ANZAC Biscuits


ANZAC stands for “Australian and New Zealand Army Corps”, created during the World War I and the biscuits bearing this name were created at the same time by women desperate to send nutritious home-made food to their husbands, sons and boyfriends. According to this website, faced with at least two months’ transportation time, a group of women worked out a recipe based on rather healthy Scottish rolled oats biscuits and added only those ingredients which ensured long preservation. There are several theories on why eggs are not used, but their absence certainly makes biscuits last longer.

Nowadays ANZAC Biscuits are widely available in supermarkets in Australia, New Zealand and apparently also in the UK. They are also very popular among home cooks and there is myriad ANZAC Biscuits recipes on the web. Mine is taken from  Three-Cookies blog (or to be precise from Easily Good Eats by the same author) and if you know Mr. Three-Cookies, you understand that my choice was obvious. If you don’t, either of his blogs and you will quickly realise it would be difficult to find a better cookies and biscuits specialist. If you are familiar with ANZAC Biscuits, Mr. Three-Cookies is also a very adventurous experimenter and his Easily Good Eats blog features also modified versions of this classical recipe.

Before baking them I have never tasted ANZAC Biscuits, so I really didn’t know what to expect. I had already baked with rolled oats and desiccated coconut and expected good, but quite ordinary biscuits. Since my expectations were so low, the first bite felt like an electric shock on my tastebuds. I don’t know what magical chemical reaction is created among the ingredients, but the result is irresistible and surprisingly complex. I bet that if you have never tasted ANZAC Biscuits, “Wow!” is all you will be able to say while you bite into the first one. (UPDATE and WARNING: do not taste the raw dough! You will end up eating it straight from the pan while you wait for your previous batch to bake).

I have only slightly modified the recipe and followed Mr. Three-Cookies’ advice (see his post here), using brown sugar, which gave a very pleasant, slightly caramelised taste. I have also put molasses instead of golden syrup. I also totally agree with him on one point: do not use margarine or any other vegetable shortening. The butter taste and  aroma is so strong, you will lose a big part of the pleasure.

As I have mentioned above, they keep fresh in a tightly closed container for several days (and maybe even more, but I wasn’t able to test it). The stay crunchy and slightly chewy.

UPDATE: You might also like ANZAC biscuits with dried cranberry.

Preparation: 1 hour (or 30 minutes if you manage to bake everything in one batch)

Ingredients (I have obtained about 30 biscuits):

70 grams/1 cup rolled oats

90 grams/1 cup desiccated coconut

120 g/1 cup flour

125 g/about 4,5 oz butter

160 g/3/4 cup brown cane sugar

1 tablespoon dark syrup (I used 2 tablespoons molasses)

1 teaspoon baking soda (bi-carbonate of soda, in countries where it is not widely available, for example in France, it can be easily bought in pharmacies)

2 tablespoons boiling water

pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Melt the butter and syrup or molasses in a big pan.

Combine the flour, the oats, the coconut, the salt and the sugar. Add slowly to the melted butter.

At the end combine the boiling water and soda. Pour the mixture into the dough and stir well with a spoon.

Roll small balls (mine were a walnut size) and put them on a baking sheet (leaving at least 3 cm spaces between each ball since they will spread).

Flatten them slightly (they will flatten even more during the baking process) and bake 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Don’t worry if the dough seems crumbly. It is normal. Just squeeze well the dough when forming balls in your hands and don’t flatten them too much.

Keep them in a tightly closed container. Apparently they keep for ages. All I know is they keep at least three days.

36 Replies to “ANZAC Biscuits”

  1. “the first bite felt like an electric shock” – very nice description and thanks for the links. I really want some cookies now:) They are addictive, I agree, and I am surprised you managed to make it last 3 days. I haven’t succeeded yet.

    By the way frozen ANZAC dough is extremely delicious, even if eaten straight out of the freezer.

    1. I didn’t know how to describe it (I regret I haven’t taken a photo of my husband when he was tasting his first biscuit!). I will try the frozen dough. Thanks for the tip. I have forgotten to warn people against raw dough tasting: I think I have eaten at least the equivalent of three raw cookies 😉

  2. OMG, I wasn’t expecting to see these on your blog at all – they’re not really mainstream outside Oz – you’re a constant source of surprise, Sissi! ANZAC biscuits are awesome. ANZAC day was a few months ago – an Australian colleague brought in treats – ANZAC biscuits, vegemite sandwiches and … er… something else which I forget the name of. Sponge cake sandwiched with jam, coated in chocolate and coconut. So, so yummy!

    1. Thank you, Charles! I am only a curious cook, but usually a lazy one, and since these biscuits were very easy (even no need to use a food processor!), the decision wasn’t difficult. I will certainly bake them every year for ANZAC day to celebrate the Australian women’s creativity!

      1. I have never heard of it! I think I’m starting to get seriously interested in Australian sweets… Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies!

  3. They look great and not surprisingly, I’ve never heard of them. I have all the ingredients, but am I brave enough to turn on the oven… hmmm.

    1. Thank you, Giulia! I swear, when you eat them, you don’t think about the nutritious side even for a second.

    1. Jeno, I’m not a cookie or biscuit person either. I prefer light tarts, soft custards, crème brûlée, mousses… but they are really incredible!

  4. I had never heard of these biscuits before my chum anna gave these as wedding favours in honour of her proper (aka no running water) outback granny. I can certainly vouch for these ANZACs being a tasty treat. Lovely post and blog.

    1. Thank you so much, Nami! I don’t know if you have the same experience, but I think biscuits and cookies – if not baked in special forms – are not really photogenic… (At least mine, since they are all of different sizes and forms 😉 If me, as a non-cookie person, got crazy for them, you should try them one day!

  5. Oh I love biskuits made from rolled oats. Roasted or baked rolled oates always develop such a nice buttery and nutty flavour. And even with coconut! Usually I would combine oat based biskuit dough with some sort of nuts as macadamias or walnuts or hazelnuts and dried fruits (new favorite aronia berries) soaked in nice liqueurs, but I never tried coconut with oats. Guess I have to give it a try 🙂

    1. Hi Kiki! I totally agree with the buttery and nutty flavour! I think the mysterious combination wouldn’t be possible here without oats. I also like aronia berries! You are the first person I met who likes it and knows it! Unfortunately I haven’t found aronia juice or berries in Switzerland 🙁

      1. No aronias in switzerland? I always buy dried fruits in organic supermarkets (denn’s). They have the biggest assortment of grains, nuts and dried fruits (goji berries, dried physalis and such – more exotic fruits).

        1. Kiki, it’s true, organic shops here also have all kinds of exotic dried fruits (goji is lately in fashion), but I have never seen aronia… I should maybe simply ask.

  6. I’ve been an Australian for nearly 8 years and I have never made an ANZAC biscuit. Does that mean I might get my citizenship taken away? I’ll make these this weekend just in case.

    This is the best cookie for dipping in a cup of tea EVER. Why? If you don’t dunk you could break your teeth off. (at least that’s my experience)

    I love the taste of these biscuits but I call them cookies and hope my friends can translate.

    1. Hi Maureen, I hope they will be indulgent and won’t take your citizenship away 😉 Mind you, if I were you I wouldn’t call them “cookies” (I have almost done it in my post!). I read somewhere that Australians are very strict about the “biscuit” word here 😉
      It’s true, they are not very soft, but a bit chewy at the same time (oats and coconut I suppose), so I don’t really feel I could break my teeth 🙂

      1. I’m a dinky di Aussie and nobody around here seems to mind that I call it a grill and not a bbq or that I eat ketchup instead of tomato sauce and I bake cookies instead of biscuits and I put my groceries in the trunk instead of the boot. 🙂 They just think I’m quirky.

        1. It is too complicated for a non-native English speaker like me 😉 I don’t know why, but I have always assumed most everyday words are in Australian English the same as in British English…

  7. Hi Sissi, I’ve never heard of this type of cookies. Well, coming from someone like me who is not a baker – what do I know, right? LOL! Very interesting history behind these little yummers. Thank you for sharing it and have a wonderful weekend Sissi! 🙂

    1. Hi Ray! So you think I am a baker??? I think they could be made by children… Very easy! I thought their history gives me an excuse to bake them at least once a year, in April I think, on ANZAC day 😉 Have a great weekend too!

    1. Thank you, Angie! It was also my first discovery of both the biscuits and the abbreviation.

    1. Thank you, Kankana. They are nutritious indeed, but they taste as good as any unhealthy biscuits 🙂

  8. Made these …. again, another brilliant recipe from you….I reduced the sugar slightly and added molasses …. still turned out pretty good…thanks for sharing….I did try about replacing the butter with oil…but read your thoughts on that substituion and then decided not to waste time on a experiment that would fail 🙂

    1. Shilpa, I am so happy you have made them! Usually I don’t mind replacing butter with oil (although I know butter has also good vitamins and I eat it very rarely), but here the buttery taste seemed crucial, hence my warning 😉 Thank you for letting me know you liked them!

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