Janny de Moor Janny de Moor

Anzac biscuits


Baking tools:

  • 3 baking trays, 40x 35 cm,
  • lined with non-stick baking paper


Dough, makes about 30 biscuits:

  • 125 g plain flour
  • 100 g quick cooking rolled oats
  • 100 g fine granulated sugar
  • 75 g desiccated grated coconut
  • 125 g butter
  • 2 full tbsp golden syrup
  • 7 g bicarbonate of soda
  • (baking soda)
  • 2 tbsp boiling water

These biscuits you can buy in any Australian and New Zealand super market. They are popular with backpackers travelling in the bush due to their lightweight and long storage life. This kind of biscuits is an English invention and probably not designed just for the taste but like hardtack for nourishment that keeps well.

Exactly for this reason the Anzac biscuits were devised around 1914. By worried mothers, wives and fiancées of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in Australia. Or was it New Zealand? There it is stated that they are ‘stolen’ from them. The fact of the matter is that these biscuits resemble very much the oatmeal cakes which are baked by the numerous immigrants from Scotland. Of course you find Scots in Australia too. All women made their cakes from ingredients which were always on hand: a  bale of flour and rolled oats for breakfast. They delivered them on board of the ships sailing to Gallipoli, where the Corps participated in the First World War. That took several months, because the ships made only 18,5 km an hour. Those biscuits could endure that easily.

The second half of April schoolchildren take the recipe home to bake the national cakes  for April 25, the Australian memorial day: ANZAC Day.

You have to taste them to realize that their long lasting popularity is definitely not only due to their shelf life.

  • Preheat the oven to 180˚C/350˚F/gas 4.
  • In a bowl mix the flour with oats, coconut and sugar. Make a well in the middle.
  • Melt butter and golden syrup in a pan over low heat, do not boil.
  • Dissolve baking soda in 2 tbsp boiling water. Remove the pan from the heat and mix with the butter syrup.
  • Pour the butter mixture into the well and from the middle blend everything well with a spoon.
  • Roll balls (17 g) from a leveled tablespoonful dough. Divide over the baking trays. Press down with greased hand palms into rounds of about 7 cm. These will expand a bit, so leave some room in between.
  • Bake about 10 minutes on the middle shelf until deep brown. Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes. Then place the biscuits with a cake server onto a wire rack. When cool store in an airtight container.

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