Sam’s historical recipe corner: Anzac biscuits

Ahead of The Great British Bake Off on BBC One tonight, picture editor Sam Nott recreates Anzac biscuits - a sweet treat sent out to New Zealand and Australian troops serving in Gallipoli during the First World War

Anzac biscuits are associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
Anzac biscuits are associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Tasty, nutritious and easy to make, it’s not surprising that Anzac biscuits are still a popular snack in Australia and New Zealand, particularly on Anzac Day (25 April), which marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

 

Ingredients

85g porridge oats

85g desiccated coconut

100g plain flour

100g caster sugar

100g butter, plus extra for greasing

1 tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

 

Method

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.

Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.

Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets – about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading. Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

My verdict

I’ve often read that Anzac biscuits were sent out to New Zealand and Australian troops serving in Gallipoli during the First World War. According to the National Army Museum, though, this is a myth and most of these deliciously chewy biscuits were in fact sold at fetes and galas at home, often as part of fundraising efforts. You can imagine, though, that they would have been an ideal biscuit for soldiers: hearty, nutritious and long-lasting. 

On a Monday morning, the BBC History Magazine team tucked into a few that had been left in the office all weekend: they still tasted just as good!

 

Difficulty: 2/10

Time: 20 minutes

Recipe courtesy of BBC Good Food.

This article was first published in the July 2014 issue of BBC History Magazine

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