Anzac biscuits were originally made by women at home in Australia to send overseas to their men at war. The biscuits had to not spoil quickly (and are therefore egg free), and not break apart during transport. The first version were called Anzac Tiles because they were so incredibly hard. We tend to make them more at this time of year as we commemorate our defence forces - past and present - on Anzac Day on April 25. But, of couse, they're great all year round.
After a LOT of experimenting I have finally come up with a combination of ingredients that I think works best as a gluten, dairy and refined sugar free biscuit. As you will find if you do an online search, there are many recipes out there, both for traditional Anzacs and gluten free. The gluten and dairy free ones that use oats generally have the same list of ingredients, it just tends to be the quantities that differ. The only big difference out there is that some people have attempted to make them without oats, which I have tried in the past and my advice is don't bother! They don't taste like Anzacs! So, I'm sticking with gluten free oats, coconut oil instead of butter, coconut sugar instead of castor, and maple syrup instead of golden syrup. Trust me....they do turn out great!!
My biggest dilema was getting the texture right. My family prefers them crispy, but I know there is a huge debate out there about crispy vs chewy! My little poll on facebook shows a pretty equal division! Thanks to the help of my wonderful foodie friend Alison, who sent me an article explaining how to get the texture you like, I am happy to share the secret! It's all in the sugar. My recipe is always going to come out crispy because it uses coconut sugar. Brown sugar has the same effect. If you don't mind indulging in some refined sugar and you prefer chewy biscuits, then switch to castor sugar. If you like them somewhere in between, try 1/2 cup coconut/rapadura/brown sugar and 1/4 castor sugar.
The other critical factor is your oats. I made one of my experimental batches using some cheap instant oats I'd bought while waiting for my next bulk order of organic unrefined oats to arrive. The biscuits spread out like thin, flat wafers. My kids loved them, but they're not everyone's cup of tea. If you don't want them to spread too much, you need good quality, whole rolled oats.
This makes 30-32 biscuits.
- 1 cup gluten free oats
- 1 cup dessicated coconut (organic so there are no preservatives)
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup wite rice flour
- 3/4 cup cocount sugar or rapadura sugar (see notes above for other sugar combinations)
- 125 grams (2/3 cup) coconut oil (or organic butter if you can tolerate it and prefer the flavour)
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup (or golden syrup if you're able to have refined sugars)
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarb soda
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius.
- Line two large cookie sheets with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, mix oats, coconut, flours and sugar.
- In a small saucepan, heat syrup and oil (or butter) until completely melted.
- In a small bowl, mix boiling water and bicarb soda.
- Add the bicarb mix into the oil mix.
- Add the wet ingredient mix into the dry ingredient mix and stir until completely combined.
- Using a round tablespoon measuring spoon, scoop up the mixture and make sure it is firmly packed into the measuring spoon. Tap out onto the tray so that a nice half-ball is formed. Press down lightly with a fork to make a plump disk.
- Bake for 15 minutes for lightly golden, slightly soft and chewy texture or 20 minutes (or until desired texture is reached) for hard, crunchy biscuits.