Something Old, Something New: My Take on the Anzac Biscuit
We had been living in Canberra for less than two weeks when our first Anzac Day came. A friend strongly advised we attend and to our dismay he kept emphasising just how early to arrive. Surely he was exaggerating! This blog is about biscuits and not ceremonies, so I won’t go into the details, but it was an amazing, impressionable experience.
Assigned the task of developing an Anzac biscuit recipe, I did what all Americans would do: google. I don’t have a family recipe passed down from my gran. I don’t have a childhood memory or a strong belief as to what does or does not qualify as an Anzac biscuit. You may think this makes me highly unqualified to develop such recipe, but on the contrary, my ignorance has spurred hours of research into the original, historical recipe and present-day renditions. As such, I have combined the best of all worlds- historical authenticity, present-day expectations, and trending nutritional concepts- to bring you my very own Anzac bikkie.
What makes this recipe historically authentic?
The War Memorial has been an excellent resource for this project, publishing several Anzac biscuit recipes from the 1920s. The earliest recipe used primarily wholemeal flour instead of refined, just a few tablespoons of sugar, and no cinnamon or coconut. So to stay authentic, I’ve cut the sugar down, use only wholemeal flour, and while there is coconut oil, there is no shredded coconut.
What makes this recipe meet present-day expectations?
Though not in the original hard tack, in1924 cinnamon appeared, followed by coconut in 1929. Aussies have come to expect this and this modern recipe with coconut has been approved by the Department of Veteran Affairs (who knew they were in the bikkie business, eh?).
What do you mean, "trending nutritional concepts"?
Coconut oil has been "in" for awhile. Considering the controversy about if a proper Anzac biscuit has coconut or not, I thought coconut oil was a fun compromise. Substituting this for butter also makes for a vegan treat. I opted to use the cinnamon for it’s anti-inflammatory properties and taste. Finally, I reduced the sugar and used wholemeal flour to be both historically accurate and modern-day health conscious.
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup wholemeal flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons golden syrup
3 tablespoons water, boiling
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup coconut oil
In a large bowl, combine the first four ingredients (oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon). In a small bowl, combine golden syrup, boiling water, and baking soda, then add coconut oil (melted or softened). Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well until dough will stick together when formed (add more water or golden syrup, 1 tablespoon at a time if needed). Shape into golf-ball size and bake for 10 minutes at 180C. Biscuits will still be round.
Yes, they may not be exactly like what you've had before, but I hope you enjoy these little balls of historical goodness with an improved nutritional profile!