With Anzac Day approaching, there’s no better time to revisit the story behind the iconic Anzac biscuit.
First, let’s rewind – before the Anzac biscuit, there was hardtack. These tough, dry, and virtually imperishable crackers have been a mainstay for soldiers throughout history. Australian soldiers during World War I even sent hardtack home with messages written on them, and some of these durable crackers still survive 100 years later, exhibited at the Australian War Memorial.
These indestructible biscuits were made from flour, water, salt and sugar, and share a key feature with Anzac biscuits: no eggs.
This is where the Anzac biscuit story diverges.
sent to the war front?
Here’s the popular story: during the war, women back home were worried that there was little nutritional value in the food provided to soldiers fighting in the trenches. They wanted to ship over something that could survive the non-refrigerated, months-long trip to Gallipoli, and the solution came in the form of rolled oats biscuits. These would later be renamed Anzac biscuits. Because they used syrup instead of eggs as a binder, these biscuits did not easily spoil and would last the long, arduous journey to the soldiers.
Recent research appears to show this was not the case. There were indeed some rolled oat biscuits sent to Gallipoli, but their numbers were few.
sold on the home front
The lesser-told story of the Anzac biscuit is that they were sold at fundraisers, fêtes, parades and other public events as a money-raising tactic for the war effort. The lack of eggs in the recipe was due to their rarity during this period, with many poultry farmers having enlisted in the army. Originally referred to as “soldier’s biscuits” due to their association with the war, they gradually took on the name “Anzac biscuits” as the legend of the Anzac spirit grew.
Whatever their origins, these famed biscuits are an Australian icon, a reminder of the sacrifice of the soldiers who fought for our country and helped shape our national spirit. We gave this simple recipe a go and the results? Satisfied taste buds and a delightfully fragrant office. Why not grab a couple of your friends and try your hand at it this week?
things you need:
- 1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
- 150g unsalted butter, chopped
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
- 1 1/2 teaspoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
what to do:
- Preheat oven to 170C. Place the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- In a small saucepan place the golden syrup and butter and stir over low heat until the butter has fully melted. Mix the bicarb soda with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and add to the golden syrup mixture. It will bubble whilst you are stirring together so remove from the heat.
- Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined. Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on baking trays lined with non stick baking paper, pressing down on the tops to flatten slightly.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Or, order your favourite dessert now on foodora.
Recipe credit: taste.com.au