ANZAC DAY | Traditional recipe for Anzac biscuits; munch on a bit of history

TOP TREAT: Today's larger Anzac biscuit with coconut and oats is a far cry from the biscuit of 100 years ago, designed to be simply nutritious and easy to carry for soldiers.
TOP TREAT: Today's larger Anzac biscuit with coconut and oats is a far cry from the biscuit of 100 years ago, designed to be simply nutritious and easy to carry for soldiers.

Todays Anzac biscuit, a sweet and tasty coconut and oat-filled treat, is a far cry from the biscuit it was some 100 years ago.

SCROLL DOWN FOR THE HISTORIC RECIPE

Often baked larger than the palm of a hand, the humble Anzac biscuit was once not much bigger than a penny.

The recipe of the early 20th century called for crisp oats, but by the 1980s had fewer oats and chewy coconut was added.

Originally the basic biscuit was designed to be nutritious and easy to transport for soldiers on the frontline.

An Australian Imperial Force padre in 1915, John Fahey, said the biscuit's inventor was an unmitigated rascal.

As an eatable there is little to choose between it and a seasoned jarrah board, Fr Fahey said.

The biscuits were based on a Scottish recipe for Soldiers Biscuits and were renamed Anzacs after the Gallipoli landing in World War I.

By the time of World War II, military ships had on board refrigeration, lessening the need for self-preserving food, such as Anzac biscuits.

In Australia the biscuits were sold at public fundraising events to support the war effort, and later returned soldiers.

Even at just over 100 years on, the unsuspecting Anzac biscuit, in its various forms, is still well and truly an Australian favourite.

RECIPE

Traditional ingredients, as listed by the Country Women's Association in 1933:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
  • 2 tbsp boiling water

you can also add:

  • 3/4 cup desiccated coconut

Method:

Preheat oven to slow 150C. Brush two oven trays with melted butter or oil. Place flour, oats, coconut and sugar in a large mixing bowl, stir until combined.

Combine butter and golden syrup in small pan, stir over high heat until melted. Mix soda with boiling water, add to melted butter and syrup. Add to flour mixture, stir until combined.

Shape level tablespoonsful of mixture into balls and flatten slightly; place onto prepared trays, about 6 cm apart.

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