Commemorative ANZAC tin from the RSA (Returned Services Association) Similar to the tins originally used to ship the biscuits
The word "biscuit" is an Australian or British
term for what Americans call cookies.
The term ANZAC stands for the celebrated
"Australia and New Zealand Army Corp"
of renowned fame throughout World War I
and once again during World War II.
The word ANZAC is protected by Federal
Legislation and can not be used in general
marketing or commercial promotions.
The biscuits are one of the few exceptions
to this and can be made and sold
by anyone using that name.
When my mother made ANZACs they were
always chewy and that is how I like them
Many commercial versions are very crisp
but for me that is not an ANAC
During the Fist World War the food supplied to Australian soldiers fighting overseas had to be sent via the shops of the Merchant Navy which were slow (average ten knots or aprox 18km per hour) taking more than two months to reach their destination. Few of the ships have refrigeration so the food sent had to non-susceptible to spoilage even in extreme conditions.
This created concerns for the wives, mothers and girlfriends that the food supplied to the boys at the front was nutritional. The women of Australia responded with a new biscuit based on an old Scottish recipe using rolled oats.
The full list of ingredients used was: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called Soldiers Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.
Absent from the recipe were eggs normally used as a binding agent because at the time eggs were in short supply due to the enlistment of many of the poultry farmers. Golden syrup or treacle was used to bind the biscuits together instead. Golden Syrup is a by-product of sugar refining, a more refined version of molasses with the colour and consistency of honey (can not be substituted).
Sending the biscuits to the front was an organized and large scale undertaking by groups of women like the CWA (Country Womens Association), church groups, schools and other womens organizations. The biscuits were packed in used tines such as Billy Tea tins which were airtight to ensure no moisture so the biscuits remained crisp.
The biscuits were also provided to the soldiers during the Second World War but not on the same scale as most Merchant Navy Ship had refrigeration making it possible to supply a much great variety of other foods for a more balanced diet. The biscuits are still extremely popular today and can be purchased in most supermarkets and bakeries.
This entry would not be complete with out the ANZAC recipe:
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup flour
- 1 tablespoon golden syrup - a product made from cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- ½ cup sugar
- 125gm butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
Combine the oats, sugar, flour and melt together. Then add the golden syrup, and finally the baking soda dissolved in the boiling water. Put spoonfuls of the mixture on a greased tray and bake at 180°C (350°F) for 15-20 minutes or until cooked a golden-brown colour and crispy.