On ANZAC day it is traditional to bake ANZAC biscuits. It creates a wonderful memory of childhood days past, of cooking dozens of dozens of biscuits on the old wood stove, of thin crisp crunchy ANZAC Biscuits more often than ANZAC Day comes around. I am a country girl, and these mega baking days were very common in our house when I was a child.
Don’t be fooled, this is a traditional recipe. None of those thick, soft biscuits that try to pass as ANZAC Biscuits can be found in this kitchen. No sultanas, raisins or other dried fruits in sight. Just thin ones that start on the tray as a lump, and gradually spread out and brown up nicely. Yep. Traditional. Just like my Grandmother made. With a cuppa tea, a good yarn and a wood fire.
Unlike many modern versions, particularly those made commercially or made to suit US tastes, this traditional ANZAC biscuit recipe produces flat, chewy biscuits tasting of caramel. Originally, in 1926, the ANZAC biscuits sent to the soldiers on the war fronts didn’t have coconut in them; that was a later addition, perhaps by the 1930s. These flat, chewy biscuits would pack easily and not crumble or break, and so could be transported easily to the soldiers.
You can read more about the history of ANZAC Biscuits here.
Using Bicarbonate of Soda in the recipe imparts a slightly different quality to the biscuits to what Baking Powder would do. It has a slightly tangy taste and it gives a lovely golden colour. It also makes a very specific texture not achievable with baking powder. It is very important to sift bicarbonate of soda well as it gets lumpy and to use very exact measures as the “tangy” taste can quite easily become bitter or soapy if too much is used.
Traditional Anzac Biscuits
Source: my traditional recipe – the one that I grew up with.
The proportions in the recipe are easy to remember and my Grandmother always made these without consulting a recipe.
Traditional Anzac Biscuits for Modern Kitchens
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup rolled oats (not instant oats)
0.5 cup coconut
0.5 cup butter
2 Tblspn Golden Syrup (essential, do not substitute)
1.0 tspn bi carb soda
2 Tblspn boiling water
1 large bowl and 2 small bowls
Preheat oven to 150C degrees if fan forced. If not, heat to 180C. Line oven trays with baking paper.
Mix flour, sugar, coconut and oats in a large bowl.
Place the golden syrup in a separate bowl. Heat it just a little over hot water or in the microwave until it is free flowing. Melt the butter and add to the Golden Syrup.
In another small bowl, add the boiling water to the bicarb soda and mix this with the golden syrup – butter mixture. Quickly pour this onto the dry ingredients and mix lightly, but enough to ensure that the ingredients are evenly distributed.
Using a dessert spoon, drop about 2 tspns of mixture onto the baking tray, leaving enough room for them to spread, and bake about 13 – 18 minutes until golden brown.
Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow to cool for 3 – 5 minutes before removing to a cake rack to cool completely.
Makes 3 dozen biscuits. The biscuits keep well in an airtight container or biscuit tin.
The top row are made with my Grandmother’s recipe, the bottom row are the Buttery ANZAC Biscuits.
recipe notes and alternatives
I get better results if I use bicarb soda that is already opened – not a fresh packet.
If the mixture seems a little dry, I will add just a tad more melted butter or another half Tblspn or so of boiling water.
I leave the mixture to sit for a couple of minutes while I line the trays. The first batch of biscuits has better results if I do this.