The original Anzac biscuit? circa 1920


  • 200g rolled oats
  • 125g plain flour
  • 100g sugar
  • 125g butter
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (bi-carb soda)
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water


Culinary historian Allison Reynolds is author of 'Anzac Biscuits, the power and spirit of a national icon'. She has kindly shared this recipe which is based on a hand written recipe found in a notebook that belonged to Carolyn Warner in South Australia. Research indicates that it was compiled before 1920, and is one of the earliest recipes to identify the now iconic oat and golden syrup biscuit as an 'Anzac'.
This recipe has less sugar, flour and no desiccated coconut – but double the oats than the more familiar modern-day versions. The original handwritten recipe asks for 1 tablespoon of golden syrup, but experience with this recipe suggests that it was a very generous measure, and works best with 30 mls.


Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Put the oats, flour and sugar into a large bowl and mix well.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and add the golden syrup (see the Cook’s tip below). Stir till dissolved and just coming to the boil, then remove from the heat (but don’t allow it to cool).
Place the boiling water into a small cup, add the bicarbonate of soda and stir until it is dissolved, then add the soda mixture to the saucepan of butter and syrup. Stir until it froths, and immediately add the hot mixture to the dry ingredients and mix all together.
Check mixture is cool enough to handle, then take a flat dessertspoon of the mixture, place it in your hand, and bring together by rolling into a ball. Place 5 cm apart on the baking sheet (they will spread), flattening slightly – use the base of a glass or press down with a fork, dipped in a little flour (this will stop the glass or fork sticking).
Put trays in the oven for 15–18 minutes until golden (they will still be soft).
Leave the biscuits on the trays for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.
When the biscuits are cold store them in an airtight tin.
Cook’s tip – when measuring out the golden syrup, dip the tablespoon into hot water so that it slips from the spoon easily, or warm the bottle or tin of syrup by standing in hot water so it isn’t too thick to pour.

This recipe appeared in the post Commemorative crafts on April 24, 2014.

This recipe appeared in the post 'Red flannel hash' and other wartime cookery solutions on April 23, 2018.

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