Anzac biscuits originated in war-time and were, so the story goes, a popular biscuit sent by Australian and New Zealander wives to their soldier husbands serving overseas. The biscuits are egg-free (like so many war-time recipes), keep well and are robust enough to withstand transportation. There are stories on-line that the military-issued Anzac biscuits were quite different to these lovely home-baked treats; made from hard tack – a long life bread substitute made from flour, water and salt – the soldiers referred to them as ‘dog biscuits’, ‘tooth dullers’, ‘sheet iron’, ‘molar breakers’ and I suspect several other names that I wouldn’t be able to include on my nice, family friendly blog!
I made two batches of biscuits; the classic version and a chocolate chip version. The latter is identical to the former but for the addition of some chocolate chips, which melted due to the hot butter. Both were lovely! The biscuits were crisp and chewy with a lovely buttery taste. These aren’t tiny, thin little biscuits that you eat without knowing; these are substantial hearty biscuits – perfect with a big mug of tea.
This recipe came from the BBC Good Food site (I love that site!); some of the commenters said the mix was too dry and they had to add milk. To combat this, in my chocolate batch, I added 2 tablespoons of golden syrup which is why they spread much more than my plain batch (which used 1 tablespoon). You don’t need any extra liquid and I think I twigged why people may have had a problem. The key to shaping these biscuits is to do it while the butter is still warm; as soon as it starts to cool the mix becomes crumbly. Work quickly and it’s fine.
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
85g porridge oats
85g desiccated coconut
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
Optional: 100g milk chocolate chips