What are the origins of an ANZAC biscuit?
With ANZAC day coming up shortly have you ever thought how the Australians at Gallipoli made ANZAC biscuits? ANZAC biscuits (as we know it) were also known as ANZAC Wafer or ANZAC Tile but more commonly hard tack.
While they were fighting on Gallipoli the Australian soldiers were supplied with food from as far away as Egypt and Greece, and this, combined with the lack of refrigeration, meant they could eat very little fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products. So, what did they eat? Tinned corned beef, rice, jam, cocoa, tea and hard tack.
The original biscuits were made by Arnott’s and the recipe below has been provided by Arnott’s.
- 11/2 cups self-raising white flour
3 cups self-raising wholemeal flour
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons milk powder
1 cup water
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Place the dry ingredients in a large bowl and mix together.
Make a well in the centre and add the water. Mix together until an even dough is formed.
Turn the dough onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes. Shape the dough into a ball and let rest for half an hour.
Divide the dough into three and then roll each ball into thick 1cm sheets.
Cut the rolled sheet of dough into 9cm squares, using the edge of a steel ruler, rather than a knife. This pressing action helps to join the top and bottom surfaces of the biscuit and will improve the ‘lift’ in baking.
Now make a regular pattern of holes in each biscuit, five holes across by five holes down (25 holes in all). The ideal tool to use to make these holes is a cotton bud with the cotton wool cut off or the thick end of a bamboo skewer. Push it through to the bench, twist slightly and withdraw. (Some historians claim that each biscuit had 49 holes).
Place on a slightly greased baking tray, being careful that the biscuits are not touching. Form a wall around the outside edge with scrap dough. This will stop the outside edges of the biscuits from burning.
Bake on the middle shelf for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden brown. Be careful not to burn them!
Leave the biscuits on a cooling rack until they harden. Or switch off the oven and return the biscuits to the oven until it becomes cool.
Be careful, they can be very hard!