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The Anzac (biscuit) story

By Rebecca Davies
Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Anzac Day this Monday, time to enjoy one of Australia's favourite tea-time (or anytime) treats. Here's the story of how the Anzac biscuit came about.

The past…
Anzac biscuits have always been associated with Australian and New Zealand soldiers in World War I. Legend says that the wives, mothers and girlfriends left at home were concerned that their fighting men were not getting food of any nutritional value, so they cooked up a recipe for treats that they would both enjoy and nutritionally benefit from.

Made from ingredients including rolled oats, coconut, flour and sugar, these biscuits were ideal to send to soldiers abroad because they kept well and would survive the long transit to the frontlines. At first, they were named "soldiers biscuits", but were renamed Anzac biscuits upon landing in Gallipoli.

The present
Nowadays, Anzac biscuits are manufactured commercially and sold in supermarkets all year round. RSLs all over the country also regularly use them as a fundraising item to raise money for veteran soldiers. They have become worldwide fare and are apparently still issued to Canadian troops at Christmas time.

The recipe
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
125g butter
2 tablespoon golden syrup
1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Sift flour into a bowl and stir in oats, coconut and sugar. Melt butter, golden syrup and water in saucepan, then add bicarb. Stir into flour mixture. Place rounded teaspoons of mixture 5cm apart on greased baking trays and bake at 150°C for about 20 minutes or until biscuits feel almost firm. Remove from trays with spatula and leave to cool on wire racks.

The future
Here are a few yummy variations on what is already a great theme, plus a few ways you can use up your leftover Anzac biscuits this weekend.

Aussie mess: Bash up Anzac biscuits and stir them into whipped cream with chopped strawberries and mango.

Aromatic Anzacs: Add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg to the recipe above for aromatic, spiced biscuits.

Cake patriotic: Replace a regular cheesecake crust with a mixture of crushed Anzac biscuits, wattle seed and macadamia nuts.

Australia "fare" cookies: Add choc chips or little chunks of your fave chocolate bar to the recipe above.

Citrus soldiers biscuits: If citrus is your thing, add a dash of lemon juice and honey to the biscuit mix, then sprinkle with lemon zest before baking.

Gallipoli pie: Crush Anzac biscuits, mix with melted butter and press into a cake tin, then leave to cool for 2 hours. Top with caramel topping, banana slices, whipped cream and chocolate flakes.

ANZ-ing biccies: If you've got a taste for all things hot and fiery, add a pinch of ginger and a pinch of red chilli flakes to your Anzac biscuit mix.

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