22 April 2012

ANZAC Biscuits: Lest we Forget

It all began at Brittany's birthday party.

It was April 1999, and my classmates and I had been playing Cowboys and Indians* in her garden; jumping from thick concrete walls and hiding behind trees. I was, with my it-is-boring-to-play-the-hero-and-I-have-always-liked-evil-monsters-anyway attitude, an evil Indian war lord (my name was 'Great Plains'). My friend Tabea was my Indian son 'Totem pole' and Brittany herself was either my wife or my daughter. I don't remember which, and besides, it isn't very important. Everybody else – about ten or twelve kids – were cowboys. Now I do realise it may sound strange for only three Native Americans to fight against ten cowboys, so let my clarify. Tabea and I were, to put it mildly, a little more violent/crazy/wild back then, and with that taken into consideration, the teams were even - we really did give the cowboys a run for their money. It was a glorious battle, but a little wild. And after I literally jumped on the cowboy-leader, yelling from the top of my lungs and attempted to scalp him with a leaf, Brittany's mum decided the game had gone too far.

''Do you kids want a biscuit?''

We all looked up. She was standing by the door, holding a plate of thick biscuits. Shrugging off my scepticism of a cookie without chocolate (!), I gratefully took one and asked what they were called. She smiled and told me they were called Anzac Biscuits, and that they were a traditional Australian biscuit made every 25th of April. Tabea noted that the biscuits couldn't possibly be good if people only made them once a year, but we had just watched the Berenstain Bears' Forgot their Manners film and we didn't want to be rude. After one bite, I was hooked. They were delicious. It wasn't long before Tabea and I returned to the kitchen. ''Can I get you anything?'' Brittany's mum asked kindly. ''Would you like another cookies, perhaps?'' Before we knew it, we were covered in cookie crumbles, oats in our hair and coconut on our dresses. Without realising it, we had missed cake, candies and ice cream. Our missed snacks were the furthest thing from our mind; we nearly even forgot we had won the battle.

I never forgot that birthday party. Nor did I forget the biscuits. When an Australian exchange student came to my school, I asked her for a recipe. After all those years, I wanted my Anzac biscuits to be properly Australian. I mean, Brittany and her mum's cookies were Australian, so it just made sense to keep the level up. So, after thirteen years, five schools, countless of cookies and birthday parties and three transcontinental moves, I still loved those biscuits more than any other. They were just was I had imagined :)

*The term 'Native American' did not enter the scene before 1st Grade :-)

Do you celebrate Anzac day? Do you make Anzac biscuits?

Happy Anzac Day (on Wednesday)!

ANZAC Biscuits

For those of you who are interested in the history behind the biscuits: Anzac tiles were part of the rations given to Australian and New Zealand soldiers instead of bread during World War I. But they were so hard that many soldiers had to grind them into a type of porridge, just to make them palatable. Fortunately for the soldiers, they had loving mothers, wives and girlfriends back home who decided enough was enough and developed their own kind of cookie, based on the Scottish oatcake. Besides oats, the remaining ingredients – sugar, flour, coconut, butter, syrup and baking soda, were used because they would be able to withstand the long journey from Oceania to Gallipoli (Turkey) or the Western Front (France). For the same reasons, eggs were not used.

90 g. (1 cup) rolled oats
150 g. (1 cup) plain flour
155 g. (
¾ cup) brown sugar, firmly packed
40 g. (
½ cup) desiccated coconut
125 g. (½ cup) butter
2 tbsp. golden syrup
2 tbsp. water
½ tsp. baking soda

1.Preheat oven to
160°C (320°F). Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut in a large bowl. Combine butter, golden syrup and water in a small pan over medium heat until butter is melted. Stir in soda. Stir mixture with dry ingredients.

2.Place rounded teaspoons of mixture 5 cm. (2 inches) apart onto a baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-15 minutes
or until biscuits feel slightly firm. Use a spatula to loosen the biscuits onto a tray, and let cool. 


A few notes... 
  • I found the original recipe a little too sweet, so I cut the brown sugar down by 52 grams (¼ cup). If you crave a sweeter version, just add the extra sugar. 
  • I also added an extra tablespoon of water, which made the cookie chewier. 
  • You can also replace the golden syrup for maple syrup, if you don't have syrup on hand. 
  • Finally, I shortened the baking time from 20 minutes to 10-15 minutes. This made the cookies more moist.

4 comment (s):

Anonymous said...

stilig :) bra skrevet, engasjerande! Eg gler meg til å smake dei! -HF

Marion said...

Tusen takk! Fortel meg når du har laga dei :D

SuzieQ said...

Smile - we make ANZAC Biscuits here in New Zealand too...although not necessarily just around ANZAC Day. I'm from a family of 9 children, mum was a prolific baker (we had a cake tin cupboard and there were always at least 5 or 6 delights in the various tins). ANZAC Biscuits were always a favourite - poor mum struggled though to get the uncooked mixture into the oven before we ate it right off the baking tray.

Marion said...

Wow! That sounds delicious! Your poor mum though :D

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