Baking and history are two of my favorite things, so when I find a recipe with a great story behind it, I have to give it a try.
ANZAC biscuits originated in World War I, when the families of troops in the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) needed a sturdy treat that could make a successful trip from the kitchens of Sydney or Wellington to the Mediterranean, where ANZAC troops were stationed. This is a hearty cookie, and the finished product is definitely one that could stand up to the tests of shipping halfway around the world. I like to imagine the delight of the men who received packages from home, with letters from their wives and tins of these cookies to give them a smile and the smallest sense of normalcy amid chaos.
ANZAC biscuits are baked with Lyle’s Golden Syrup, which would have been a common pantry staple in the British Commonwealth during World War I. Scottish businessman Abram Lyle discovered that after sugar cane was refined it produced a syrup that could be further refined and used as a sweetener in cooking and baking. The syrup became wildly popular and by 1922 was even used by the British royal family. I bought my golden syrup at Soergel Orchards, but for those outside of the Pittsburgh area, it is also available online from King Arthur Flour.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 3/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 12 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 6 tablespoons boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line three baking sheets with foil or parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, and coconut.
In a small saucepan, melt butter and syrup together.
Place baking soda in a small glass measuring cup and carefully add the boiling water, one tablespoon at a time; stir to combine.
Add the baking soda water to the melted butter and syrup, stirring to combine.
Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir to combine; you may need to use your hands to fully incorporate the ingredients.
Using a two-inch cookie scoop, drop dough onto baking sheets and flatten with your hand.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until cookies are golden brown and firm, but not hard.
Note: the dough begins to harden once the butter cools, so it is best to scoop and place on baking sheets immediately after mixing.