Is there an Aussie who can help?

Joined Aug 31, 2003
Anzac cookies! I don't know when or where I obtained the recipe for Anzac cookies (oatmeal, shredded coconut, flour, baking powder, sugar, butter & syrup), but they are a lasting success in the sweets department of my small catering business. A lot of clients are curious about the name of this tasty and filling slice. I know that Anzac stands for Australian & New Zealand Army Corps. I also know they fought very heroically in World War I near Gallipoli and I know Australians still commemorate this battle on Anzac Day. But can anybody explain where the Anzac cookies come in? Is there a historic/ original recipe or is every housewife baking her own version. What is their original form, a cookie or a bar or slice. I bake them in a 25cm by 30 cm and 3cm deep Swiss roll pan and cut them in slices of 5 by 6 cm. Is this their original shape? I have been wondering about this for years and hope someone can help me.
Joined Jun 10, 2002
Hello Pierke,
I hope this answers your questions:

During World War 1, the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Here was a problem. Any food they sent to the fighting men had to be carried in the ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of these were lucky to maintain a speed of ten knots (18.5 kilometers per hour). Most had no refrigerated facilities, so any food sent had to be able to remain edible after periods in excess of two months. A body of women came up with the answer - a biscuit with all the nutritional value possible. The basis was a Scottish recipe using rolled oats. These oats were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that helped counteract the extremely cold climate.

The ingredients they used were: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called Soldiers’ Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.

A point of interest is the lack of eggs to bind the ANZAC biscuit mixture together. Because of the war, many of the poultry farmers had joined the services, thus, eggs were scarce. The binding agent for the biscuits was golden syrup or treacle. Eggs that were sent long distances were coated with a product called ke peg (like Vaseline) then packed in air tight containers filled with sand to cushion the eggs and keep out the air.

As the war drew on, many groups like the CWA (Country Women’s Association), church groups, schools and other women’s organisations devoted a great deal of time to the making of ANZAC biscuits. To ensure that the biscuits remained crisp, they were packed in used tins, such as Billy Tea tins. You can see some of these tins appearing in your supermarket as exact replicas of the ones of earlier years. Look around. The tins were airtight, thus no moisture in the air was able to soak into the biscuits and make them soft. Most people would agree there is nothing worse than a soft biscuit.

During World War 2, with refrigeration in so many Merchant Navy Ships, the biscuits were not made to any great extent. It was now possible to send a greater variety of food, like fruit cake.

ANZAC biscuits are still made today. They can also be purchased from supermarkets and specialty biscuit shops. Around ANZAC Day, these biscuits are also often used by veterans’ organisations to raise funds for the care and welfare of aged war veterans.

This is from an Australian ANZAC Day site.
The biscuits have become an Australian classic, along with pavlova, lamingtons, meat pies etc.
Glad they are doing so well for you all the way over in Holland.
PS: They are traditionally made as biscuits (cookies)
Joined Aug 31, 2003
Thanks Polly! All questions answered. They taste even better now I know their background.


Ps. Do you know an Internet site selling Lemmington bar pans, gem irons and nut roll tins?
Joined Aug 29, 2000
Pierke, here is a site with cast iron baking pans:


In the U.S., we don't have a particular name for a Lamington tray. We just say, "13 by 9 by 2 inch pan", at least in my part of the country. It sort of looked like a jelly roll pan too, which is 15" X 10" by 1". That may help as you search websites. The jelly roll pan may be the nut roll tin??

Good luck!
Joined May 2, 2003
I'm expecting someone to break out some Copha to make those mint and caramel slices any minute now...
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