ANZAC Day Biscuits

As I have concentrated on Easter traditions over the last few years I thought that this year I would spare a thought for our antipodean friends and families.

ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day commemorates the landing of these two armies at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and is probably Australia and New Zealand's most important national occasion. The ANZACs were to fight in appalling conditions for 8 months, suffering not only death from battle but also from dysentery that swept through the troops. Losses were high on both sides.

Families back home were fiercely patriotic. Wives, mothers and girlfriends were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Getting good nutritional food to their men on the front was not easy. The supply ships took at least two months to reach Turkey and few had any means of refrigeration. Although originally called “Soldiers’ Biscuits” (it was renamed after the Gallipoli landing) the biscuit consists of rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. These ingredients were able to stand the trip. The use of eggs was avoided as they spoiled on the voyage.

In Australia and New Zealand ANZAC biscuits are still made today and sold on ANZAC Day to raise money for veterans' organisations. They are so easy to make and are extremely tasty. You can only imagine how the troops must have felt when these small luxuries arrived.

Ingredients - Makes approximately 18 - 20

85g porridge oats 100g butter , plus extra butter for greasing
85g desiccated coconut 1 tbsp golden syrup
100g plain flour 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
100g caster sugar  


  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Put the oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Melt the butter in a small pan and stir in the golden syrup. Add the bicarbonate of soda to 2 tbsp boiling water, then stir into the golden syrup and butter mixture.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and golden syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.
  3. Put dessertspoonfuls of the mixture on to buttered baking sheets, about 2.5cm/1in apart to allow room for spreading. Bake in batches for 8-10 mins until golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Porridge Oats