. Apparently they’re super popular in Canada and we’d go all over the Bay Area looking for them. I don’t think we saw them at our nearest Target but the Cost Plus sells them in 2 flavors (regular and caramel).

  • Oh! The chocolate bar sure looks yummie, glad to know that we can find at Cost Plus 🙂 Thanks!

  • ohhhh, I almost bit into my screen: that chocolate biscuit close-up is to die for!

    Carolyn: THANK YOU sooo much!!! I am so excited to have won this contest: wow…
    Being orifinally from Italy, I ONLY cook with olive oil and just can’t wait to try the Australian one!!! I will experiment quite a bit with it and report back when I do.

    Amelia from

  • I wasn’t familiar with Tim Tam’s, but I’d like to get to know them better! I’ll have to look for the Pepperidge Farm version this fall.

  • Ahah! Anne and Tami were so kind as to explain the Tim Tam “straw” to me. Apparently, you gingerly bite off the opposite corners of the actual Tim Tam and use it to enjoy your fave beverage.

  • Yes, I know those Tim Tams from way back. When Target started sellling them, I immediately bought a pack to introduce to my boys. They are quite a treat.

  • Carolyn: thank you!!! I am sooo excited 🙂
    I mentioned these wonderful oils and your amazing blog in my latest post:

  • Ditto Carolyn, so excited about winning! Posted a link to your blog on my FB page! and, now you’ve forced me to blogpost something about Australia! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • I think I would love the second cookie more. I love cookies like that, they go so well with milk!

  • I have relatives in Australia that always bring back candies…maybe I should ask for these next time 🙂
    The second cookie looks so appealing.

  • wow those are my fabourite chocolate cookies! you got them spot on! 🙂

  • I need to try to get my hands on some of these cookies…they look fantastic! And congrats to the winners!

  • I wrote of judging a nation by its sausage, I think you’ve hit on something – its by their biscuits or cookies. A critical means of determining how civilized their humanity really is. I need to get my hand on some of these Tim Tams.

    Congrats to the winners, great responses all!

  • You can buy tim tams here in the UK in the supermarket. I’ve always wanted to try them, but never got around to it (ah… so many sweets, so little time).

  • I have posted a bit on my own blog about both Tim Tams and Anzac biscuits – tastes of my childhood, love them both. But they’re not cookies!!! – sorry – as a born and bred Aussie, I can’t bring myself to call a Tim Tam a cookie! 😉

    The Pepperidge Farms Tim Tams are not the same as the ones made in Australia though…. (but you know when they are the only Tim Tams you can get your hands on….)

  • Tim Tam is our favorite biscuit. We usually get the dark chocolate classic back in Singapore. 😀

  • Yay Tim Tams! I was lucky to try these years ago when an Australian friend brought them to work. I think I still prefer Oreos though!

  • Oh no, another chocolate sweet I can get addicted to, I prefer to call them “biscuits” sounds less fattening 🙂

  • I think I’m Tim Tam Slam-challenged. ;(
    This morning, I took a Tim Tam, bit off the opposite corners, stuck it into my cup of coffee and tried to suck on it like a straw. Nothing happened except the chocolate coating started to melt, even though I had put the Tim Tam in the fridge for a few minutes beforehand. Hmmmm, must try this again until I get it right….

  • Oh, I KNOW that cookie up there. Perhaps too well. In the States it is marketed simply as ‘Arnott’s chocolate biscuits’, but I am happy to learn its name down under. Delicious!

  • i’ve never heard of TimTams but i’d love to try them. i’ve always wanted to make Anzac biscuits.

  • Tim Tams. Swoon. I fell in love with them years ago when a friend from Australia sent me some. I then stalked Target when they first got them in and bought bushels. Now I check for them at Cost Plus. I think a trip to Australia would be in store if I didn’t have a way to get them!

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  • Nob Hill has been selling Tim Tams.

  • Cost Plus World Market sells Arnott’s Chocolate Covered Biscuits all years long. You can get your Tim Tam fix there.

  • I feel honoured reading this – right here in Australia, with a packet of Tim Tam’s in my fridge! We have sooo many flavours (normal, double-coat, white, dark, dark mint, dark rum and raisin, chewy caramel, black forest, honeycomb etc) and Tim Tam Slam’s are the best EVER. I do it with cold milk and Bundaberg liqueur (coffee/chocolate flavour)-decadent!

    If anyone can’t find a packet, shoot me an email and ask, I’m happy to send anywhere in the world to share the Tim Tam love! They sell for around AUD$2.99

    And for anyone that hasn’t made ANZAC bickies is missing out big time! Made from rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda, they taste amazing with milk or coffee, and the smell is heavenly!

  • Please DON’T call them cookies. To do so is very disrespectful. There is a lot of history and emotion tied up in these biscuits. “Referring to these products as ‘Anzac Cookies’ is generally not approved, due to the non-Australian overtones,” the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) advises.

  • Hi Jaya: Apologies for that. I know that what folks in the UK and Australia call “biscuits,” are what we in the U.S. think of as “cookies.” Obviously, my view through that American lens is definitely showing.

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