anzac biscuits

i first heard about these cookies from an article printed in the los angeles times food section quite a few years ago, before i even knew i’d find myself in their country of origin. the article paired two recipes from australia – these hearty rounds of oats, coconut, and golden syrup; and spongey, chocolate-dipped lamingtons – extolling in particular the virtue of their portability. the anzac biscuits were sturdy (enough so to be shipped to world war I soldiers, according to popular belief) and the lamingtons’ coconut-dusted coating served as their own built-in travel insurance.

i have yet to go through the labor of baking up a sheet cake, cutting it into cubes, and dip-dipping the plunks of cake to make the lamingtons, but anzac biscuits – they are a cinch. easy enough for a school night, even.

the only challenge here might be getting your hands on a jar of golden syrup. golden syrup is the color of molasses and has the viscosity of honey, but it has the faint taste of toasted sugar – like the top of a crème brûlée. it gives these cookies a richer, more complex sweetness (and apparently is an ingredient in those much-loved tim tams, too). but i’ve never seen it in the states.

just in case you won’t have a chance to fly to australia and back in the near future, the recipe below offers corn syrup as an alternative, and this lovely post suggests swapping in honey. the flavor will be different, yes – but in any case, you will end up with a set of chewy, hearty cookies good enough to eat for breakfast.


ANZAC Biscuits
Cooking Light, April 1997
Makes 2 dozen cookies

1 cup regular (“old-fashioned”) oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup stick margarine butter, melted
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons golden syrup or light-colored corn syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 325°.
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Add butter, water, and syrup; stir well. Drop by level tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto greased baking sheets.
  3. Bake at 325° for 12 minutes {mine took closer to 20} or until almost set. Remove from oven; let stand 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from baking sheets. Place on wire racks; let cool completely.

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