ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia’s most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.
For those of you reading that aren’t Australian, Anzac Day is a public holiday in Australia. There are what we call ‘Dawn Services’ all over the country, where people get up before the sun rises, and march in a parade – both veterans of war, their relatives (often bearing the medals of those fathers, grandfathers, uncles and brothers who served and have since passed) and local people and community groups, such as Girl Guides and Scouts.
It’s a day that we remember those who bravely fought for our countries, those who lost their lives fighting for us, and those serving today.
Anzac Biscuits (or what Americans refer to as ‘cookies) are a long tradition. It is said that biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.
As a young girl I used to get up early and put on my Girl Guide uniform and march in a local parade. A funny story that my mum will hate me telling – I remember when I was 9 years old, and we were living with our grandparents in Marton, I got up early one Anzac Day to march in the parade. I went into mum’s room to wake her up to walk me down the street, and found that she wasn’t there. It turns out that she was still out – at 4:30 in the morning. I’m not sure if this was the occasion that we found her climbing onto the roof to get in to the house on the second floor (because we lived above my grandparents shop, and Poppy deadlocked the door every night, and she wasn’t able to get in!) or if that was another time… but it was funny!
It’s always hard being away from home on a holiday. And, since I am on the other side of the world, I decided that today, April 25, I would share a small tradition with my host family, and bake Anzac Biscuits with and for them. When I told Miss 3 that these were Australian biscuits, she was worried, and ask if I had to take them all back to Australia, or if I would let her eat some!
So thank you to all those men and women who have served, and those who gave their lives. We really are lucky to live in one of the best countries in the world (if not THE best!).
I know it’s a little late, but I thought I’d share my Anzac Biscuit recipe with any Aussie au pairs reading (or any other au pairs who want to try out this simple recipe), so that you can share our nations ‘cookie’ with your host families too. I slightly altered it from this recipe, and it works well with American ingredients!
Anzac Biscuits – Cyndi Style
1 cup quick oats (I used Quaker brand)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 cup flaked coconut (I use the Angel Flake Coconut [store brand] and I dehydrate it in my toaster oven before using it, but you can use it wet as well!)
1/2 cup (one stick) salted butter
3 tablespoons Golden Syrup (You should be able to find “Lyle’s” brand from the UK at an average grocery store)
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 teaspoon baking soda
- Heat oven to 350°F (175°C)
- Mix the flour, sugar, coconut and oats in a bowl.
- In a small pot, melt the butter and golden syrup together. (I use a whisk to mix them together once the butter is melted, as the butter has a tendency to separate)
- Disolve the baking soda in the water, and then mix into the butter mixture.
- Add butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
- Drop spoonfuls on a greased cookie sheet/tray (I use one lined with baking paper to stop them sticking!)
- Bake 15-20 minutes. You need to keep a close eye on them, as they have the tendency to burn because of the high sugar content. A longer cooking time with give a crunchier biscuit. If you like your bikkies soft, consider cooking for 13-15 minutes! (Although this receipe does seem to produce a biscuit that is soft when it comes out of the oven, but quickly hardens.)
- Enjoy your little slice of Australia!