Anzac biscuits

Today is Anzac Day – a holiday in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all those who lost their lives in service during times of war. It’s a fairly solemn day of remembrance, with dawn services, parades and ceremonies. The 25th April next year will commemorate the centenary of the landing of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) troops at Gallipoli in Turkey, where over 8,000 Australian soldiers lost their lives in a campaign that lasted just 8 months. I’ve been lucky enough to go and it’s a very emotionally charged, powerful experience.

I have dual nationality – Australian and British – and so I’ve grown up celebrating Anzac Day even though it’s not a national holiday here in England. Usually we meet up with our Australian friends who live close by for a BBQ, and we always make Anzac biscuits. The story goes (and I’m not sure how much truth there is to this!) that these biscuits were made by the women back home in Australia and were sent out to the troops on the front line. They don’t contain eggs or butter like traditional biscuits do, so they keep for a long time. Everybody’s got their own variation on the recipe; some like them crunchy and dunked in a cuppa’tea, others think they should be chewy… But the simple fact is that whatever their origin and however you make them – they’ve become part of the day, part of the tradition and part of the celebration.

Ingredients:

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

Method:

Preheat your oven – my Mum’s recipe just says it should be ‘slow’ so I went for 130°C (fan forced).
Measure out and combine the oats, flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl.
In a saucepan, mix together the butter with the golden syrup and melt them on a low heat (keep stirring!). 
Add the bicarb. soda to the water and mix well – although it won’t all dissolve – then add it to the butter and syrup.

Finally, add the butter mixture to the dry ingredients whilst it’s still warm, and combine. Scoop up small handfuls of the ‘dough’, roll it into balls and put them on a baking tray (I’d recommend greasing it with some butter or lining it with greaseproof paper). Be careful to leave space between the biccies because they do spread out during baking.

Put them into the oven and leave them to cook for around 20 minutes. Once they’re out of the oven, move them to a rack to cool down – although, they’re pretty great when they’re still warm! 
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