Anzac Biscuits

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Some of the best things in life are the simple ones, and these biscuits are a testimony to this truism. The combination of butter, oats and syrup is rarely bettered (good flapjacks are the unsung heroes of the tea-table), and here the addition of some sweet coconut complements the classic combination.

These biscuits were first invented by the WAGS of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) in World War I. The industrious ladies baked these delicious and simple biscuits without eggs – which were scarce at the time –  using ingredients which would not spoil during the long journey overseas. A small parcel redolent with the smell of syrup, butter and coconut must have been a joy to receive.

These literally take 20 minutes to assemble and bake, so when you’re craving something sweet to dunk in your tea, shun the dreary McVitie and knock up a batch for yourself. They also travel exceptionally well (as those WWI ladies realised) and so make excellent gifts, and are very economical to boot. I find a batch of fresh Anzacs can soothe the frayed tempers of hosts and hostesses when you have overstayed your welcome (as I am wont to do).    

The cup measure is purely for ease here: as long as you use the same cup for every measurement, it doesn’t matter what size it is.  

Makes 12 good-sized biscuits 

1 cup porridge oats

1 cup dessicated coconut

1 cup plain flour

125g (half a pat) of butter

3/4 cup soft brown sugar

2 tablespoons golden syrup

pinch salt

1 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 160. Melt the butter with the syrup and sugar. Stir into the dry mixture and shape in your hands into small balls, about the size of a golf ball. Flatten a little and place wide apart on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.  

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