Anzac Day is coming up and for me it’s very sentimental – at the age of 16, I started my chef’s apprenticeship in a Services Club. I can remember arriving to work very early on the most signifcant day of the year and heating up warm milk with rum and serving hot savory mince on toast for the Diggers when they came back to the club after the dawn service. I felt really important. I look back on those days and can still see all the wonderful men and women so proud in their uniforms, and I feel privileged to have been a part of it.
There are many traditions associated with our war times, and Anzac Biscuits are inextricably tied to the folklore of Australia’s World War I Diggers.
While there is a romantic sentiment attached to the iconic treat today, back in the early 1900’s there were practical reasons as to why the Anzac biscuit became so popular.
They were called army or tile biscuits because they were large and hard: some of the soldiers ground them up and made porridge. Both Australia and New Zealand had an extensive number of Scottish immigrants and descendants, so some say that the original recipe was based on a Scottish biscuit recipe.
One important feature of the national biscuit is the simple ingredient list made up of items that didn’t spoil easily. The original ingredients were oats, ﬂour, milk powder, sugar and water. Then in the 1920s cookbooks had the addition of coconut and butter, which made them crispy and more palatable. The biscuits were less common in WW2 as ships had better refrigeration, allowing goods such as fruitcake to be transported to troops stationed overseas.
The following has the traditional ingredients, and to give it a “Taste of Tamborine” I like to add 2 things that grow prolifcally on our mountain: macadamias and ginger. Chop ¼ cup of nuts and grate a teaspoon of fresh ginger.
Traditional Anzac Biscuits
- 1 cup plain ﬂour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ¾ cup castor sugar
- 1 cup coconut
- 125 g butter
- 2 tbsp. golden syrup
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- Sift the ﬂour into a bowl. Add the sugar, rolled oats and coconut.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the golden syrup and water.
- Stir the bicarbonate of soda into the liquid mixture.
- Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Place walnut-sized balls of mixture on a greased tray and bake at 175°C for 10-15 minutes.
- Biscuits will harden when cool.
November 18, 2016 / Uncategorized / thechef