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Category: Food

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aka Soldiers' biscuits

  • The recipe for what we now call Anzac Biscuits long pre-dates the Gallipoli Landings. It can be traced back to Scotland and the traditional Scottish Oat cakes.
  • The name has as much to do with Australia's desire to recognise Anzac as with the idea that they were actually part of the staple diet at Gallipoli.
  • They are one of the few things that are able to be legally marketed in Australia using the word ANZAC which is protected by Federal Legislation
  • From During World War 1, the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Here was a problem. 

    • Any food they sent to the fighting men had to be carried in the ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of these were lucky to maintain a speed of ten knots (18.5 kilometers per hour). Most had no refrigerated facilities, so any food sent had to be able to remain edible after periods in excess of two months. 

    • A body of women came up with the answer - a biscuit with all the nutritional value possible. The basis was a Scottish recipe using rolled oats. These oats were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that helped counteract the extremely cold climate.

    • The ingredients they used were: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called Soldiers’ Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.

    • A point of interest is the lack of eggs to bind the ANZAC biscuit mixture together. Because of the war, many of the poultry farmers had joined the services, thus, eggs were scarce. The binding agent for the biscuits was golden syrup or treacle.  

    • As the war drew on, many groups like the CWA (Country Women’s Association), church groups, schools and other women’s organisations devoted a great deal of time to the making of ANZAC biscuits. 

    • To ensure that the biscuits remained crisp, they were packed in used tins, such as Billy Tea tins. The tins were airtight, thus no moisture in the air was able to soak into the biscuits and make them soft.  

How to make ANZAC Biscuits # 1

This recipe is based on an old grandmother's recipe for ANZAC biscuits. A great Aussie & Kiwi tradition, ANZAC biscuits are very easy to make, take about 20-25 minutes from start to finish, and are pretty healthy.

  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • ˝ cup sugar
  • 1 heaped teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup raisins
  • 60 grams butter (Approximately - this is on the low side - go up to 125 grams if you like butter)
  • 1˝ tablespoons of golden syrup.

Combine flour, sugar, oats, coconut and raisins in a large bowl and mix them up a bit.

In a small saucepan, melt butter and golden syrup. Stir mixture so they are combined.

Put baking soda in a mug, and add enough boiling water to dissolve baking soda (about 2 tablespoons worth).

Add baking soda solution to butter and golden syrup. Make sure the golden syrup/butter is still hot, but not quite boiling, else it will foam up and over your saucepan. (You want it to foam up, but not too much.) A foamy, hokey pokey type liquid will result. Smells great.

Pour the contents of the saucepan into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Place spoonfuls of the mixture on a greased oven tray. Bake at around 180C (350F) for approximately 16 minutes, or until they are light brown. Makes about 18 biscuits.

NOTE: I usually double the mixture, and sometimes add chopped nuts. You can vary the proportions somewhat - less sugar, more butter etc. Be warned that ANZAC biscuits can be highly addictive.

How to make ANZAC Biscuits # 2

  • Here's a recipe  that makes 5 dozen 
    • 1/2 cup butter 
    • 1 tbsp golden syrup 
    • 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda 
    • 2 tbsp boiling water 
    • 1 cup uncooked rolled oats 
    • 1 cup desiccated coconut 
    • 1 cup plain flour 
    • 1 cup brown sugar 
    • 2 tsp ginger 

Melt butter and golden syrup in large pan over a low heat. Add bicarbonate of soda mixed with boiling water. Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, then pour melted mixture into center and mix to a moist but firm consistency. Drop slightly rounded teaspoonful of mixture on to cold greased tray. Cook for about 15 minutes in a moderate oven. Cool on a wire rack.


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