Anzac biscuits

Ever heard of an Anzac cookie? No, me neither. At the care home where I worked during the summer, the cook baked a few batches of these strange new new delicacies, and offered me one – and I really rather liked them. Their defining feature is coconut, although you can add to them whatever else you wish.

I followedย this simple BBC GoodFoodย recipe, from which I also discovered the namesake of these biscuits: they were made to serve the Australian and New Zealand corps (ANZAC) during the First World War. Anzac Day (25th April) is celebrated in those countries to commemorate those who lost their lives. According to our trusty friend Wikipedia, the wives of soliders sent these biscuits because they didn’t spoil quickly. What an education baking gives you.

So I gave them a little go.

You’ll need:

  • 85g porridge oats
  • 85g desiccated coconut
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g butter, plus extra butter for greasing
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line two baking trays with paper.

Melt the butter in a saucepan, and once it’s melted, stir in the golden syrup. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in two tablespoons of boiling water, and add it to the pan – it’ll go frothy.

In a small bowl, mix the oats, flour, sugar, and coconut. Make a well in the centre, and pour in the liquid mixture, stirring to incorporate. I added three handfuls of sultanas at this point – you could also add chocolate chunks, or another variety of dried fruit (I think cranberries could be a winner.)

Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking trays; you may need to squish them into balls in your hands beforehand. They won’t spread too much. Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden brown.

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I’ve never tried coconut in a cookie, but it’s definitely something I’ll be making again; and the sultanas added a lovely sweetness to complement the nutty taste. Thank you to the wives of the Anzac corps!

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