Anzac biscuits to bolster the cookie tins

WITH New Zealanders all fired up for the premiere of The Hobbit movie at the end of the month, The Global Table revisits one of our archive recipes from that country.

The recipe – for Anzac Biscuits – was shared by former Port Elizabeth school teacher Nicola Hare who has been living in Wellington, New Zealand, for nearly three years. These cookies are straight from World War I, when the wives of servicemen fighting in the Australia and New Zealand Armed Corps (Anzac) sent them to their hubbies on the front.

The crunchy treats, which keep very well, are eaten all year round, but are especially popular on Anzac Day on April 25, which is celebrated to pay tribute to the Anzac troops who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during the First World War.

These buttery biscuits made with oats and coconut are a favourite with “trampers” (hikers in SA-speak), because they are nutritious and can survive a few days at the bottom of a rucksack.

As is the case with the Pavlova dessert, Kiwis and Aussies both claim to be the original source of Anzac biscuits, but most Newzealanders will insist the word Anzac was first printed in combination with the recipe in a 1921 cookbook published in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Anzac biscuits. Picture: Supplied

Anzac biscuits. Picture: Supplied

Anzac Biscuits – The Recipe

The recipe Nicola shared was slightly adapted from the Edmonds Sure to Rise Cookery Book. This New Zealand icon was first published in 1908 and remains the standard work for homely Kiwi recipes. It makes about 36 biscuits.


100g butter; 1 Tbsp golden syrup; ½ cup sugar; ¾ cup desiccated coconut; ¾ cup rolled oats; ¾ cup of plain baking (cake) flour; 1 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda); 2 Tbsp hot water


Melt the butter and syrup together in a large saucepan. Take the saucepan off the plate to cool. Mix the sugar, coconut, rolled oats and flour together. Stir the dry mixture into the saucepan.  Dissolve the baking soda in the water and mix it into the other ingredients. Place rounded teaspoonfuls (though Nicola thinks “tablespoonfuls work even better”) on a greased oven tray and press down lightly on each spoonful with a fork.  Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove the biscuits from the oven and allow them to cool on the tray for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

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