Christmas has roast turkey; Hanukkah has latkes; Chinese New Year has longevity noodles…and ANZAC Day has ANZAC biscuits, with the classic, oat biscuit baked in droves come April 25.
While well and truly woven into national cookbooks, the history behind the biscuit can be a little convoluted. For many years, it was widely believed that women back home in Australia and New Zealand would bake the biscuits to send to the troops at Gallipoli.
However, this story has been disproved considering the ingredients used and that the finished product wouldn’t have arrived fresh! It has since come to light that ANZAC biscuits were actually baked to be sold at local parades, galas and public events to raise money for the war efforts.
Once World War I was finished, the popular biscuit and its association with the war ultimately brought about its current name. Nowadays it has evolved to have different variations, but the classic will always remain. Below we have included a simple recipe so you can bake up a storm and treat yourself to a bikkie with your next cuppa!
Classic ANZAC biscuits
Adapted from the New Zealand Herald
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 cup soft brown sugar
- ¼ cup golden syrup
- 125g butter
- 2 Tbsp boiling water
- ½ tsp baking soda
- Preheat oven to 160°C and line two oven trays with baking paper.
- Combine rolled oats, flour, coconut and sugar in a large bowl.
- Heat golden syrup, butter and boiling water together until the butter melts.
- Stir the baking soda into the butter mixture, then mix the wet into the dry ingredients until well combined.
- Roll mixture into balls (just smaller than a golf ball) and place on trays, allowing a little room for spreading.
- Choose your biscuit preference for baking time:
- For biscuits that are crunchy on the outside but chewy on the inside, lightly press biscuits with a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- For chunky, hard biscuits, bake for 30-35 minutes.
- For very crunchy, thin biscuits, press dough very flat with a fork and bake for 15 minutes.
- Allow to cool on the trays (this allows them to harden) before transferring to an airtight container. Biscuits will keep fresh for several weeks (if you can wait that long!).
Baking tip: for a bit of a twist on the classic, add ¼ cup of raisins, 2/3 cup of sliced dried apricots and ½ cup sunflower seeds to the mixture at step 4.
Happy baking! May we remember all Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women, past and present, who have served and died in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.