Who doesn’t love Anzac cookies? Hardly anybody. Those amazing sweet biscuits, hugely popular in Australia & New Zealand are made using rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter or margarine, golden syrup, baking soda water and sometimes desiccated coconut. But did you know Anzac actually stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps?
Anzac cookies are the very cookies that were sent by the wives and women’s groups to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easy and the biscuits stayed well during the naval transportation. The biscuits sent for the army then were called as Anzac tiles or Anzac wafers, and were very hard, often used as a bread substitute. However, these cookies were consumed majorly at galas, fetes and other public events like parades, where these cookies would be sold to raise funds for the war efforts. These cookies were then called as the ‘Soldier’s biscuits’.
A special Anzac Day is observed in Australia & New Zealand on the anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand Corps’ landing at Gallipoli in Turkey. Originally, the day was meant as a remembrance to those who had died in that conflict, however, now the day commemorates and honours all servicemen and women past and present who have served and died in the wars or conflicts or any peacekeeping operations. This day is celebrated with a lot of gunfire coffee (black coffee with a splash of rum, said to be a favourite among the soldiers), Playing two-up (a gambling game that is illegal for all the other days of the year) and of course, eating loads and loads of Anzac cookies. In the days leading up to the Anzac Day, Special Collectors’ Old Style biscuit tins with the World War military artwork are produced, apart from the regular plastic packaging for the rest of the year.
Anzac cookies are available all year round, all around the world. The recipe does not include eggs, owing to the scarcity of eggs during the war when these cookies were first made. The simplicity of this recipes makes it perfect for home kitchens and first time bakers.
Anzac cookies are still used as a fundraising item for the Royal New Zealand Returned Services Association (RSA) and the Returned and services League of Australia (RSL). There is also a British version of the Anzac cookies supporting the Royal British Legion available in the UK markets.
Did you know that the term Anzac is protected under Australian Law and cannot be used in Australia without the permission from the Minister for Veteran Affairs?