anzac biscuits

Recently, David posted a recipe for cranzac cookies — they’re a riff on anzac biscuits, he said. I’d never heard of anzac biscuits, so I looked them up. Apparently, they are a thin crunchy oatmeal cookie that originated in Australia during WWI. The women would send them to the soldiers in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps — ANZAC.

Curious, I made them for myself, except I followed a pared-down, basic recipe from King Arthur Flour. I figured I ought to know what authentic Anzac biscuits were supposed to be like before I started messing around with them.

The biscuits remind me a lot of lace wafers, an oatmeal cookie that I used to make as a child. The difference is that lace wafers, in the oven, spread out until they are thin and crispy, almost like caramel. Anzac biscuits, though, have more umph. They are still crispy and caramel-y, but less delicate. They have an ever-so-slight chew and a snap that is not unsimilar to the tacky-snap of toffee.

Dry and crunchy, I think of them as the Australian version of biscotti. They’re made to be eaten with a cup of coffee or tea, or, come hot weather, with iced tea or lemonade.

Anzac Biscuits 
Adapted from a recipe from King Arthur Flour.

Now that I know what Anzac biscuits are, I think David was on to something with the craisins. These cookies are built for add-ins. A little vanilla, maybe? Some chopped pecans and coconut? A drizzled cap of chocolate?

Also, these work well as a gluten-free version — just use a gluten-free all-purpose substitute in place of the regular flour. The dough will be more crumbly and dry, but it bakes up fine.

1 cup each rolled oats and flour
¾ cup each sugar and coconut
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1½ teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water

Stir together the oats, flour, sugar, coconut, and salt. Melt the butter with the corn syrup (microwave or stove top, your choice). Combine the baking soda and boiling water in a small bowl and add to the melted butter. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Spoon the dough onto greased baking trays and bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes, or until they are a nice golden brown. Let them rest for several minutes on the baking tray before transferring to a rack to cool.

This same time, years previous: freezer coffee cake, Marta’s picadillo, quotidian (5.2.16), the quotidian (5.4.15), the quotidian (5.5.14), creamy avocado macaroni and cheese, the definition of insanity, burning the burn pile, how to get your bedding/house/kids clean all in one day.

7 Comments

  • Kris

    Okay, I must protest. Why, o why do you list two ingredients in one line? It's not like you don't have space. I think all recipe lists should give each ingredient their own line, for clarity and ease of reading. Because every time you do it, I have to re-read "1 cup EACH…" to make sure I'm understanding correctly. Just give 'em their own lines already.

    • Hummingbird

      No one is forcing you to go through the horror of making a cookie recipe where TWO ingredients on each line. Write it out yourself the way you like to read recipes. Or find something better to do with your time. Sheesh

    • Jennifer Jo

      Oh dear! I had no IDEA I was causing you such grief!! I double up same amounts (of like ingredients — dry with dry and wet with wet) because it makes it easier for me to memorize and keep track of ingredients. But if you prefer them listed out, then by all means!

  • Anonymous

    THANK YOU!

    My grandmother made Anzac biscuits, and I never got a recipe out of her (nor for her ginger-date loaf, which is even more of a loss – a quickbread with dates and candied ginger and it was just so goooood). *But* due to family tendencies to… adjust… recipes, I never knew if her Anzac biscuits were proper ones or not, and thus didn't know whether any given recipe would yield similar results. But yes! Like oatmeal lace cookies, but more substantial; an almost toffee-like crispy-but-sticky crunch, and a desperate need for something to drink after you've eaten one: these are probably exactly those cookies.

    Now, if you could just find a plausible ginger-date quickbread sourced from Australia with chunks of dates and ginger but also a delectable cake between, let me know…

    (incidentally, I also get thrown by recipes that have more than one need-to-include-this ingredient on one line; I'm fine with "1 cup raisins or currants or craisins" but find it bizarrely challenging to mentally process recipes that have most of the ingredients on their own lines, but that double up in one or two places. You're free to write recipes however you want to! But… it's harder to navigate, and if I did try to follow one, I'd have to write it out again myself, with all items on separate lines, which introduces an extra set of ways to mis-transcribe the recipe…)

  • mommychef

    I make Anzac's pretty often, the recipe from Yvonne Ruperti's "One Bowl Baking" (almost identical to the one above). I use light corn syrup because that's what you can get easily in Canada but I have an Aussie ex-pat friend who is a true foodie-baker and apparently it is just. not. the. same. unless you use real "Golden Syrup"…although she is lovely and gracious and always says I make delicious Anzacs. I just can't bring myself to buy the huge 12$ unresealable, imported can of the stuff when this is my only recipe that calls for it. Maybe it's like a signature cookie…everyone has their own personal little tweak…either way, very tasty.

  • Margo

    I have a Martha Stewart recipe for ANZAC Biscuits that included pecans and coconut and I thought that was part of the original deal, haha! These cookies are delicious. Especially great with sorbet, I think. Also, I do buy Lyle's Golden Syrup and keep it in a corner of the pantry just for these cookies. The syrup never goes bad and I would know – I keep a can for years 🙂

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