Hazel Warren’s Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Day (25th April) was a special occasion this year for many Australians and New Zealanders because it was the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli in Turkey during the First World War, a defining campaign, although ultimately unsuccessful. My working life has been closely tied to commemorative activities related to the First World War, and so the last few weeks have been especially busy. My youngest participated in the Anzac Day march and service in our local area, playing in the Kenmore High band that led the march, and these photos were ones that I took on the day. It was moving and emotional experience, and I loved meeting some veterans and their families and hearing their stories. I was particularly taken with a distinguished naval veteran who insisted that his wife be included in his photo because “she is more decorated than me”.  She was wearing a single medal, and although she did not say so, my thought is that she must have been part of the resistance movement during the Second World War. All she and her husband would say is that the President of France thought she did a very good job in the war.

Our family traditionally makes Anzac biscuits on Anzac Day and uses my mother-in-law’s recipe. People are generally devoted to either chewy or crunchy Anzac biscuits and my husband’s family are passionate crunchy advocates. For them there is no other way. I don’t mind a chewy Anzac biscuit, but also love the crunchy variety. What was interesting to me is that a tea towel I purchased to use as a table runner in the lead up to Anzac Day, with a recipe for Anzac biscuits printed on it from an historic cookbook, replicated Hazel’s recipe exactly. So maybe the original Anzac biscuits were meant to be crunchy! Your thoughts welcome on the crunchy versus chewy Anzac biscuits debate.

Don’t save these just for Anzac Day, and if they are new to you, try them out. They keep very well, and are great with a cup of tea or a glass of icy cold milk.

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Makes about 24 biscuits

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
125 g butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup

Preheat oven to 160 C. Line 2 large baking trays with silicon paper. In a small saucepan melt the butter and golden syrup together. In a large bowl combine the oats, flour, coconut and sugar and mix well. Combine the boiling water and bicarbonate of soda in a small dish and immediately tip into the melted butter and golden syrup. It should foam up a little. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix well. Roll spoonfuls of the mixture into walnut sized balls and place well apart on the baking trays, as they will spread as they bake. Bake for about 20 minutes until they are golden brown. Take out of the oven and carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool. When they are completely cold store in an airtight container. Will keep for at least a week, if they last that long.