When April 25 arrives, we pay respect to the Australian and New Zealand troops who landed at Gallipoli more than one hundred years ago – and many of us also indulge in an Anzac biscuit.
What are Anzac biscuits?
Anzac biscuits are a time-honoured tradition in Australia and a key component of many an Anzac Day commemoration. Anzac Day commemorates the day the Australian and New Zealand army corps (the ANZACs) landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. It’s a significant national day and memorials are held around the country to remember the war and honour those who fought and served our country.
While we associate Anzac biscuits with Anzac Day, these tasty treats were reportedly not given to troops until a little later on during the war. They were a staple food during the war because they had a long shelf life, were dry, could last a very long time without getting stale or soft, and didn’t require cooling to stay fresh.
It appears they weren’t a hit with everyone, though. One catholic padre, Father John Fahey, was reported to have written of the biscuits: “The man who invented the army biscuit was an unmitigated rascal. As an eatable there is little to choose between it and a seasoned jarrah board.”
What ingredients are contained in Anzac biscuits?
Traditionally, Anzac biscuits contain the following ingredients:
- 1 cup plain flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut
- 125 g butter
- 2 tbs golden syrup
- 1 tbs water
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
The typical Anzac biscuit is crunchy, hard and sweet – though today, there are many different variations of the traditional recipe. Coconut was not part of the earliest Anzac biscuit recipes, though is now commonly included in the traditional recipe.
Anzac biscuit recipes
Many of us like to partake in the Anzac biscuit-eating tradition around 25 April and bake our own versions – either by referring to traditional recipes, or adapting them for healthier and even gluten-free versions.
To make a traditional Anzac biscuit:
- Sift the flour into a bowl then add sugar, rolled oats and coconut
- Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the golden syrup and water
- Stir in the bicarbonate of soda
- Combine the liquid with the dry mix and
- Make small balls out of the mixture and bake at 175C for 15-20 minutes.
- Leave biscuits to cool for 15-20 minutes
This recipe is courtesy of Best Recipes.
You can also find earlier methods on the Australian War Memorial website.
Healthy Anzac biscuit recipes
To make an Anzac biscuit healthy, you can substitute key ingredients or reduce the amounts of some of the unhealthier ingredients – for example, using almond meal instead of plain flour, and reducing the amount of sugar in the mixture.
The Australian Healthy Food Guide lists both a healthy and traditional version of Anzac biscuits. In their healthy version, they replaced some of the flour with wholemeal flour reduced the amount of coconut and brown sugar substituted oil for the butter.
Popular chef Teresa Cutter, also known as The Healthy Chef, lists both a healthy version and a gluten free Anzac Biscuit recipe. The gluten-free version replaces oats with almond meal and flaked almonds.
For more than 100 years we’ve remembered the ANZACs. However you choose to commemorate Anzac Day this year, if you are enjoying an Anzac biscuit – don’t forget the all-important cup of tea!