ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. Urban legend says that these cookies were baked by mummies and wives for their sons and husbands respectively when the latter were fighting in the Gallipoli war. However, there is no real historical evidence to support this claim other than that they were baked to raise so called “Patriotic Funds” during wartime. Legend or not, these cookies are delicious and great for dunking into a cup of tea.
The supermarket version of ANZAC’s tend to be rock hard and thin. At home however, it is quite easy to make them thicker and softer if you like. You can also make slight modifications – for instance, I add some grated lemon rind because I love the flavour and some mixed spice would go quite well too. Of course the cookie would stop being traditional but ah well.
This recipe is a slight modification on one I ripped off an in-flight magazine on an Air New Zealand flight.The page says that they ripped it off Lois Daish’s cookbook called “A Good Year”. It is very easy but be aware that every batch will turn out differently including two lots from the same dough as I’ve shown below.
ANZAC day is a couple of months away (25th April) but there’s no reason why you cannot make the cookies right now.
Ingredients (makes 24 medium sized cookies):
1 cup standard flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup white sugar (I use 3/4 cup of soft brown sugar as I don’t like them too sweet)
1 cup dessicated coconut
100 gms butter
3 tablespoons of golden syrup (or honey)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
4 tablespoons of boiling water
rind of 1 large lemon
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, coconut, oats,sugar and lemon rind until uniformly mixed. Make a well in the centre of this mixture.
2. In a small pot, combine the butter and golden syrup until the butter has melted and a light brown liquid results.
3. In a small bowl, combine baking soda and boiling water until the soda dissolves.
4. To the buttery-syrupy mixture, add the baking soda mixture. The whole thing will go frothy and rise towards you but don’t worry as it won’t overflow unless you are using a really small pot.
5. Pour the frothy mixture above into the well made in the centre of the flour-sugar-coconut mixture.
6. Mix well with your hands until the mixture is uniform and shiny.
7. Shape into walnut sized balls either with two spoons (as shown in pictures below) or by hand.
8. Place them on the tray, 2 cms apart and bake at 160ºC for 10-12 minutes until golden.
9. During the baking process, as with gingernuts, tap the tray so that the bulging in the centre goes down. If you like cookies to be chewy, don’t do the tapping.
10. These cookies get harder as they cool down so don’t panic if they are soft when you first pull them out.
11. Enjoy with tea or on their own and the baking smells that linger long after you’ve made them. I personally love the waft of lemon as I bite into them.
1. These cookies turn brown very easily so be careful not to burn them like I have done for batch two (Picture 9 below).
2. If you like them hard and crunchy, add a little more golden syrup and water than recommended.
3. If you are on a gluten-free diet, substitute the flour with some gluten-free flour and use oats from the gluten-free section.
4. If you are a vegan, substitute the butter with margarine.