Blue Ribbon Anzac Biscuits
Friday, 27 April 2012
Honey Anzac Biscuits have been a favourite in our family for decades. This recipe is special because has been in our family for generations and has won a blue ribbon in the 2011 and 2012 Canberra Show.
Anzac Biscuit History
Before we get into the recipe lets take a moment to remember why Anzac biscuits are a favourite for many people and a tradition for Anzac Day. The biscuits were originally known as soldiers’ biscuits and were remarkable because they would remain edible and nutritious for a long period of time. It was the hardiness of the Anzac biscuit that led to their inclusion in parcels sent to soldiers serving overseas. Originally, the parcels were sent to soldiers serving in the First World War, and this is why the parcels were referred to as “care parcels”. They would include items such as handmade woollen socks, biscuits, candy, chocolate, and often an encouraging letter from the person who sent it .
In our family, the Anzac biscuits had a caring element about them because, growing up, my mother and I often made them for the men in our family. They would pack the Anzac biscuits into their “tucker box” as we say and eat them over a period of two or more days when out working the bees. Beekeeping often means the men are away for extended periods of time. The longest length of time the “men were away” was three weeks. These times occurred during our winter, when our bees were moved to south western Queensland (SW QLD). The bees are moved into SW QLD for the winter because the Napunya Tree will often yield significant amounts of honey when little else is flowering. The Anzac biscuit is still a favourite in our family. I recall one time I baked some for my brother for his birthday and sent them to him in the post. Needless to say, this biscuit keeps very well.
I have this recipe with me today, because when I left home, I did the same thing my mother had done. I copied my mother’s recipes and took them with me. In the 1980s I cheated a little because I photocopied my mothers cook book. Fortunately for me it means I have a copy of the original writing my Mum did in the 1960s. The recipe above is in the original form, as written by my mother, from her mother’s cook book.
I’ve translated the recipe below
BLUE RIBBON ANZAC BISCUITS
¼ cup self raising flour
½ cup white sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
1 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup butter or margarine (60 grams)
1 teaspoon honey (for crunchy biscuits)
½ teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons boiling water
A few tips before we get started:
I cook on a tray, lined with baking paper, at 150 degrees C in a fan forced oven for 13-15 minutes, and I always preheat the oven. Ideally, this recipe requires two trays, but you can manage with just one. To be honest – I’m a lazy cook and when I use baking paper it means I don’t have to do so much washing up.
When I refer to rolled oats, I mean traditional oats, not quick oats or 1 minute oats.
I always like to use Yellow Box honey with this recipe. Yellow Box honey is legendary for having the strongest aroma of all Australian honey. It gives the Anzac biscuits an enchanting honey-delicious aroma during baking, cooling, serving and eating. The use of honey in this recipe contributes to the soft, moist texture. If you would like to add our Yellow Box Honey to your Anzac biscuits, we have it available at our Market Stall every weekend, or it can be sent to you by post by clicking here, to go to our online store.
If you prefer Anzac biscuits to be soft and chewy, use an extra teaspoon of honey.
The most important step is to remember to let them cool on the biscuit tray…if you can stop your self or family from eating them. This is why we need two trays
Place the oats, flour, coconut and sugar into a medium size mixing bowl and combine them together.
Melt the butter or margarine on the stove, or if you wanted to, you could also melt the margarine in the microwave. You need to do it on low and be mindful that the butter would have to be covered with a paper towel. I melt the butter first, because it takes a minute or two. If the honey is placed in with the margarine, it would burn.
When the butter (or margarine) has melted, and JUST started to boil the honey is added, and gently warmed. I turn the heat off at this point, to make sure the honey doesn’t burn.
After heating the honey and butter / margarine together, the honey should still be a light colour. We don’t want any burnt bits of butter or honey in the mixture and we don’t want the honey to boil.
It is important to mix the butter and dry ingredients thoroughly before the next step. The butter/honey and dry ingredients are placed to one side for the next step, where you mix the bicarb soda with boiling water. It is important to use boiling or near boiling water at this stage. Cold water doesn’t work.
As I said, I’m a bit of a lazy cook, so I reuse utensils if I can. This means I do this step using the same saucepan I used to melt the butter. It saves on washing up and also makes sure I get all the honey and butter from the sides of the saucepan into the biscuit mixture.
Place the baking soda in the saucepan first, and then add the hot water. It will fizz for a moment, but you don’t have to rush to add it to the mixture while it is fizzing. I prefer to swirl it around and gather the remainder of the butter/margarine from the sides of the saucepan.
It is important to add the hot water to the mix before it cools too much, because it binds all the ingredients together.
Add the water and baking soda as one amount, and mix through thoroughly. The mixture should come together
Now the mix is ready to transfer onto the baking tray. I use two soup spoons to place the mix onto the tray. Over time, I’ve found they are the perfect measure, and make delightful round biscuit shapes. As I scoop the mixture into /onto the spoon, I drag it up the side of the bowl and press into the spoon. I also use the two spoons to place the mixture onto the tray.
I use two soup spoons to place the mixture onto the tray
When placing the biscuits onto the tray, leave some space around them because they will expand as they cook. Blue ribbon biscuits don’t touch each other. This is because when the biscuits touch each other they change shape and will also leave an unsightly mark on the edge of the biscuit
I generally aim for 12 biscuits per tray. Any leftover mixture will be OK to leave sitting at room temperature. Ideally, we would have two trays as we must leave the biscuits to cool on the tray after cooking. When making blue ribbon Anzac biscuits, I recommend using only one tray in the oven at a time. It’s easier to manage the heat distribution in the oven that way
Place the biscuits into a preheated oven (150 C fan forced), on the middle shelf, for 13 to 15 minutes.
The most important step is to let the biscuits cool on the tray, before storing. If you take them off when warm or hot they will be quite soft, lose their shape and stick together. I store them in a air tight container, with a sheet of baking paper between each layer
If I was baking to enter these biscuits for a show, I would have fussed a bit more to ensure they were all the same shape. Look closely, at the top right hand corner – three are show quality, and one is misshapen. The misshapen biscuit would be rejected and not included in a show entry.
Happy baking with our families Blue Ribbon Anzac biscuit recipe, of course you will need to use Honey Delight Yellow Box Honey to achieve the standard befitting a blue ribbon.
Liz Posmyk from “Bizzy Lizzys Good Things” kindly helped me to put this blog together. The original post can be found as a guest blog at;