I discovered Anzac biscuits quite late on, despite it being one of the first recipes within the kitchen notebook I inherited from my maternal grandmother. The biscuits are quite unique and I find it difficult to compare them to anything else other than to say they are almost like an oaty hobnob with the texture of a good ginger biscuit. My grandmother’s handwritten recipe offered beautifully simple direction – requiring teacups for measuring and a “low” oven for baking. Here, I have updated the instructions to today’s more familiar grams and oven measurements.
Anzac biscuits get their name from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). Some people claim that the biscuits were invented during the First World War when wives, mothers and women’s groups would bake them to send to the soldiers serving in Gallipoli and the Western Front – the ingredients helping to preserve the biscuits on their long journey to the other side of the world. Others say that they were baked back home in Australia and New Zealand and were sold to help raise money to support the war effort.
Whichever version of the story is correct, these biscuits remain popular across Australasia where they continue to be sold to raise money for veterans – especially in and around the annual Anzac Day of remembrance every 25th April.
I make them several times a year, but the dawning of Britain’s own Remembrance Sunday every November always prompts me to throw a batch together. They are very easy to make and I can have a batch ready for the oven in around 5 minutes; requiring a few simple ingredients that most of us will have already in our kitchens. So why not give them a go for yourself? They really do live up to their reputation.Print
- 100g desiccated coconut
- 125g rolled oats
- 95g walnuts
- 115g plain flour
- 160g granulated sugar
- 135g unsalted butter
- 60g golden syrup
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 2tbsp boiled water from the kettle
- Preheat the oven to 140C/275F/Gas Mark 1.
- Put the sugar, golden syrup and butter in a pan and melt everything together over a medium heat. Tip the coconut, oats and flour into a mixing bowl. Break the walnuts up with your fingers and add to the flour mix (I find it simpler to do this by hand rather than using a knife and walnuts do crumble easily). Stir the dry ingredients together.
- When the sugar mixture has melted, boil the kettle. Put the 1tsp of bicarbonate of soda into a small bowl or cup and stir in the 2tbsp of boiling water. Pour the water and soda over the molten sugars and butter and stir quickly. Like making cinder toffee, be careful as the mixture will start to froth up. It is while it is fizzing away that you should pour everything over the dry ingredients and stir together with a wooden spoon.
- Take heaped teaspoons of the mixture and roll with slightly damp hands to form balls. Place on a lined baking sheet, evenly spaced apart and pat down slightly with your fingers. The biscuits look small at this point but they will slump down during baking and spread outwards – so leave a good space between to avoid them melding together. I find I have enough mixture here to get around 25 biscuits.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, by which time the biscuits will be deeply golden in colour. Remove the trays from the oven and allow the biscuits to cool down on the trays for around five minutes before carefully lifting them off onto a cooling rack. Allow them to cool fully before storing in an airtight container. These biscuits will keep well for several weeks in a biscuit tin.
- Category: Biscuits, Baking
- Cuisine: Australian and New Zealand
Keywords: Anzac, Anzac Day, Remembrance, Biscuits, Anzac biscuits, baking