The history of the Anzac biscuit is part of Australia's story. Making Anzac biscuits is a lovely way to involve children in commemoration activities for Anzac Day or other days of remembrance. We do this to recognise and remember the service and sacrifice of our veterans and serving personnel.
Recipe for 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).
Why we bake Anzac biscuits
During World War I, people at home in Australia often sent parcels to the Anzacs to show their support. Parcels of food supplemented the soldiers' plain diet of tinned 'bully' beef and hardtack, also known as the 'Anzac wafer' or 'Anzac tile'.
Many care parcels included biscuits made from rolled oats, golden syrup and flour, which had high nutritional value and kept well while being transported overseas.
Now known as 'Anzac biscuits', they're still popular in Australia today.
Example of an early recipe
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.