Baking the Perfect Anzac Biscuit, With AWNY Junior Writer Chloé Wadia

If you’re an Aussie reading this, I’m sure I don’t need to explain what Anzac biscuits are. But, if it’s been a while since you’ve enjoyed one, or you are hearing about these for the first time, I’ll explain. Anzac biscuits are a combination of golden syrup, melted with butter, bicarb soda and water, that is mixed into a combination of oats, flour, brown sugar (or caster sugar) and desiccated coconut. This makes a dough which is formed into little round shapes and baked. It makes a soft or crunchy biscuit— which I like to call “perfection”. 

My twist on an Anzac Biscuit. Photo: Chloé Wadia

In this article, I’ll guide you through is my twist on a Donna Hay recipe (if you don’t know who she is, she’s only one of Australia’s most well known cooks and she’s also a best-selling author).

This recipe is so very easy—honestly the hardest part is not eating all the warm raw dough.

Making Anzac biscuits is one tradition that Australians use to commemorate Anzac Day, which is when we honor the WWI soldiers that were part of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC). The Australian War Memorial quotes that “from the 1920s onward Australian recipe books nearly always included Anzac biscuits, but exactly how this recipe became identified with Anzac, or the First World War, is unknown”. While many blogs, websites and recipe books say it is because these biscuits were included in care packages sent to WWI soldiers, the War Memorial says “the origin and invention of the sweet Anzac biscuit is contested…  these sweet biscuits are not the same rations that were supplied to soldiers in Gallipoli”. You can read up more on the history, approved and unapproved twists on the biscuit, and why we don’t call them cookies, by clicking here.

Okay, let’s make Anzac biscuits!

How To Bake the Perfect Anzac Biscuit

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • ⅔ cups of caster or brown sugar
  • ¾ cups desiccated coconut
  • ⅓ cups golden syrup
  • 125g butter
  • 1 teaspoon bicarb soda
  • 2 tablespoons hot water
Assemble all your ingredients before you start cooking. Photo: Chloé Wadia

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 160 Celsius (320 Fahrenheit)

Make sure you have that oven hot and everything ready to go!

 2. Mix together the flour, oats, sugar and coconut

I don’t like saying mix dry ingredients for this recipe because the bicarb soda could be considered a dry ingredient, (but he has to wait his turn). The bicarb booked a ticket for the golden syrup show, not the dry ingredients show. Combine. If you have any clumps of brown sugar, either sift your sugar or crumble them with your hands and then combine them in.

 Mix together the flour, oats, sugar and coconut (spot the Australia puzzle in the background). Photo: Chloé Wadia

3. Melt the butter and golden syrup. Then stir.

Over medium heat, in a BIG pot (don’t do this in a small pot, I learned the hard way), melt the butter and golden syrup and stir until the butter is completely melted and you have a bubbly mixture.

Melt the butter and golden syrup. Photo: Chloé Wadia
Stir until the butter is melted and you have a bubbly mixture. Photo: Chloé Wadia

4. Add the bicarb and water, then let it bubble

Once you let it bubble, just make sure it does NOT overflow (again… I learned this the hard way). It should look like this photo below.

Let it bubble. Photo: Chloé Wadia

5. Add the golden syrup mixture to the dry mixture and combine it

Add the golden syrup mixture to the dry mixture and combine it to make a crumbly dough that you can handle with your hands. Do not eat it all. This is very hard.

Make a crumbly dough that you can handle with your hands. Just don’t eat it all. Photo: Chloé Wadia

6. Form little balls onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Flatten them.

7. Bake for 8-12 minutes

I like to bake for 9 minutes, because I prefer a softer biscuit. If you want a crunchy biscuit, bake for 11 minutes.

8. Leave to cool

Leave the biscuits to cool in the pan for 3 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack and let them cool.

Leave the biscuits to cool. Well… if you can stop yourself from eating them. Photo: Chloé Wadia

These keep in an airtight container for around a week, but I doubt they’ll last that long. This recipe makes around 24 biscuits.

So… you have more questions?

Can I substitute the All Purpose (AP) flour for another? Yes, a blend of gluten free flour (I like Bob’s Red Mill) that can be used to a 1:1 ratio for AP flour should work.

Can I use gluten free oats? Yes. 

What can I substitute the sugar for? I wouldn’t recommend monkfruit or another granulated sugar free sweetener, as they can be too sweet and make the biscuits sickly. I’ve used coconut palm sugar (it doesn’t taste like coconut) in the past and it works well. Don’t worry about sugar granules in your biscuit, whichever sugar you’re using, the sugar browns and melts in the oven. 

What about the desiccated coconut? I don’t have a substitute for desiccated coconut. If you abhor the taste or are allergic, you could always use more oats and omit the coconut, but for best results, I don’t 100% recommend that. 

Where do I find Golden Syrup? I know, I know! Finding golden syrup in this country is hard! It’s mainly found in the UK or in Australia. In desperation for an Anzac biscuit, in the past I have tried to substitute honey or molasses, but the biscuits never turn out as well. Our friends in the UK gave us two gigantic bottles of golden syrup to take home, so we have a good supply. You might find golden syrup here in some specialty stores, or you can purchase it on Amazon, although it’s quite expensive online. My recommendation: ask a friend who is heading back home to bring you back some!

What can I use in place of the butter? Any liquid oil such as olive, vegetable or peanut won’t work. You can use vegan butter or solid coconut oil (refined if you don’t want any extra coconut flavor.) 

And now… for the clean up!

Ahh… now for the clean up. Not my favorite part.

What it really looks like when I cook. Photo: Chloé Wadia

Now we are done! Enjoy your Anzac biscuits.

About the Author

My name is Chloé Wadia and I am the daughter of Kate Wadia, an AWNY member. I am 12 years old, and you could call me a foodie – I like to bore my family with endless facts about lamination and sugar browning. I like to cook healthy things, except when it comes to Aussie desserts. I run a little business where I teach small children French via zoom, but my dream is to start a food blog. I’m writing this recipe for AWNY, as a little preparation for my food blog. Photos are taken solely by me. Any comments or feedback about how I wrote this recipe are very much welcomed. Thank you!

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Author: Australian Women in New York

Australian Women in New York (AWNY) sources stories and guides that will help make you win the Big Apple. We also love to profile fabulous Aussie and Kiwi women.

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