Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ginger Anzac Biscuits Recipe

I discovered the Anzac biscuit during my visit to Australia in December 2005. These biscuits (what North Americans call cookies) were ubiquitous in Oz, and I tried several varieties when I was there.

When I asked about the origin of the cookie I was told that ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) biscuits were baked by Antipodean mothers and wives during World War I and sent to their soldiers in the trenches. They were made without egg (traditionally replaced by golden syrup) so that they would survive the long postal journey to Europe.

Some web research has yielded a different story from New Zealand culinary anthropologist Professor Helen Leach. She claims that the first known recipe for “Anzac crispies” (as there were called then) appeared in 1921 in a Kiwi cookbook. A similar recipe appeared in 1923 in Australia. Earlier recipes for “Anzac biscuits” were actually for a different cookies that contained egg, cinnamon and rice flour. Coconut became a popular addition in 1927. Leach is a contentious figure in the region for her assertion that pavlova, another Antipodean confection that will appear on this site one day, was invented in New Zealand and not Australia.

This original recipe uses brown sugar for a deep and rich sweetness. I have also added some ginger spice for flavor.

In honor of ANZAC Day (April 25) which commemorates Australia and New Zealand's first major WWI battle, I wanted to introduce this treat to Northern audiences. These crunchy cookies are perfect for dipping in tea or coffee, and will last for several weeks in an airtight container.

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup quick oats
3/4 cup sweetened desiccated coconut
2 teaspoons ginger powder
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water

Makes 32 cookies


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, coconut and sugar. Set aside.
3. Melt the butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from the heat.
4. Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Then add to the melted butter mixture.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well.
6. Drop by tablespoons onto a baking sheet, leaving plenty of room for spreading during baking.
7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.


cheesewithaspoon said...

I remember these ;-) . So yummy and filling. Good idea to add ginger!

Sajeda Meghji said...

I just wanted to say that I love your blog, and wish I could write as well as you do.