During World War 1, the loved ones of Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied by the military during their campaign. All Foods that were sent to the soldiers had to travel by ship. This was a very long journey and most of the ships were without refrigeration, which limited what could be sent. A group of women then came up with the idea of a relatively nutritious biscuit that was based on rolled oats and would not spoil. It was used as a substitute for bread that would provide energy. The biscuits would be packed in to air tight tins to keep them crisp and they would then be shipped off to the soldiers. Some soldiers would grind the biscuit up to use as porridge.
The ANZAC biscuit used to be known as the Soldiers’ biscuit. The name was then changed to the “ANZAC biscuit” mostly to commemorate the ANZAC tradition as the biscuit was a part of the staple diet for soldiers fighting at Gallipoli.
The basic ingredients of ANZAC biscuits were: rolled oats, plain flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate soda, coconut and water.
Below is a recipe from the Healthy Food Guide for a healthier ANZAC biscuit.
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/4 cup plain wholemeal flour
- 1/2 cup dessicated coconut
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup
- 1/4 cup canola or rice bran oil
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine oats, flours, coconut and sugar in a bowl.
- Combine golden syrup, oil and water in a microwave-proof bowl and stir to combine. Microwave on high for 25–30 seconds. Whisk in baking soda until well combined (it might foam up a little).
- Add syrup mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. Drop teaspoonfuls of mixture onto baking tray, leaving space between them (they will spread). Flatten with your fingers or a fork.
- Bake for 10–15 minutes, until golden. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
The original ingredients were swapped for healthier alternatives in order to decrease the energy, fat and sugar content.
The recipe can also be found at:
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This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist.
If you have any questions relating to nutrition issues, contact us today to make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns.