package cookies: ANZAC biscuits

My best friend lives in Durham, NC which makes dropping off cookies a bit more difficult. When she lived around the corner from me in Vancouver it was real easy to do so many things, but through the years we’ve managed nicely, I think. She’s a good friend and her holiday package to me was chock full of good stuff, including a few things that would be pretty difficult for a Canadian to find…like a can of boiled peanuts, a bag of grits and the holiest of all flours, the very Southern White Lily. Yes, my friend knows me well.

When it came time for me finally send off my uber-late holiday box to her, there was still a bit of room in the package and I wanted to fill it with some baking. After spotting the recipe for ANZAC biscuits, I decided that this would be the biscuit that would make the trip over the border to North Carolina. These cookies are made for traveling long distances since they were baked up by loved ones of the Australian New Zealand Army Corps and sent off to soliders fighting abroad. Traditionally, these are made with golden syrup, but since I didn’t have any on hand, I decided to sub in honey instead which is a very acceptable substitute.

Besides the little history lesson, how are these easy to whip up cookies? They’re good, but honestly, they’re not my favorite. I love coconut and oats but I felt that they were missing something. They are sturdy and hearty and not overly sweet which are all good things in my book, but I couldn’t put a finger on what was missing. Maybe next time a bit of lemon zest would make these cookies sing or a splash of vanilla or almond extract to round out the flavour. Yeah, that’s probably it! As is, it definitely makes a good breakfast cookie with a cup of hot coffee. However, that’s just my opinion. They are an eggless cookie, so that’s always a nice find. Easy to make vegan too by replacing the butter with a vegan margarine and the honey with agave nectar. My husband liked these cookies a whole lot and they reminded him of cookies his grandmother used to make, and grandma’s cookies are never a bad thing!

36 comments to “package cookies: ANZAC biscuits”

  1. 1
    Anonymous   January 29, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    I too come from the land of the ANZAC (well the A bit – Australia)…

    totally agree with everything in the last comment (golden syrup and brown sugar are a must) – and have to say that when i make them they turn out flatter and browner than what yours look like in the picture. they have a slightly chewy texture and a lovely deep golden brown colour, a ripper bikkie as my mum would say.

  2. 2
    Sleepydumpling   January 30, 2009 at 12:27 am

    ANZAC biscuits are like crack. Actually, the uncooked dough is like crack. So much that I can’t bring myself to actually bake it. I just eat it like it is.

    I can’t imagine them without golden syrup though. Can you get your hands on treacle or molasses? That would be very close.

  3. 3
    steaky diane   January 30, 2009 at 1:58 am

    i make these biscuits every week for a cafe..and i use a very old traditional recipe…

    its all equal quantities of dry ingredients and yes brown sugar and golden syrup are essential!!

    anzac biscuits
    1 cup each of plain flour, brown sugar, rolled oats and dessicated/shredded coconut
    120 grams of butter
    1 tablespoon of Golden Syrup
    2 tablespoons of boiling water
    1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda dissolved in a little water

    Mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl
    Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the golden syrup, turn off heat
    Dissolve bi-carb with the water and add to the butter mixture [this will foam and rise]
    Add to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
    Spoon onto a greased oven tray
    Cook in a cool oven 150-160 centigrade for 10 to 15 minutes

    The biscuits should still be soft when you take them out of the oven but will harden on cooling. i usually flatten mine with the back of a spatula before i put them on a rack…this way they become light n crunchy!

  4. 4
    Daily Spud   January 30, 2009 at 2:46 am

    I think I must have been using a less than authentic recipe the last time I made Anzac biccies, because I remember my reaction as also being in the good but not great category. However, seeing as I have golden syrup, brown sugar and dessicated coconut loitering about in the kitchen, I think I’ll be giving that version a go next time!

  5. 5
    LindsayRuns   January 30, 2009 at 4:56 am

    OH my goodness! You totally read my mind! My first care package to my husband should arrive today (~8 days ship time), and I am crossing my fingers that my fig blondies (a la bella @ made it to him unstale! I’ve been trying to figure out what to make next that I don’t have to be concerned and this sounds perfect! Especially since they were made for overseas shipping in the first place! Thanks!!

  6. 6
    Meg   January 29, 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Ooo… I like the idea of baking up some history!! Especially the image of girlfriends back home sending cookies to their men.

    Too bad my honey HATES coconut.

  7. 7
    Mathilde   January 29, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    Ack! Martha has led you down the wrong path… Being an Australian, I regard myself as an authority on the ANZAC biscuit 🙂

    You definitely do need to use golden syrup (gives it a depth that honey doesn’t) and they should have a little bit (but not much) of vanilla essence. You should be using brown sugar, not white sugar, which also lends it depth. From memory, the quantities may also be a bit out (my recipe is at home so I can’t check) and the coconut should be unsweetened.

    A nice variation is a little bit of cinnamon, mixed into the butter mixture before you add to the dry ingredients.

  8. 8
    Culinary Wannabe   January 30, 2009 at 8:13 am

    My husband is from Canada, so I’m always wanting to send up goodies to his friends and family. But every single time I’ve sent something the packages have arrived totally picked over, with most of the contents missing! How do you get past it??

  9. 9
    kickpleat   January 30, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Meg, I’m sure you could leave out the coconut. As for the history of it all, it does seem very romantic!

    Mathilde, it’s not the first time Martha has steered me wrong! There’s a shop close by that has golden syrup, but I really didn’t think it was necessary. I guess I was so wrong. Thanks for the tip!

    Anon, the photos I noticed were all flatter than mine, so I’ll definitely try these again with variations. a ripper bikkie! ha!

    Sleepy, I can find golden syrup I just didn’t have any. I guess it’s not an ANZAC biscuit without it!

    Thanks for the recipe, steaky! I’ll definitely try this recipe out once I get my hands on golden syrup. I definitely like the tip about flattening them when them come out of the oven. Thank you!!

    Daily Spud, I think we’re in the same boat! Try out Steaky Diane’s version for sure!

    Lindsay, I’m sure they’ll be fine…how could fig blondies not be! Definitely try the revised version from the comments!

    Culinary, are you serious?? Missing and picked over contents? What is up, posties? I’ve been sending stuff for years and have never had a problem. Hmmmm. Very strange!!

  10. 10
    Jennywenny   January 30, 2009 at 8:30 am

    Yes, golden syrup is essential, not to mention very good on all manner of things including oatmeal! Get some immediately.

    I dont think the coconut really shows up in these.

  11. 11
    Alisa - Go Dairy Free   January 30, 2009 at 8:33 am

    I have never had this type of cookie, but it really sounds good! May have to give them a try.

  12. 12
    Sarah Beth Jones   January 30, 2009 at 8:39 am

    From these comments, I can see this is in no way an authentic recipe, but 101 Cookbooks does have a delicious version that includes orange zest and orange blossom water – I use it to make cobbler toppings as well as cookies:

  13. 13
    squirrelbread   January 30, 2009 at 11:35 am

    i’ve had anzac biscuits on my “list of things to bake” for quite some time now. this must be a sign that they should be superbowl cookies!



  14. 14
    Sarena Shasteen   January 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Oh, you are so sweet to make those for your friend. They look good too. I have seen recipes for them, as well, but never tried them. My husband loves a good oatmeal/coconut cookie too!

    Oh, and I know you love that flour! Better for your biscuit making!

  15. 15
    Bijoux   January 30, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    These look great! I hope your friend enjoys them. It is very sweet and thoughtful of you to send her a box of goodies in the mail.

    I love my cookies which is why I seldom bake cookies at home. Once they come out of the oven they are in my belly within seconds.

    I’ve never used golden syrup in anything. What is golden syrup made of anyway? I’d be more inclined to use honey or maple syrup in lieu of golden syrup, just because golden syrup is not something I ever have at home or would be inclined to purchase. I guess the only way to find out if the syrup really does makes a difference in the cookie is to try it out first.

  16. 16
    LeelaBijou   January 30, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Oh this cookie looks sooo yummy!
    I really have to try it 🙂

    Btw, your blog is awesome!

  17. 17
    Anonymous   January 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    Golden syrup is a thick, amber-colored form of inverted sugar syrup, made in the process of refining sugar cane juice into sugar

    Golden syrup was invented in 1883 by Scottish businessman Abram Lyle,

  18. 18
    VeggieGirl   January 30, 2009 at 5:55 pm


  19. 19
    Helene   January 30, 2009 at 7:06 pm

    Great cookie. I haven’t heard of Anzac before. I’m sure I would love them.

  20. 20
    Hayley   January 31, 2009 at 5:18 pm

    These sound delicious. I just made a honey pie today. I’ve been on a honey kick lately, so I’ll have to try these out.

  21. 21
    Anonymous   January 31, 2009 at 5:46 pm

    I don’t know about food coming into Canada but I’m pretty sure it is a no no to mail baked stuff to the USA. Post 911 regulations. Probably ok if in a mixed package and just don’t write it on the declaration slip.
    These sound very good, I’ve heard of these things for years.
    Anyone else like HobNob biscuits?

  22. 22
    Not Another Omnivore   January 31, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    whew coconut makes everything, almost, delicious!


  23. 23
    Suzer   February 1, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Corn syrup also works well…much better than honey, I would think. They are quite awesome biscuits when made well.

  24. 24
    Kristin   February 1, 2009 at 5:46 am

    mmmm… I made a batch of these last night. So tasty. The recipe is very close to my Gran’s oatmeal cookie recipe.

  25. 25
    Dawn   February 1, 2009 at 10:40 am

    These ingredients are right up my alley. I have never heard of them though, and don’t know why, but I must try them now.

  26. 26
    josephine brady   February 1, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I see other Aussies have rushed in with their recipes, herewith the recipe I learned at school cooking classes over 60 years go, which is probably the most authentic. This recipe would have been around since the 1st World War, when Aussie and New Zealand men volunteered. ANZAC is an acronym for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. The biscuits were named Anzacs because they were golden brown like the tanned Anzac men.

    Golden Syrup is a by-product of the sugar refining process, as is Treacle, Treacle being the stronger tasting version. Replacing 1/2 of the sugar with the dark brown version would probably produce a more authentic flavour, in the absence of golden syrup. although honey isn’t bad.

    Anzacs (from the Central Cookery Book)

    4 oz butter
    1 tablespoon golden syrup
    1 cup coconut
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    1 cup plain flour (all-purpose)
    1 cup sugar
    1 cup rolled oats
    2 tablespoons boiling water
    vanilla essence (no measurement given, I suggest 1 teaspoon)

    Prepare oven and grease tray. Sift flour and salt. Melt butter and golden syrup over fire (this makes this an old recipe, when most homes had wood-fuelled stoves for cooking).Dissolve soda in the boiling water. Mix all ingredients together. Place little round lumps on the baking tray, and bake till brown at 375F (180C) for 15 minutes. Allow to remain on the tray for 1/2 minute, then lift off with knife and place on a cooling rack.

    This recipe is based on Imperial measurements, which I give here, as American measurements are different.

    1 cup of flour equals 8 ounces, as does one cup of sugar. If you have a cup that measures to this you will be OK with the coconut, which obviously weighs much lighter.

  27. 27
    kickpleat   February 1, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    alisa, i'd try them out & see!

    oooh, orange water would be great in these, thanks for the link, sara beth!

    heather, they'd be great superbowl cookies!

    sarena, i'm so excited to try out the flour!!

    bijoux, read some of the comments about what golden syrup is! i've got some smart readers here 🙂

    thanks for commenting, leela!

    perfect, anon!

    thanks veggiegirl!

    helene, i had never heard of them until about a year ago.

    hayley, a honey pie sounds sweet!!

    anon, my baked goods have always gotten across & i do mark them on the declaration form. maybe they've gotten lax once more.

    notanother, i totally agree. i love coconut.

    suzer, i don't use corn syrup very much but i'll definitely try these again with golden syrup.

    kristin, glad you liked them…it seems it must be a grandma's recipe!

    give them a try dawn and let me know how you like them!

    josephine, thanks for the recipe! it looks very authentic…and i like the tanned men comment!

  28. 28
    inthekitchenwithz   February 1, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    I’m a North Carolina girl too – my grandma always used that flour. What kind of grits did she send you? 🙂

  29. 29
    Lori   February 1, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    These look great. I have been wanting to make these cookies for quite some time.

  30. 30
    Miss Kate   February 2, 2009 at 10:17 am

    My grandmother makes a U.S. version of these called “ranger” or “cowboy cookies.” I think the principle is the same – filling cookies that contain sweetness and protein-rich nuts that can travel well.

    I’m happy to read about this eggless recipe. I know what I’m baking next!

  31. 31
    CookiePie   February 2, 2009 at 10:51 am

    They look delicious to me! And cookies for breakfast? Yes, please! 🙂

  32. 32
    kickpleat   February 2, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    inthekitchen, she sent me “lakeside yellow grits”. i’ve never used grits before, so i’m curious!!

    thanks lori!

    miss kate, i’ll definitely keep an eye out for those ranger cookies! i love nuts in cookies 🙂

    cookies for breakfast, oh yes, cookie pie!!

  33. 33
    emma   February 4, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Most traditional recipes state golden syrup and white sugar so I reckon (good kiwi slang there, bro) that brown sugar plus honey is a good substitute for the depth. But, come on, you southern hemispherians, you don’t think we need a little ground ginger in there? Speaking of baking between continents, has anyone else been noticing the difference between icing / frosting? North has the butter “frosting” thing going on and south is dominated by the icing sugar “icing”. Which is better?

  34. 34
    hag   February 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    ooh, “sturdy and hearty and not overly sweet” just like the ANZAC’s ..looks like a recipe to try out (with all the suggested ingredients)

  35. 35
    kickpleat   February 11, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    emma, ginger would be great, definitely. as for the frosting/icing, i’ll let others get into the debate 🙂

    harhar, hag!

  36. 36
    Living   August 14, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Thank you for calling it a biscuit not a cookie. 😀
    And personally, I think it really does make a difference if it's honey or golden syrup. The taste of the two is totally different. Adding other stuff would be a travesty and make it not an ANZAC biscuit.

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