What’s An ANZAC Biscuit?

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On April 25th, people across Australia, New Zealand, and associated regions like Samoa and the Cook Islands come together to commemorate Anzac Day. This national day of remembrance honors the sacrifices made by Australians and New Zealanders during the First World War. The observances include various traditions such as wearing poppies, participating in processions and parades, attending special ceremonies, and engaging in commemorative activities. And of course, one of the cherished customs involves enjoying Anzac biscuits.

But what exactly is an Anzac?

Anzac is an abbreviation for the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, a significant military formation during the war.

Now, what’s the connection to cookies?

During the First World War, women in Australia and New Zealand would prepare Anzac biscuits and send them to soldiers stationed overseas, particularly those serving in Gallipoli. These biscuits served as a practical ration as their ingredients, including rolled oats, flour, margarine, baking soda, sugar, hot water, and coconut, were non-perishable. Notably, the original recipe did not include eggs.

The first published reference to Anzac biscuits appeared in the War Chest Cookery Book, published in Sydney, Australia, in 1917. However, that recipe was different from the one we now associate with Anzac biscuits. Interestingly, the same book featured a recipe similar to today’s Anzac biscuits, but it was called “rolled oat biscuits.”

In 1919, the St. Andrew’s Cookery Book, published in Dunedin, New Zealand, included a recipe for biscuits using the same ingredients mentioned earlier. They were initially referred to as “Anzac crispies” but eventually became known as Anzac biscuits in subsequent publications. Since then, the name has stuck, and Anzac biscuits have become a beloved symbol of remembrance and culinary tradition.

The Anzac memorial at Galipoli, in Turkey.
The Anzac memorial at Galipoli, in Turkey.

Where can I get them now?

If you’re in Australia, New Zealand, or any of the other regions that observe Anzac Day, you can likely buy them at grocery stores year-round. If not — well, we guess you’re just going to have to travel there.

Can I just make them myself?

Of course! Click here for a recipe.

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