Australian ANZAC biscuit recipe


The ANZAC biscuit, named for the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, was created as a bread substitute during the first world war. At the time eggs were in short supply and they were said to have been baked by those at home and sent to soldiers fighting in Europe. They are essentially a long shelf-life, hard tack biscuit that was able to survive the long transport by sea. It’s been reported that the original was so hard that many soldiers would grind them up to eat as a porridge.

Today the ANZAC biscuit is commercially made and sold in Australia and New Zealand were it remains very popular. The modern version does not have the dentist pleasing hardness of the original and is more of a hard cookie.

Below are an older version and a modern recipe for the ANZAC biscuit.

Authentic Recipe

Makes six biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 1½ cups flour
  • 3 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp milk powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup water

Method:

  1. Combine flours and baking powder in a large bowl.
  2. Add sugar and milk powder and combine with fingers.
  3. Form dry ingredients into a pile and form a well in the centre.
  4. Dissolve salt in the water, pour into the well in the flour mixture and thoroughly work the flour into the water until a lumpy dough is formed.
  5. Turn out onto a pastry board and work by pulling apart and rolling and working the pieces into balls, worked together and repeated until well combined into a hard dough.
  6. Allow to dough to rest for ½ an hour.
  7. Heat oven to 390°F
  8. Roll the dough out into a ¼ inch thick sheet and cut into 3½ inch squares. preferably by pressing with the edge of a steel ruler or other dull edge rather than slicing with a knife. The pressing action helps to join the top and bottom surfaces and will improve the lift when baked.
  9. puncture each biscuit several times with a fork making rows of holes.
  10. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet ¼ inch apart and use any leftover dough to form a “wall” around the outside to keep edges from burning.
  11. Place on lower oven rack and bake for 30-40 minutes taking care to avoid burning.

Modern Version

makes approx. 48 cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Quaker Oats
  • ¾ cup unsweetened dry coconut
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 4 oz butter
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp corn syrup

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Lightly grease 2 cookie sheets.
  3. In a large bowl combine oats, coconut, flour and sugar.
  4. Combine butter and syrup in saucepan and stir over low heat until butter melts.
  5. dissolve baking soda in boiling water and add to melted butter mixture.
  6. Stir mixture into dry ingredients and mix well.
  7. Drop teaspoonfuls of batter onto cookie sheets and flatten somewhat.
  8. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  9. Cool on trays for a few minutes, then carefully remove to wire racks.
  10. Store in airtight containers.
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