Tomorrow (25th of April) is ANZAC Day. The word ‘ANZAC’ (an acronym for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) was coined during WW1 to refer to the Aussie and Kiwi troops in Egypt. More than 10,000 of them lost their lives during the campaign to capture Gallipoli in Turkey, which saw them landing on the penisula on the 25th of April 1915. Now ANZAC Day not only remembers these WW1 soldiers but all the Australian and New Zealand men and women who have served and died in wars.
Anzac biscuits came about supposedly when the soldiers’ loved ones wanted to send them something nutritious from home. They had to send something that could withstand a couple of months travel without refrigeration and use ingredients that were readily available during the war. The traditional Anzac biscuit of rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water was born.
If you would like to make the traditional Anzac biscuit there are many recipes online, including this one on the ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee website and also here (with a choice of crisp or chewy biscuits).
I experimented to make a sugar-free, more toddler-friendly version. Instead of the sugar and golden syrup (or treacle in some recipes), I used honey and applesauce (unsweetened pureed apple). The texture with these two substitutions produces a biscuit with a soft chewy centre, but you can make them less chewy by flattening out the biscuits as much as possible before cooking them.
They went down very well with Nicholas (he’s had them as snacks and also for breakfast, and they survive dunking in milk very well). Hubby, who usually doesn’t like my sugar-free experiments, has happily eaten them without complaint, while I’ve also scoffed a few feeling a lot less guilty than if they were packed with sugar.
This would be a great recipe to try making with your munchkins, but because of the honey it’s advised not to give these biscuits to little ones under 12 months old. It’s also a recipe that’s easy to halve if you don’t want to make so many biscuits.
SUGAR-FREE ANZAC BISCUITS
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15-20 mins
Makes about 30 biscuits
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup applesauce / apple puree
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp boiling water
Preheat the oven to 160C and line two oven trays with baking paper.
Gently melt the butter with the honey either in the microwave or in a small saucepan. Let cool.
Combine the rolled oats, plain flour and coconut.
Mix the bicarbonate of soda with the boiling water and add it to the cooled butter mixture.
Stir the butter and bicarbonate of soda mixture into the dry ingredients, add the applesauce or puree and mix until combined.
Place teaspoonfuls of the mixture (it’s normal that it’s quite runny) onto your prepared trays and flattened the mixture out (the thicker the biscuit the softer and more chewier the centre will be). Unlike traditional Anzac biscuits, these won’t spread any more during cooking.
Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Remove carefully from the trays (they’ll still be quite soft) to cool on a wire rack.
- Use the biscuits as the base for individual unbaked cheesecakes: place a whole biscuit in the bottom of a muffin tin (lined with a paper case to get it out more easily), top with your preferred cheesecake mix and refrigerate.
- Use broken up biscuits as a crumble topping for cooked fruit.