The Anzac Biscuit – A Recipe Lost To Time Now Found

Pre-1920s Anzac Biscuit recipe Photo Credit: Allison Reynolds

There is something magical about finding an original recipe to a food we find so dear. To see how it has morphed and evolved into the treat we know and love today is simply amazing. Sometimes it brings up more questions than it answers. Who knew there could be mystery and adventure tied to a simple recipe!

Do you like Biscuits? No, I don’t mean the fluffy or flaky bread we Americans have gotten so used to having with breakfast next to eggs and bacon or smothered in sausage gravy.  The kind I’m referring to are the crispy, sweet versions our English cousins and their cohorts around the world have with their daily tea.  We would call them cookies, but at the same time they aren’t what we typically know as cookies.  Watching the Great British Baking Show with Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood we’ve come to appreciate the intricacies and unique flavors of traditional English baking.  We even sought out our first packet of English biscuits ever and fell in love with them!

Yesterday, while looking at my Klout news feed I discovered an article about a biscuit widely favored in Australia called the Anzac biscuit.  Apparently, a cook named Allison Reynolds started searching several years ago for a more original recipe and finally found a printed version from a home cook’s hand-printed cookbook circa 1920.  This recipe is missing coconut which is traditional for this tea-time favorite, but all the other good stuff is there.  To learn more about this biscuit check out this article on The News Daily – Australia.

Freshly baked Anzac Biscuits with desiccated coconut on a cooling rack.
Photo credit: ABC

Carole Moore’s pre-1920s family recipe Anzac biscuit

This recipe was discovered in Carole Moore’s family recipe notebook compiled before 1920.

“Really worth a try – less sugar, flour and no desiccated coconut – but double the oats,” Ms Reynolds said.


2 level cups / 200g / 6 oz rolled oats

1 level cup / 125g / 4 1/2 oz plain flour

1/2 cup / 105g / 3 1/2 oz granulated sugar

125g / 4 1/2 oz butter

1 extra generous Tbsp golden syrup

1 tsp. bicarbonate of soda

2 tbsp. boiling water


Pre-set oven 170F/150C, and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Put the oats, flour and sugar into a large bowl and mix well.

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium heat, dip tablespoon in hot water and then use to measure the golden syrup, stir till dissolved and just coming to the boil – remove from heat source (but don’t allow it to cool).

Stir the bicarbonate of soda with the measured boiling water until its dissolved then add to the pan of hot melted butter and golden syrup.

Stir until it ‘froths up’ – immediately add to the dry ingredients and mix all together.

Taking teaspoons or a flat dessert spoon of the mixture – place it in your hand, bring together by rolling into a ball, place 5 cm apart on the baking sheet (they will spread).

The biscuits need to be flattened slightly – use the base of a glass or, press down with a fork dipped in a little flour (this will stop it sticking).

Put trays in a pre heated oven for 15 to 18 minutes until golden (they will still be soft)

Leave the biscuits on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. When the biscuits are cold store them in an air tight tin.

Originally published by ABC North and West SA in 2014.

By the way, does anyone have any “golden syrup”?

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