Anzac Biscuits

(makes 15-20)

There is nothing better than the smell of freshly baked biscuits straight from the oven…and nothing as tempting. My favourites as a child were homemade gingernuts and shortbread.
Originally called soldiers’ biscuits, Anzac first made in Australia and New Zealand for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC), during World War 1, when soldiers’ wives or mothers would bake and send the biscuits to the troops stationed overseas. The biscuits were ideal because they were cheap to make and non-perishable (no eggs or milk). The following is the classic Anzac recipe but do feel free to experiment (see recipe variation for some of my favourites.

85g of porridge oats
85g of desiccated coconut
100g of plain flour
80g of caster sugar
100g of butter, plus a little extra for greasing
1 tablespoon of golden syrup
1 level teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Heat your oven to 160ºc. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the syrup. Add two tablespoons of boiling water to the bicarbonate of soda, mix well, then stir into the melted butter and syrup and set aside for a couple of minutes.
Put the porridge oats, coconut, flour and sugar in a bowl. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the butter and syrup mixture. Stir gently to incorporate the dry ingredients.
Butter two baking sheets and place a dessertspoonful of the mixture on to the baking sheets, about one inch apart, allowing room for spreading. Bake in batches for eight to ten minutes, until golden. Transfer to a wire rack and try to resist until the biscuits cool!

Recipe variation.

Try adding dried cranberries, dried apricots or cherries or a little preserved stem ginger. I also like adding half a teaspoon of cinnamon or some orange zest. For an added treat melt some dark chocolate (dark is my preference but milk chocolate is fine too) and dip in one half of the cooled biscuit.

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