I’m often asked for examples of classic New Zealand food, and to be honest, I struggle to answer as it’s such a multicultural country. Except for Hangi, Bacon & Egg Pie and maybe Pavlova (let’s not open that Australasian kettle of arguments), ANZAC Biscuits are perhaps one of the most iconic Kiwi/Australian recipes. They’re excellent for curing homesickness.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a no egg, low flour cookie recipe, you’ve come to the right place. (They’re also super easy to make as gluten-free biscuits.)
It has been claimed the biscuits were invented and sent by wives to the ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corp) soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during their naval transportation, due to the lack of eggs and preservative in the sugar.
But, “contrary to popular belief there were no ANZAC biscuits at Gallipoli. The standard Army biscuit at this time was a rock-hard tooth breaker also called a ship’s biscuit. The majority of rolled oats biscuits were in fact sold and consumed at fetes, galas, parades and other public events at home, to raise funds for the war effort. This connection to the troops serving overseas led to them being referred to as “soldier’s biscuits”. Fundraising was coordinated by local Patriotic Funds, raising 6.5 million pounds for the New Zealand war effort.”
We eat ANZAC biscuits at other times of the year as well, but they play a special significance in April – especially on ANZAC Day, the 25th, where we remember the soldiers who were incredibly brave.
As a standalone biscuit, they are delicious – they are a perfect accompaniment to tea (and lovely dunked). Their texture is unbeatable – crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Their golden appearance owes much to the golden syrup which is a key ingredient, but the texture is squarely down to my favourite combination of Oats and Coconut.
They are also very good for fuelling up for attending a Dawn Parade. I will see you there with rations!
- Mix together the dry ingredients; the flour, sugar, rolled oats and coconut in a bowl.
- In a saucepan melt butter and golden syrup.
- Add the baking soda to the butter & golden syrup.
- Once it foams, stir butter mixture into the dry ingredients.
- Place level tablespoonful of mixture onto cold greased trays.
- Bake at 180’C for 10-15min or until golden. As they cool they’ll crisp up.
Makes around 20. For a perfect circular shape, whilst they’re hot out of the oven, use a cookie shaper or something circular like a mason jar lid to swirl around the edges of the cookie – but they’re just as delicious with a natural shape.
If you want to add sultanas or toasting flacks of almonds to ANZAC biscuits you can, but I love them in their classic form.
What’s your favourite biscuits – perhaps one that reminds you of home?
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