The name ANZAC comes from Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, hence you’ll easily find these cookies in Australia and New Zealand. It wasn’t the army corps that came up with the recipe. It has been claimed that the biscuits (or cookies for Americans!) were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. You can read more on the history here. Thank you ANZAC wives for coming up with this wonderful cookie!
The recipe is very forgiving, if you don't follow all the directions exactly or even leave out or replace some ingredients the cookies will still be very delicious. And the cookies turn out different each time I make them.
The recipe which was put together decades ago is excellent, something so good does not need to be changed. However curiosity got the better of me and I could not resist experimenting:
- margarine instead of butter: The cookies were still very nice however it cannot beat butter. Butter adds a nice flavour and aroma. And because butter has a lower melting point compared with margarine, cookies made with butter spreads during baking. If you use margarine, the cookie will retain the shape during baking, therefore you will need to flatten the cookie more before baking.
- without golden syrup: Golden syrup helps in binding, adds more chewiness and deepens the flavour. Cookies without golden syrup will still be delicious but it will not be the same
- brown sugar instead of white sugar: Naturally there is more flavour with brown sugar
- with dark syrup instead of golden syrup: Dark syrup has a more intense flavour and personally I prefer using dark syrup instead of golden syrup.
- with molasses instead of golden syrup: molasses adds a stronger flavor. While the cookies made with molasses are still very nice, they are quite different from ANZAC Cookies. You can find a molasses version of the recipe here.
- without baking soda: the cookies still turn out nice though it does not rise as much. The difference is almost negligible since the air trapped by the oat flakes helps in rising
- with baking powder instead of baking soda: the cookies were the same. I mixed baking powder with flour before adding to the butter mixture.
- with a mixture of oil and butter: The difference is not much. There was enough butter to give the butter flavor while the oil changes the texture a little bit and also affects the nutritional profile of the cookie, perhaps in a positive way.
- without flour: I have replaced flour with oat flour to make gluten free ANZAC Cookies. The cookies were wonderful, lighter, crispier and chewy. The recipe is available here.
Be gentle when forming the dough into balls and flattening it. If you press too hard the cookies will be tougher while if you are too gentle the cookies will be really delicate. You can experiment and find a balance that suits your taste.
You can freeze extra dough. Freezing does not affect the quality, the only problem is that frozen dough eaten straight out of the freezer is extremely delicious.
ANZAC cookies are not really well know outside of Australia and NZ. The following bloggers have tried ANZAC's. You can read about their experiences here:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup desiccated coconut
¾ - 1 cup sugar (original recipe suggests 1 cup, I prefer less)
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons boiling water
- Heat the oven to 180°C/360°F
- Melt butter and golden syrup in a saucepan
- Mix baking soda with boiling water and add to the butter mixture
- Combine all dry ingredients then add melted mixture and mix well
- Roll teaspoonfuls of the mixture into balls, place on baking tray and flatten slightly
- Bake until golden brown and delicious, approx 10-15 minutes