In addition to a recipe, I also thought it incredibly important to include the history of the ANZAC biscuit. This is a recipe that stays true to that which was cooked in the kitchens of our great great Grandmothers during WW1. It is heartwarming to know that the love that these women demonstrated for our soldiers lives on in our kitchens today.
During World War 1, the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Here was a problem. Any food they sent to the fighting men had to be carried in the ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of these were lucky to maintain a speed of ten knots (18.5 kilometers per hour). Most had no refrigerated facilities, so any food sent had to be able to remain edible after periods in excess of two months. A body of women came up with the answer - a biscuit with all the nutritional value possible. The basis was a Scottish recipe using rolled oats. These oats were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that helped counteract the extremely cold climate.
The ingredients they used were: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called Soldiers’ Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
2 tbsp golden syrup (or treacle)
1 tsbp water
1/2 tsp baking soda
Combine all of your dry ingredients. Place butter, syrup and water in a saucepan and stir over a medium heat until butter has melted. Stir in the baking soda before combining wet and dry ingredients. Roll tablespoons of the mixture into balls and press firmly to flatten. Bake in a 160 degree oven for 15 minutes.
This recipe gives you biscuits with a crunchy outer and a soft middle. If you prefer you ANZAC biscuits really crunchy, flatten them more on the tray before they go in the oven and cook for 20 minutes instead of the stated 15.