One of the food items that women in both countries sent to soldiers during the First World War was a hard, long-keeping biscuit that could survive the journey by sea, and still remain edible. These were known as Soldiers' Biscuits, but after the Gallipoli landings in 1915, they became known as Anzac Biscuits. Soldiers themselves may have made a similar form of biscuit from ingredients they had on hand: water, sugar, rolled oats and flour.
The traditional Anzac Biscuit is hard and flat - ideal for dunking in tea and then eating. During the First World War, some soldiers used broken biscuits to make a form of porridge to add some variety to their diet.
Over the years, softer and chewier versions of the biscuit have appeared. There are many recipes for Anzac Biscuits. Common to most is the inclusion of rolled oats, coconut, butter and golden syrup. Eggs almost never feature. This may be because eggs were in short supply during the First World War. Many varieties of biscuit do not have eggs, however, and like Anzac Biscuits rely instead on chemical rising agents such as bicarbonate of soda (baking soda).
There are stories of ladies baking these biscuits packed with goodness to send to their men folk fighting in the war- a tradition that still continues to this day. One of the reasons I love this whole story of these biscuits is its typical of the Kiwi simplicity and do-it -yourself way for caring. In times of disasters , its not uncommon for boxes of these biscuits to be made and sent to those in need.I think its due to the fact that these biscuits keep well and are hard crunchy ones- so they ship/post well. I hope you enjoy the recipe and think of the joy of the soldiers as they unpacked parcels from home of ANZAC Biscuits.
- 1 heaped cup of sifted flour
- 2 level teaspoons baking powder
- 1 small cup of sugar
- 1 heaped cup of coconut
- 1 heaped cup of rolled oats
- 4 oz/110 gm butter
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
Mix all the dry ingredients well together. Put the butter, golden syrup and water into a saucepan to melt and then add to the mixture. Take spoon fulls of the mixture and roll into balls and press down on a cold greased tray. Bake at 350 F/180 C for 15 to 20 minutes (if you are using a fan-forced oven then you will need to lower the temperature by up to 10 degrees centigrade and/or adjust the time). Leave to cool on a rack.