When I received my BBC Good Food magazine this month I was delighted to see a recipe for Anzac Biscuits. This is a recipe that brings back a lot of memories for me. I had a pen pal in New Zealand as a child. Receiving a blue air mail letter with stories of life in another country was always a delight. From my pen pal I learnt about kiwi birds, the cute flightless birds that inhabit New Zealand. Tikis were another discovery, I found out about them when she sent me a soap on a rope in the shape of one.
We also used to swap recipes. Recipe books for children were light and easy to post via air mail. We exchanged a few of these. One of the books contained a recipe for Anzac biscuits. I made these with my mum and they were a big success, tasty and chewy biscuits with great flavour. Many of the books she sent me are still on my shelve. I will have to read them again and discover new recipes. Sadly as we got older we lost touch. When you become a teenager writing to friends overseas becomes less of a priority as you get caught up in your own life.
History of Anzac Biscuits
Anzac biscuits are a biscuit that have long been associated with Australia and New Zealand. These days we think of an Anzac biscuit as a sweet biscuit which is made from rolled oats, coconut, flour and sugar. Legend has it that the wives and mothers of Australian and New Zealand soldiers fighting in World War I made these biscuits to send to their men. The biscuits would keep well during transit and had great nutritional value to the men. Really the biscuits were probably made to sell at home during events set up to raise money for the war effort. The association of the biscuits with the war effort led to them becoming known as Anzac biscuits.
Originally Anzac biscuits were the hard-tack biscuits given to World War I soldiers as part of their rations. These very hard biscuits are a substitute for bread and have the advantage they do not go mouldy Soldiers sent to Galipoli would have a plentiful supply of these biscuits as fresh food and water was difficult to come by. The biscuits were so hard and durable they could be used for other purposes, some were even used to send messages home to loved ones.
From the 1920’s on cookery books include recipes for the sweet version of Anzac biscuits. They are normally served on Anzac day, a day of remembrance that falls on the day of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landing at Gallipoli, in Turkey. It is a day to commemorate all Australian and New Zealand service men and women who have served and died in all wars and conflicts. The biscuit is great to eat at any time though and perfect with a cup of tea.
Anzac biscuit recipe
Anzac biscuits are really simple to make. For a small amount of effort you are rewarded with a rich tasty biscuit that keeps well. To make them all you need to do is to mix sugar, desiccated coconut, flour and oats together in a bowl. Melted butter and golden syrup with some bicarbonate of soda that has been added to hot water is added to the dry mixture. All of this gets mixed together and the mixture placed on a baking tray and baked. The addition of the bicarbonate to the boiling water and then the butter and sugar mixture results in it frothing up. The frothy mixture creates a feeling that you really are cooking up magic. Once cool the biscuits are ready to eat.
- 90g rolled oats
- 120g plain flour
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 90g dessicated coconut
- 175g butter
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of sugar
- Preheat the oven to 140C Gas Mark 1
- Grease and line two baking trays with baking parchment
- In a bowl mix together the sugar, coconut, flour and oats
- Melt the butter and golden syrup in a small pan over a low heat
- Add 1 tbsp boiling water to a bowl with the bicarbonate of soda and mix it
- Add the bicarbonate of soda mixture to the butter mixture
- Tip into the dry ingredients and mix together.
- Divide into 16 spoonfuls and place on the baking tray
- Bake for 18-20 minutes.
- If they stick together separate while they are warm
Making ice cream sandwiches with Anzac biscuits
Once the biscuits had been made it struck me they would make the perfect base for ice cream sandwiches. The biscuits are firm and chewy and will not go soggy when you add the ice cream between two of them. The Anzac biscuits added a layer of taste that perfectly complemented the ice cream. The ice cream sandwiches were a success.
To stop kids being bored over the Summer holidays why not try making biscuits with them and turning the results into ice cream sandwiches. It will bring you some peace while they eat. Providing different flavours of ice cream will allow them to chose their own fillings. You could even allow them to add sprinkles and sweets to make really creative ice cream sandwiches. I also have a list of ideas for keeping the kids happy over the holidays if you need more inspiration.
If you like this idea why not pin it for later?