During World War I the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of food being supplied to the troops.
Food was transported across the sea at a maximum speed of ten knots, or 18.5 kph, by ships of the Merchant Navy.
The majority of these shops did not contain refrigerated facilities, so any food that was sent had to remain edible for at least two months.
That is when the Anzac Biscuit was invented.
Based on the Scottish recipe using rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water.
All these items did not readily spoil and were easily maintained.
Some soldiers also used crushed biscuits to make porridge.
A point of interest was the lack of eggs used to bind the Anzac Biscuit mixture together. This is largely due to poultry farmers joining the services in the war, thus the eggs were scares.
Eggs, that were sent long distances, were coated with a product similar to Vaseline and then packed into air tight containers and filled with sand.
At first the biscuits were called ‘Soldiers biscuits’ but after the landing on Gallipoli in 1915 they were dubbed Anzac biscuits.
As the war carried on many groups like the Country Women’s Association, churches, schools and other women’s committees would devote a great deal of time to making Anzac biscuits.
When World War II came, refrigeration was installed in many Merchant Navy Ships so the biscuits were not ideal to make. Other foods, such as fruit cake, were sent to the soldiers.
1 1/4 cups plain flour, sifted
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons golden syrup or treacle
150g unsalted butter, chopped
1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
Preheat oven to 170°C.
Place the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl and stir to combine.
In a small saucepan place the golden syrup and butter and stir over low heat until the butter has fully melted.
Mix the bicarb soda with 1 1/2 tablespoons water and add to the golden syrup mixture.
It will bubble whilst you are stirring together so remove from the heat. Pour into the dry ingredients and mix together until fully combined.
Roll tablespoonfuls of mixture into balls and place on baking trays lined with non stick baking paper, pressing down on the tops to flatten slightly.
Bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown.