New Zealand: Hokey Pokey and ANZAC cookies

With this blog I strive to be honest, if something fails I share it. Too often there are “follow these simple steps and it’ll be perfect every time” or “check out this cute kids craft” and it just so happens its the adult made craft on display… not here!

So this week I wanted to try and make something I’ve always wanted to, and spoilers, it is a massive fail, followed by another fail and finally something nostalgic and tasty 🙂

Hokey Pokey

What is hokey pokey? Yes, it’s a song and it really is what it’s all about. Hokey Pokey is also a unique candy filled with tiny holes.

You make a thick caramel of sorts, add baking soda and it bubbles like crazy. Pour it out and let it get hard and you have this hard, sugary, crunchie, holey, treat.

Well here’s how mine turned out…

a burnt deflated mess…. where did I go wrong?

  1. My pan was too small
  2. It got too hot
  3. My transfer dish was way too small

The recipe called for so few ingredients that I thought I had more than enough room in my medium sized pan. When I added the baking soda, it almost bubbled out of the pan and ON TO MY HAND! I’m so happy it didn’t. Then when I poured it into the prepared dish it blew up and then deflated. Completely. It was gross. So that was a massive fail, we couldn’t eat any of it and that dish as a pain to clean *sigh*

ANZAC Cookies or Biscuits

These cookies are oatmeal, coconut, caramel cookies- I was very excited to make these! Unfortunately, with all of Martin’s allergies, coconut is still one of those foods we are not sure if it is safe for him to eat, so we just avoid it. Sadly I think this is where our recipe fell apart… literally. We made the dough exactly as per the recipe, just with out the coconut and this is what we got:

As you can see we made the batter, it looked great, scooped well, and then we baked them…. and they spread.

In the end they were more like hard/ chewy oatmeal lace cookies that didn’t taste very good, but the kids still liked the centers. We could eat some of these, so that was one upside to this fail.


I am very stubborn and decided to try making a different form of hokey pokey after the kids went to bed. This time with a recipe I know and love- my grandmother and father’s Peanut Brittle recipe, except without the peanuts.

Here is my father’s recipe (with my adjustments):

Bailey Peanut Brittle

  1. Iron Skillet (or a very clean pot)
  2. 1 cup of granulated sugar
  3. 1/2 cup clear Karo syrup
  4. 1/2 cup water
  5. 1 cup RAW peanuts (I omitted these and they can be hard to find)
  6. 1 Tbs butter
  7. 1 tsp baking soda
  8. Really good candy thermometer
  9. Well loved wooden spoon and a really good pot holder
  10. well greased cookie sheet with butter, set aside

Pour water, sugar, and Karo into the pan over medium heat. Stir constantly (the karo will help stabilize the sugar molecules so it shouldn’t crystalize). At 230-234 degrees F or ‘thread stage’ add peanuts and really stir. At pop stage, 305 F (this will take a few minutes), very quickly add the butter and baking soda all at once and stir. Pour onto your prepared baking sheet and let it cool. Once cool, break it up and eat 🙂

It was not nearly as aerated as the hokey pokey should have been but it was a little bubbly and crunchy sugar- I was happy. Redemption achieved 🙂

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