These biscuits bring me straight back, not only, to my mothers’ kitchen, but also to the kitchen of Newbay House. It was the warmest, most welcoming of places and my mother loved working there.
Back in the 1980s, my Mam worked in a beautiful 1800’s guest house, for a lovely family. We were regularly at the house too as even when she wasn’t working, she would often be there. She had become good friends with the people who had transformed it into a haven for guests to come and relax. It was here that my mother acquired many of the recipes that continued to be baked in our kitchen for years.
Among her recipe repertoire, Mam had two biscuit recipes that she baked regularly. One was shortbread and the other an oaty biscuit which I later learned were actually called Anzac Biscuits.
- 100 g Plain Flour
- 90 g Porridge Oats
- 80 g Desiccated Coconut
- 80 g Caster Sugar
- 100 g Butter
- 1½ tbsp Honey
- 1 tsp Bread Soda (Bicarbonate of Soda)
- Preheat oven to 160C (fan, 180 regular oven) and have a cookie sheet/baking tray ready. Boil the kettle with enough water for a cuppa and a few tablespoons!
- Place the flour, oats, coconut and caster sugar into a mixing bowl and stir well. Make a well in the middle and set aside.
- Melt the butter and honey together in a pan over a low heat.
- In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons of boiling water to the 1 tsp of bread soda. Then, moving quickly, stir this into the butter & honey mixture.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and stir well, incorporating everything well.
- Pick up tablespoon size amounts of the mixture and drop them onto the baking sheet, keeping them spaced apart.
- Bake for 10 minutes, approximately and cool on a wire rack.
Anzac biscuits, didn’t of course, come into being in a country guest house in Wexford. They originated in Australia. It is said that Anzac biscuits were baked by wives and women’s groups, and sent to Australian soldiers during World War 1, hence the name ANZAC (Australian & New Zealand Army Corps). The Anzac Biscuit of today is totally different from what those soldiers received, a much sweeter, altogether more palatable offering. The historical connotation is of great importance. Still today, the Anzac Biscuit adorns many a table to celebrate the occasion that is Anzac Day.