We have our Aussie and Kiwi friends to thank for these absolutely scrumptious biscuits! Let me explain why. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance which is celebrated every year on 25 April – the anniversary of the Anzac’s landing at Gallipoli, in Turkey during World War I.

Anzac biscuits contain no eggs, as these were scarce during the war. Many people believe that the biscuits were sent with soldiers by their wives as they were not only a good source of energy but also kept well during transportation. If you do a little research you’ll find that this is in fact a myth. The truth is that the biscuits were commonly sold at galas, fetes and parades to raise money to support the war effort. It is this connection with the war that led to them being called Anzac biscuits.

From a South African perspective, one could compare Anzac Biscuits to our much-loved Crunchies. These are a little crispier and less oaty, more biscuity! Simply delicious.
Orange zest is a very non-traditional addition to the recipe. So if you want to go for a more authentic biscuit, leave this out. Personally, I love the little hint of citrus though. (Apparently, very early recipes did not contain coconut either).

If I haven’t convinced you to give these a try yet – may I just say they are incredibly easy to make! With not much more than a bowl, wooden spoon and a baking tray you can have a batch in the oven in 10 minutes.

Ingredients:

200g butter
60ml golden syrup
10ml vanilla extract
The finely grated zest of 2 oranges (optional)
10ml bicarbonate of soda
100ml boiling water
250g flour
150g rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
200g castor sugar
150g dessicated coconut
A pinch of salt

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  • Melt together the butter and golden syrup in a small pan (or in the microwave).
  • Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the boiling water, then stir into the butter mixture. Allow to cool slightly then add the vanilla extract and orange zest.
  • Add all the dry ingredients to a large bowl, and stir together well. Gradually add the wet ingredients and mix well to combine.
  • Scoop up half tablespoonfuls of dough (if you have a half tablespoon measure this is really easy and keeps all the biscuits the same size, otherwise do heaped teaspoonfuls) and roll into balls. Place the balls on the lined baking tray, about 3cm apart and push down with the back of a spoon or your hand to flatten.
  • Bake for 8 minutes, until golden brown all over. Leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes then remove and cool completely on a wire cooling rack.
  • The biscuits should be crisp on the outside and chewy in the middle. If you prefer them more chewy, bake for 7 minutes and remove from the hot tray after 2 minutes.