ANZAC biscuit

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ANZAC biscuits are a sweet biscuit popular in Australia and New Zealand, made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.

It has been claimed the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation.[1] Today, ANZAC biscuits are manufactured commercially for retail sale.

Biscuits issued to soldiers by the Army, referred to as "Anzac tiles" or "Anzac wafers", differ from the popular Anzac biscuit. Anzac tiles and wafers were hard tack, a bread substitute, which had a long shelf life and was very hard.[2]



In a speech to the East Otago Federation of Women’s Institutes, Professor Helen Leach, of the Archaeology Department of the University of Otago in New Zealand, stated that the first published use of the name Anzac in a recipe was in an advertisement in the 7th edition of St Andrew's Cookery Book (Dunedin, 1915). This was a cake, not a biscuit, and there were no mixing instructions. A recipe for "Anzac Biscuits" appeared in the War Chest Cookery Book (Sydney, 1917) but was for a different biscuit altogether. The same publication included a prototype of today's Anzac biscuit, called Rolled Oats Biscuits. The combination of the name Anzac and the recipe now associated with it first appeared in the 9th edition of St Andrew's Cookery Book (Dunedin, 1921) under the name "Anzac Crispies". Subsequent editions renamed this "Anzac Biscuits" and Australian cookery books followed suit. Professor Leach also said that further research might reveal earlier references to the name and recipe in Australia or New Zealand.[3]

Current popularity

Today, ANZAC Biscuits are manufactured commercially for retail sale. Because of their military connection with the ANZACs and ANZAC Day, these biscuits are often used as a fundraising item for the Royal New Zealand Returned Services' Association (RSA) and the Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL). A British (though still Australian-produced) version of the ANZAC biscuit, supporting the Royal British Legion, is available in several major supermarket chains in the UK.[4]

Legal issues

The term ANZAC is protected under Australian law[5] and therefore the word should not be used without permission from the Minister for Veterans' Affairs;[6] misuse can be legally enforced particularly for commercial purposes. Likewise similar restrictions on naming[7] are enshrined in New Zealand law[8] where the Governor General can elect to enforce naming legislation. There is a general exemption granted for ANZAC Biscuits, as long as these biscuits remain basically true to the original recipe and are both referred to and sold as ANZAC Biscuits and never as cookies.[9]

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