For so many Australians, Anzac Day is a day of reflection and an opportunity to say ‘thanks’ to the men and women who fought for this nation in its first major military action, World War I.
On this day, April 25, we remember the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who banded together to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. It is a day when we are reminded of the fierce resistance the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) met from their Turkish opponents and how more than 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed in the battle.
Today, Australians stand side-by-side to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in not just the first World War, but in World War II and the military operations that followed. We will gather at dawn services across the country – the time of the original Gallipoli landing – and close our eyes as the Last Post plays out into the dark; we will line the streets of our towns and cities as a sign of respect to our ex- and current servicemen and women; and we will share in an Anzac biscuit over a ‘cuppa’ as a tribute to those who have served.
Who knew that a simple biscuit sent to the fighting men by their friends and families would become so important to the history of the Anzacs. Originally known as the Soldiers’ Biscuit, the change in name is as a result of us wanting to recognise the Anzac legacy and how it formed part of the staple diet of our soldiers at Gallipoli.
The shelf life of Anzac biscuits made them a replacement for bread, but unlike bread the traditional biscuit is renowned for being very, very hard.
The ingredients for making Anzac biscuits are very simple: rolled oats, plain flour, sugar, coconut, butter, treacle (or golden syrup), bi-carb soda and boiling water, and the best ones are always those that have been baked at home.
Below is a traditional recipe (courtesy of Bob Lawson, an ANZAC present at Gallipoli), but if you have a variation, feel free to share.
1 cup each of plain flour, sugar, rolled oats, and coconut
4 oz (114g) butter
1 tablespoon treacle (golden syrup)
2 tablespoon boiling water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda (add a little more water if mixture is too dry)
Grease biscuit tray and pre-heat oven to 180C. Combine dry ingredients. Melt together butter and golden syrup. Combine water and bicarbonate soda, and add to butter mixture. Mix butter mixture and dry ingredients. Drop teaspoons of mixture onto tray, allowing room for spreading. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.