How to make ANZAC Biscuits

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So anyways, here in Australia it’s ANZAC Day and I was up just after 5 this morning, with my family, to attend the dawn service for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

For those of you outside of Australia and New Zealand, or who aren’t aware of it, ANZAC Day is arguably our most important national day.

As with many important dates, there are political issues that muddy the water. I’ll say it now- I loathe militarism and nationalism…in fact most isms – but today isn’t about that. It’s about respect, honour and freedom of self-determination and freedom from oppression. Well, that’s what it is to me.

It was estimated that somewhere between 25,000 and 30,000 people crammed into our local sports ground this morning for the ceremony. Watching the kids that were there, it’s easy to see that ANZAC Day isn’t just about the past- it’s also very much in our bones, and about the future.

How was it? Incredibly moving. I had goosebumps when the bugler played the Last Post, and tears when the tenor sang the anthems- first the New Zealand anthem in Maori, then in English, and then the Australian anthem.

They will grow not old, as we that are left grow old.

Age shall not weary them, or the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we will remember them.

Lest we forget.

So, it was back home to make ANZAC Biscuits. ANZAC Biscuits were originally baked by wives and girlfriends and were designed to last weeks or months until they could reach their recipient on a battlefield somewhere.

Todays are lucky to last past morning tea.

The book I’m cooking from is an old handwritten recipe book that I filled in back when I was about 18. The recipe I use is one that my Mum has been making most weeks for most of my life…with a few modifications I have made over the years.

What you need:

  • 1 cup each of plain flour, rolled oats, and desiccated coconut.
  • ¾ cup sugar (split between brown and caster sugar- I use ½ cup brown, ¼ cup caster)
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • ½ teaspoon bicarb

What you do with it:

  • Preheat the oven to 175C
  • Mix the dry ingredients together (except the bicarb)
  • Melt together the butter, syrup & water
  • Throw in the bicarb and watch it all froth up. I love this part.
  • Add the wet to the dry and stir it all up
  • Roll tablespoonfuls into balls and place on trays lined with baking paper.
  • Flatten a little with a fork, but not too much
  • Bung in the oven for 15 mins or until they are golden or smell oatily delicious

Hints:

  • Be careful on the bicarb as too much will leave a metallic taste
  • For a dark & crunchier biscuit, use only brown sugar
  • If you prefer a blondie, with a softer and chewier consistency, use only caster sugar
  • Make sure that your oats are real oats not those instant ones- it will make the mix spread across the pan.
  • Over-mixing will make a tougher biscuit- possibly better suited to months at sea…

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