The Anzac biscuit recipe is one of significance in Australia and New Zealand. Folks enjoy these biscuits on the 25th April each year, as a way to commemorate military personnel in both countries who have served in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.
History of Anzac biscuits
A recipe similar to the Anzac biscuit was first written in 1823. At the time they were known by various names such as crispies or surprise biscuits. However, the biscuits became part of the fundraising effort in the early years of World War One. As such the name changed to soldiers biscuits and red cross biscuits, which eventually became Anzac biscuits.
The recipe was popular at the time because the ingredients were readily available, even during the war. But also because they didn’t contain eggs. This meant they kept well and lasted the journey when sent to the soldiers.
The origins of the Anzac biscuit recipe have been difficult to uncover. However, a South Australian woman was identified as having the original in her notebook. This version did not include coconut and has been dated at around 1919. The second version, that did include coconut, was first published in 1924. This version is now the closest recipe to the one most people use today.
If you’d like to know more, take a look at this article from the ABC by Eloise Fuss. It’s based on 18 months of research completed by culinary historian Allison Reynolds.
Ingredients you’ll need for these Anzac biscuits
As with the original recipe all these ingredients are easy to find. The only one that may be tricky is the spelt flour. That being said, it’s certainly available at my local supermarket, though I know stock varies.
- Rolled oats – because it’s not Anzac biscuits without them! This is also the reason it’s really not possible to make them gluten free. To clarify, some brands do label their oats as gluten free. At this time though, Coeliac Australia’s stance is that most oats on supermarket shelves in Australia are potentially contaminated.
- Desiccated coconut – the modern touch to the Anzac biscuit. As noted in the history above, this ingredient wasn’t in the original recipe. I love the added flavour though!
- White spelt flour – this has a better nutritional profile than plain white flour making it one of my preferred when baking.
- Coconut oil – this is replacing butter in the original recipe, which makes them vegan and also means that those with dairy intolerances can enjoy them too.
- Maple syrup – a wonderful natural sweetener filled with minerals. It’s always my go to when baking.
- Rapadura sugar – this still contains molasses making it a less refined sugar. It also has a better nutritional profile than white sugar.
- Baking soda – this acts as a leavening agent that helps the biscuits rise while baking.
Are Anzac biscuits chewy or crunchy?
The original Anzac biscuits were crunchy. They had to be, to ensure they’d make it on the long journey to the soldiers on the front lines. These days people have their preferences though and many recipes oblige by providing a chewier biscuit. I’ve explained how that can occur in the troubleshooting section below. This recipe is closer to crunchy – but there is a bit of chewiness in there too.
How to make Anzac biscuits step by step
This is a super easy recipe. The biscuits come together in a few simple steps and bake quickly too.
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) and get your baking tray ready.
2. Add the dry ingredients to one bowl and mix well.
3. Combine wet ingredients, add in the combined baking soda and water then add the liquids to the dry mix.
4. Take 1.5 Tablespoons of the mixture, and form into biscuits on the prepared baking tray. Flatten slightly with your hand or the bottom of a glass before cooking.
5. Bake for 12-14 mins or until golden. Allow to cool completely before eating.
There’s really only two things to look out for here:
- Your batter is too wet. As a result, your biscuits become chewy, instead of crunchy. You may want this of course if you’re team chewy, which is fine! But if you want them crunchy, you need to get the mix just right.
- Your batter is too dry, and subsequently it’s impossible to shape the biscuits.
In the first instance, you can add a touch more flour or desiccated coconut to absorb the excess moisture. In the second, you want to add a touch more liquid because your mix is too dry. You can add in more maple syrup, some melted coconut oil or even a little water. Just do it a tablespoon at a time so it doesn’t flip the other way and become too wet!
Now, are you ready to make these Anzac biscuits? Watch the quick video below, then get started!
- 1.5 cups rolled oats
- 1.5 cups desiccated coconut
- 1/2 cup white spelt flour
- 1/4 cup rapadura sugar (can use brown sugar if this is what you have)
- 100 g coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (can also use honey or golden syrup if this is what you have)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp boiling water
- Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) and line a biscuit tray with baking paper.
- Add the rolled oats, desiccated coconut, spelt flour, and rapadura sugar to a bowl and mix well to combine.
- Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan over a low heat, then add in the maple syrup and stir to lightly mix it with the oil and warm it. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside briefly.
- Add the boiling water to the baking soda to dissolve it then add to the oil/maple syrup mix. Stir until it froths up, then immediately add the liquid mix to the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir well to combine. *see note below if the mix doesn't froth.
- Take roughly 1.5 Tablespoons of the biscuit mix and roll it into a ball. Place on the biscuit tray and flatten with the bottom of a glass or your hands. Repeat until all the biscuit mix has been used.
- Place the tray in the oven and cook for 12 to 14 minutes or until the biscuits are golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before enjoying!
So what’s your preference? Do you like your Anzac biscuits chewy or crunchy? Let me know in the comments below.
Want some more sweet recipes? Take a look at my vegan chocolate mousse for starters!