Australia: Anzac Biscuits

Australia's first settlers brought with them the tastes of 18th century Great Britain. Their familiar dishes such as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding, Irish stew and steamed pudding were, for most of the year, totally unsuitable for the harsh climate and conditions. Today, influenced by the large number of immigrants from Mediterranean, Asian and other countries, Australia's menus now reflect their multicultural society.

All Australians know and love Anzac biscuits. They originated during World War One and now they are well-loved biscuits that are eaten all year round in Australia and New Zealand, and are often described to visitors as being a traditional food.

The word ANZAC is, in fact, an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac Day, held every year in both countries on 25 April, commemorates all who’ve died in war fighting for the two countries.

The generally accepted story is that Anzac biscuits were first made by Australian and New Zealand women to send to soliders fighting in World War One. Folklore says that ingredients, especially rolled oats and golden syrup, were relatively easy to source during war time, and that the resulting nutritious biscuits kept fresh for a long time.

Some research suggests that really, Anzac biscuits are made simply following an original recipe for Oatmeal biscuits, and that the name Anzac biscuits didn’t get mentioned until some years after the war, in 1921. But this story isn’t of interest to most Australians and New Zealands – they are happy to consider Anzac biscuits a wartime tradition and to associate it with the “spirit” of their countries.

Incidentally, the word Anzac is a protected phrase, and can’t usually be used: but the authorities in Australia have granted an exception for Anzac biscuits, on the proviso they are never marketed as Anzac cookies, only biscuits.

Anzac Biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
4 oz butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix oats, flour, sugar and coconut together. Melt syrup and butter together. Mix baking soda with boiling water and add to melted butter and syrup. Add to the dry ingredients while it is still foaming.

Grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper. Place spoonfuls of the dough (approx. 1 tbs each) on baking sheet approximately 2" apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and remove from baking sheet to racks to cool.

1 comment:

Foodycat said...

If you want to try another Australian biscuit (not as iconic, but MUCH tastier IMO) have a crack at the passionfruit melting moment. Great blog!