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The Anzac biscuit is a traditional Australian and New Zealand biscuit made of oats, coconut, syrup and butter. It was originally made to send to Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) soldiers fighting at Gallipoli in the First World War. These days they are eaten anytime, but especially on the commemorative annual holiday called Anzac Day.
Recipes for the Anzac biscuit differ from cook to cook but the basic ingredients of rolled oats, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, syrup and flour are common to almost all of them. The result is a chewy and sweet biscuit enjoyed by young and old. Some recipes add bicarbonate of soda and others use baking soda.
The general method for making the Anzac biscuit is to sift the flour and add the dry ingredients to it, that is the sugar, desiccated coconut and oats. In a saucepan over low heat the butter is melted and syrup added. A little bit of water and the bicarbonate of soda is stirred into the melted butter and syrup.
The liquid is slowly added into the dry ingredients and mixed well until all the ingredients are equally combined. The mixture is then divided up using a tablespoon onto a greased baking tray. Each biscuit uses about a tablespoon of the mixture and should be flattened with a fork. They should not be placed touching, but some space should be left between each Anzac biscuit to allow for expansion during cooking.
The biscuits are then baked in a pre-heated oven for about ten minutes until they are golden brown. They are best eaten fresh out of the oven, but they keep well stored. Both the biscuits and the dough can be frozen for some months.
The origin of the Anzac biscuit was from Australia's involvement with the Allies in World War 1. An ANZAC submarine commanded by Henry Stoker, landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, making it the first major military action by Australia and New Zealand in the First World War.
There was a strong contingent of ANZAC soldiers in Gallipoli during this time and Anzac biscuits were one of the "treats" sent from home by the soldiers loved ones. Anzac Day is still celebrated each year on 25 April and is a national public holiday. It is a day of commemoration for all those who died during the war and, traditionally, Anzac biscuits are eaten during the commemorative celebrations.
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