ANZAC Biscuits

In 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of an Allied expedition that set out to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula to open the way to the Black Sea for the Allied navies. The ANZAC force landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, meeting fierce resistance from the Ottoman Army, but the campaign dragged on for eight months. At the end of 1915, the Allied forces were evacuated after both sides had suffered heavy casualties and endured great hardships.

Though the Gallipoli campaign failed the actions of the Australian and New Zealand troops during the campaign bequeathed an intangible but powerful legacy. The creation of what became known as an “Anzac legend” became an important part of the national identity, and is often credited with securing the psychological independence of the nation. News of the landing at Gallipoli made a profound impact on Australians and New Zealanders at home and 25 April quickly became the day on which they remembered the sacrifice of those who had died in the war.

This recipe comes from my old friend and neighbor Tom Lestrade. He said they’re just wonderful, and if you don’t want to trouble with golden syrup (which I recommend you do) Karo dark is a good substitute.

ANZAC BISCUIT RECIPE

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup shredded or flaked sweetened or unsweetened coconut
1 stick butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup (recipe below)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Take half the coconut and half the oats and chop well. Stir together the oats, flour, sugar, salt, and coconut. Place the butter and syrup in a small saucepan or microwave-safe container, and cook or microwave (medium 3-4 min) until the butter has melted and the mixture is bubbling. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the baking soda and boiling water, then stir in the hot butter. Be prepared: the mixture will bubble up, foamy, energetically. This is why you’re using a medium (rather than small) bowl. Stir the butter mixture into the dry ingredients. Hand fold in bowl until everything is moist, no dry spots. Drop the dough, by teaspoonfuls, onto the prepared baking sheets. A teaspoon cookie scoop works well here. Leave at least 1 1/2″ between them; they’ll spread quite a bit. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, until they’re a deep mahogany brown; the cookies are meant to be crisp/crunchy and dark brown, not chewy/light brown. Remove the cookies from the oven, and cool them right on the pan. Store, well wrapped, for a week or so at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

GOLDEN SYRUP

Golden syrup is a lightly caramelized simple syrup flavored with lemon. Dissolve two and a half cups cane sugar into one cup hot water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a bare simmer, add a lemon slice and cook until a golden color.