ANZAC Biscuits are classic, traditional Australian biscuits made on ANZAC Day (and any other day of the year). They were commonly sent to the troops in the First World War and are named after the soldiers. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
The ANZAC biscuit was called a variety of other names before 1915, and the current name came in to use after the battle on Gallipoli Beach in Turkey. The first version of this rolled-oat based biscuit reportedly appeared around 1823, and over the next century took on various names such as Surprise Biscuits, Rolled Oat Biscuits, Munchies, Nutties and Crispies. Then around the early WWI years the name changed to Red Cross Biscuits and Soldier’s Biscuits. They were used as a form of fundraising, so they gave them a war connected name which helped sell them. The biscuits quickly became a popular food to send to Australia’s overseas forces, due to their accessible ingredients, easy cooking method, and lack of eggs that meant the biscuits kept well.
It is said that they were also known as Army Biscuit, ANZAC Wafer and ANZAC Tile, and were essentially a long shelf-life, hard tack biscuit which was eaten as a substitute for bread. The biscuits are very, very hard. Some soldiers preferred to grind them up and eat as porridge. They were made commercially from flour, sugar, milk powder and sugar.
Early on there was a home version of the ANZAC Biscuit that included eggs and that were sandwiched together with jam.