Anzac biscuits and remembrance
During World War I, people at home in Australia often sent parcels to the Anzacs to show their support. Many of these packages included biscuits made from rolled oats, golden syrup and flour, which had high nutritional value and kept well while being transported overseas. These biscuits have come to be known as Anzac biscuits and are still popular in Australia today.
Modern recipe for Anzac biscuits
Bake a batch of Anzac biscuits.
We published this recipe in our book, We Remember Anzac: Primary Resource, in 2014. The Anzac biscuit is more than 100 years old so many recipe variations exist.
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
- Heat oven to 160°C.
- Melt butter (or margarine) and syrup.
- Add dissolved bicarbonate of soda and water.
- Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, add the liquid mixture and stir.
- Place small balls of the mixture (about 1 teaspoon) onto a greased tray.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.
- Lift biscuits onto a cake cooling rack and wait for them to cool.
Ideas for your community
You could share your Anzac biscuits with guests at an Anzac Day service at your school or with people in your local community.
Use the biscuits to introduce yourself to veterans in your local community. Read our resource, Reflections: Capturing veterans' stories, for ideas about recording their oral histories.
Secondary school case study
One year at Kirwan State High School in Queensland, the students researched the history of Anzac biscuits and baked 3500 biscuits. School cadets and students delivered the biscuits to nursing homes and community centres, assisted by members from the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
History of the Anzac biscuit
During World War I, people on the home front often sent comfort parcels to the Anzacs in Egypt, on Gallipoli and in Europe. Gifts of food from home supplemented the plain Australian Imperial Force (AIF) diet of tinned bully beef and hardtack, also known as the 'Anzac wafer' or 'Anzac tile'.
Care packages often included home-made biscuits of rolled oats, golden syrup and flour. These biscuits had high nutritional value and kept well while being transported overseas.
Now known as 'Anzac biscuits', they're still popular in Australia today.
This printed recipe was published in The War Chest Cookery Book in 1917, by the Citizens' War Chest Fund (NSW):
4ozs. sugar, 4 ozs. butter, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 cup flour, 1 cup rice flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon mixed spice.
Beat butter and sugar to cream, add eggs well beaten, lastly flour, rice flour, baking powder, cinnamon and spice. Mix to stiff paste, roll and cut into biscuits. Bake a nice light brown in moderate oven. When cold jam together and ice.
Alice Anderson, "Oakdale," N. Sydney.
Early recipes often included ingredients like jam and eggs, and didn't include coconut, so they're quite different from the recipes we use today.