Passing down the legacy of ANZAC biscuits: A heartfelt journey through family recipes and remembrance

Apr 25, 2024
Source: Getty Images.

Over the Easter break I stayed with my daughter and her family in Melbourne. I loved every minute, helping them with their daily tasks, anything to lighten the burden.

Whether it was driving to drop-off or pick-up, often as a passenger with my Learner grandson, food shopping, tidying up my grandsons’ bedrooms (that is always a challenge but one I love and have permission to do, massaging my daughter’s neck) after a long day (also reciprocated), unpacking the dishwasher, folding the washing or just cooking, all gave me peace of mind.

Notwithstanding all this, I was particularly delighted when my daughter wanted me to make a few family dishes as well as bake her scones and ANZAC Biscuits. My grandsons loved and appreciated everything I cooked. But the highlight was when my youngest grandson asked if I could show him how to cook ANZAC biscuits using my mother’s, his great-grandmother’s, handwritten recipe.

We had the best time. He did all the work as I guided him along the way on the best process. The first instruction was to ask him what must he do before he began. Wash my hands he said, and I smiled. From then on he followed the recipe with minimal direction and produced a perfect batch of biscuits. They were better than the ones I had made a few days earlier.


Perfect timing as we mark our national day of remembrance, ANZAC Day on 25 April (Australian and New Zealand Army Corp est. WW1). In recognition of the sacrifices of those, and who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations, including the landing of the ANZAC at Gallipoli.

I thought it an appropriate opportunity to share the ANZAC Biscuit recipe our mother used. I feel sure she would be happy to share although it is a standard recipe anyway and a tradition adopted since World Wars I and II.

Which war exactly, and how this recipe became identified with ANZAC or the First World War, is unknown. It has been claimed that wives and mothers would send biscuits to their soldiers in Europe. They were inexpensive to make, lasted a long trip by sea, and could be eaten over time.

I also read that they were not sent to our soldiers but instead made at home by our Aussies and Kiwis to raise funds for the war. No matter the history, they were baked for a worthy reason and remain one of the best biscuit recipes ever.

The preferences with the ANZAC biscuits recipe can vary and are personal, depending on whom you speak with and family traditions. One of the most discussed issues is a penchant for the biscuit’s thickness and texture.

Some like them thicker and chewy but I love them thinner with a crispy bite. Either way, they all taste divine.

I share this recipe in commemoration of our ANZACs and ancestors who protected our country, in loving memory of our mum Marie Dunham who took enormous pride filling up the large glass jars.

ANZAC Biscuit Recipe


  • 125 grams or ¼ lb butter
  • 1 tablespoon golden Syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 cup rolled oats1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 cup castor sugar


  • Turn on oven and heat to 150C -170C (fan forced)
  • Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Dissolve butter and golden syrup in a pot careful not to burn.
  • Add bicarbonate dissolved in the boiling water to the pot and stir.
  • Pour liquid onto the dry ingredients and mix well.
  • Line the baking tray with baking paper.
  • Place heaped teaspoons of mixture onto the baking tray, slightly press each one, spaced apart to allow for spreading.
  • Cook in a preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes. You may need to leave them in the oven a few minutes longer to ensure a lovely golden colour.
  • Leave on the tray until cool. Store in an airtight container.

Lest We Forget.

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