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The Wartime Biscuits You'll Actually Want to Eat

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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Sophie Thompson of What to Cook introduces us to a wartime biscuit with timeless appeal. 

ANZAC is short for the "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps" who fought in World War I, particularly those who landed at Gallipoli, where a battle against the then-Ottoman Empire took place on April 25, 1915. Anzac Day was inaugurated one year later to commemorate the first anniversary of the landing of the Anzac troops at Gallipoli. Today, the soldiers are memorialized through the ubiquitous Anzac biscuit.

Anzac Biscuits originated from the wives, mothers, and girlfriends who were concerned about the nutritional value of the food supplied to their men in Gallipoli. Because the ships took so long to get from Australia and New Zealand all the way over to Turkey, most of the food they shipped would go rancid on-board. So women at home came up with a solution using the spoil-proof ingredients that were readily available to them: oats, sugar, flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, baking soda, and water.

One-hundred years later, Anzac biscuits are still sold at supermarkets and bakeries all throughout the year in Australia and New Zealand. Store-bought versions, however, having nothing on homemade biscuits, which are so easy to make. Traditionally, Anzac biscuits are very crunchy, but I prefer the chewy version so I shortened the baking time to just 9 to 11 minutes. If you want to make the crunchy version, just bake them for approximately 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Chewy Anzac Biscuits

Makes 20 biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
2/3 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup finely desiccated coconut
125 grams butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons cold water
1/2 teaspoon baking soda


Preheat the oven to 320° F (285° F for convection ovens). Line a baking tray with parchment.

In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, flour, sugar, and coconut. Set aside. 


Place the butter, syrup, and cold water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir it for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the butter has melted, and then add the baking soda and mix into well combined.


Add the butter and syrup mixture to the oat mixture and combine well. Fill a tablespoon with cookie dough, level it off, and then form the scoops into balls. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet approximately 2 inches apart, using the back of a spoon to flatten each slightly.


Place the pan on a low rack of your oven and bake for 9 to 11 minutes, or until lightly golden. (If you prefer the traditional crunchier biscuit, bake them for 14 to 15 minutes.) Remove them from the oven and transfer the biscuits to a wire rack. Let them stand for 5 minutes to cool completely, then serve.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Are you a chewy or crispy fan? Tell us in the comments below! 

Photos by Sophie Thompson

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Tags: Food History, Small Batch