The History of ANZAC Biscuits

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BY Chenelle Purchase

ANZAC biscuits (or soldier biscuits) were first created because wives, mothers and girlfriends of the troops were concerned at the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. The problem they had to contend with was the distance they had to send the food and the time it took to get there. It was transported by Merchant Navy ships with little or no refrigeration so they had to come up with a food that would remain edible after a period of more than two months. They came up with a biscuit the basis of which comes from a Scottish recipe using rolled oats. The biscuits have no eggs to combine the mixture as back then poultry farmers had joined the services, making eggs a hard thing to come by. The combining agent for the mixture is golden syrup or treacle. In order to get the biscuits to the men and stay crisp the women packaged the biscuits in used Billy Tea tins which to this day are making an appearance in supermarkets, a bit like collector tins. The name of the biscuits was Soldier Biscuits then after the landing on Gallipoli the biscuits were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.

A Favourite Recipe (taken from

Anzac Biscuits (Soldier’s Biscuits)

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup coconut
125g (4 oz) butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon boiling water
Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut
Combine butter and golden syrup, stir over gentle heat until melted
Mix soda with boiling water, add to melted butter mixture, stir into dry ingredients
Take teaspoonfuls of mixture and place on lightly greased oven trays; allow room for spreading
Cook in slow oven (150°C or 300°F) for 20 minutes
Loosen while still warm, then cool on trays
Makes about 35

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