anzac biscuits

The Anzac biscuit - a national culinary treasure.
The Anzac biscuit – a national culinary treasure.

Anzac Day marks the anniversary of the battle at Gallipoli during the First World War, where many soldiers died during the campaign to capture Constantinople. It is said that Australia’s national identity, the ‘Anzac spirit’, was forged during that brutal campaign – a defining moment for a relatively new nation. It is a day of solemnity where we think about our troops, the fallen and the sacrifices they and their families have made to keep us safe.

Naturally, we also commemorate the day with biscuits.

Crunchy and chewy and golden and delicious.
Crunchy and chewy and golden and delicious.

It might seem strange that a day that inspires so much thoughtfulness, sadness and gratitude in Aussies should be accompanied by something as irreverent as a biscuit – but in some ways, there’s nothing more fitting.

Made with rolled oats, flour, coconut and golden syrup (and egg-free to ensure no spoilage on the long journey to the troops), Anzac biscuits are a national culinary symbol right up there with lamingtons and Tim Tams.

Oh, and you can’t call an Anzac biscuit a cookie. We’re a little touchy about that.

Fresh from the oven
Fresh from the oven

Wholemeal flour works really well in this recipe because the biscuits are already grainy and slightly nutty, so I substituted the whole lot. Rumour has it that you can actually make quite a few substitutions without affecting the final taste too much, but for the original crunchy-on-the-outside, slightly-chewy-on-the-inside biscuits I love this recipe.

Anzac biscuits (makes 24)
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup wholemeal flour
²⁄3 cup (150g) caster sugar
¾ cup (60g) desiccated coconut
¹⁄3 cup golden syrup
125g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons hot water

Mix the oats, flour, sugar and coconut together in a large bowl.

Place the butter and golden syrup over a low heat until melted.

Mix the baking soda with the hot water and then add to the butter/syrup mixture. It will froth up.

Pour this into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Oats are delicious!
Oats are delicious!

Shape into flat discs of about 5cm across – they spread quite far, so you need to give them a lot of room on the baking sheet.

Bake at 165 degrees celcius for around 10 minutes, until golden. They’ll come out soft, but let them cool for five minutes on the tray before transferring them to a wire rack and they’ll crisp up nicely.

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