The recipe I'm sharing today is one that my Mum baked regularly throughout my childhood and teens. There always seemed to be a batch of New Zealand Biscuits in the round mustard coloured Tupperware tub! I never knew then why they were named as such, however a quick Google and it seems they can also be known as Anzac Biscuits which is particularly appropriate as it's Anzac Day on the 25th of April. According to Wikipedia an Anzac Biscuit is a sweet biscuit, popular in Australia and New Zealand, made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda and boiling water. Yup that's pretty much the New Zealand biscuits I know and love.
Alas there has been somewhat of a twenty year gap since I last had a New Zealand Biscuit but I remembered them with fondness and had chased my Mum for their recipe but she couldn't remember where it had originally come from or find it written down anywhere. I had a good look through her various handwritten recipe books, ripped out magazine pages and clippings but to no avail. However back home I discovered exactly what I was looking for in a teenage reporters come recipe notebook of my own. There are a few other childhood favourites in there that I remember my Mother and Grandmothers making so expect to see Ministers Slices, Cornflake Biscuits and Gingerbread putting in an appearance on the blog very soon, all served up with a slice of nostalgia. Just need to find my Grandma Corntowns recipes for Girdle Scones and Ecclefechan Tart now.
Back to Wikipedia to find out more about Anzac Day; A national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders (ANZACs) who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations and the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.
There appear to be a couple of different theories about the origins of the Anzac Biscuit. One being that they were sent by wives to ANZAC soldiers serving abroad because the ingredients didn't spoil easily so they kept well during naval transportation. Another is that they were sold to raise money for the first world war effort at galas and fetes where they were also known as soldiers biscuits.
Can't beat a wee bit of food history. In my next life I'd absolutely love to come back as a food historian. Think I've left it a bit late in the day for this one.
New Zealand Biscuits / Anzac Biscuits
50g Golden Syrup
100g Caster Sugar
100g Rolled Oats
100g Plain Flour
50g Desiccated Coconut
2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
1 Tbsp Hot Water
Preheat your oven to 175c
Melt the golden syrup, butter and caster sugar in a large pan.
Remove from the heat and mix in all of the dry ingredients.
In a small bowl, dissolve the Bicarbonate of Soda in the tablespoon of hot water and add to the pan mixing well. Leave to cool for 5 minutes.
Divide the mixture into teaspoon sized pieces, you should get at least 30.
Roll into balls and place on greased/lined trays, flattening them slightly and leaving plenty of room in between as they will expand.
Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Let them firm up for a couple of minutes on the tray before carefully moving to a cooling rack with a fish slice.
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