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Anzac biscuits: food for the field

Amanda Yap

Thu Apr 26 2012

Anzac biscuits

ANZAC biscuits are a yummy treat today but a century ago, they were a taste of home for Australian soldiers out on the battlefield. Amanda Yap has the story, and recipe.

Anzac biscuits were originally treats for soldiers on the battlefield. Photo: Tristan Ferne via flickr

Many of you may already know what Anzac Day is about. It’s a national day of remembrance for the soldiers of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who landed at Gallipoli in Turkey on April 25, 1915 and remained to fight there during World War 1.

But a lesser known fact is the tradition of consuming Anzac biscuits – biscuits first made by wives, mothers and girlfriends of soldiers fighting in the war to be sent to their loved ones.

Back then, there was no FedEx, refrigerators or freezers so ingredients used in the Anzac biscuits – or “Soldiers’ biscuits” – had to be carefully selected to ensure they remained durable and therefore edible over the long periods of time it took to arrive. Eggs were therefore eliminated from the recipe and this remains till today.

Anzac biscuits also contained oats  (giving them the nutritional value they became revered for), and coconut and treacle giving the treats their signature flavour.

While Anzac biscuits can now be easily purchased at your local grocery store and its recipe has expanded over the years to include experimental ingredients such as macadamia nuts and chocolate, there is still a basic recipe which remains a favourite. And according to blogger Pauline, it’s the best one too:

1 cup plain flour (sifted)
1 cup white sugar
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup dessicated coconut
125g butter
4 tablespoons golden syrup
4 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 150C. Prepare some baking trays with baking paper or silicone baking mats.
Combine dry stuff in bowl (that’s the first four ingredients).
Melt butter and syrup. Dissolve bicarb in water, then add to butter/syrup. Mixture will foam up.
Add foaming mixture to dry ingredients and combine thoroughly. Mixture should be firm enough to roll into a ball on a teaspoon. Place them on the tray with some room to spread.
Bake for 20 minutes at 150C.
Leave on the tray a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

(This recipe was sourced from The Best ANZAC Biscuit Recipe )

Do you like Anzac biscuits? Have you come across a really good recipe? Share your findings with us!