Gluten Free Anzac Biscuits
Australians and New Zealanders commemorate ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day every year by going to dawn ceremonies, listening to readings of the poem The Ode, and consuming Anzac biscuits in great quantities. But the origin of these biscuits is perhaps less well-known.
The original Anzac biscuit was known as an Anzac wafer or tile and, along with beef bully, was part of the rations given to soldiers during World War I. They were included instead of bread because they had a much longer shelf-life. However, the Anzac tiles were renowned for being incredibly tough. So much so, that the mothers, wives and girlfriends of Australian and New Zealand troops back home were reportedly concerned that their boys were not getting enough nutrients. Knowing that oats were a food of high nutritional value, these women used the recipe for Scottish oatcakes as a base and, using ingredients that would be able to withstand the long journey via ship, developed what we know of today as the “Anzac biscuit.”
So are Anzac biscuits gluten free?
The traditional recipe uses oats and is not gluten free (this holds even if steel-cut oats are used). Why?
Gluten is a composite name representing the protein component:
• Gliadin in Wheat
• Hordein in Barley
• Secalin in Rye
• Avenin in Oats
The current tests for gluten can measure all of the above except avenin, which is a slightly different protein. Accordingly it is prohibited under the Australia/NZ Food Standards Code to use oats in foods labelled or advertised as gluten free. Coeliac Australia advises that Avenin is an essential part of oats (as gliadin is with wheat) and therefore can never be gluten free.
Luckily for those of us living gluten free, there is a substitute for the oats – quinoa or amaranth or gluten free cornflakes! Equally delicious and just as nutritious!
Here’s What You’ll Need...
Makes approximately 25 biscuits
- 1 cup quinoa flakes / rolled amaranth /or 2 cups gluten free cornflakes
- ¾ cup desiccated coconut
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups plain gluten free flour
- 125g butter/margarine (or dairy free version)
- 1 Tbsp golden syrup
- 1 ½ tsp bicarbonate soda
- 2 Tbsp boiling water
And Here’s How to Make It...
- Preheat oven to 130 degrees Celsius. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
- Mix together quinoa/amaranth/cornflakes, coconut, sugar and flour in a bowl.
- Melt butter/margarine with the golden syrup in a small saucepan.
- Add bicarbonate soda to boiling water and mix to dissolve. Add to butter mixture.
- Pour butter mixture into dry ingredients and mix well until combined.
- Roll dessert spoons of mixture into balls and place on the lined tray, being careful to allow room for spreading. Slightly flatten with a fork dipped in gluten free flour (to prevent sticking).
- Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Cool slightly on tray before placing on a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Adapted from the Coeliac Australia Gluten Free Recipe Book 3rd Edition.
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