There is something incredibly sacred about tradition. Every year without fail, my best friend and I go to the ANZAC day dawn service. It’s usually freezing and has an unsettling stillness, but it’s a moment which I believe is incredibly important to experience. I don’t often appreciate how lucky I am to be a free, independent woman of the twenty first century and every year in those few minutes of silence, packed in like cattle, I always feel very proud to be Australian.
There really isn’t anything more Australian than Anzac biscuits. I love everything about them from their chewy interior to their crunch, but what I love more is the story behind them which symbolises everything I believe in about the power of food. In World War One, the wives, mothers and girlfriends of our troops got word that their boys were not getting enough nutrients in their ration packs. Knowing that oats are of high nutritional value, they crafted a recipe based on Scottish oatcakes which contained golden syrup, flour, sugar, coconut and oats which would withstand the long journey to their loved ones. The lengths our grandmothers and great grandmothers went to in sending a batch of love over to our soldiers to comfort and nourish them is truly a beautiful story.
I wasn’t going to make a batch this year given I’ve given sugar the flick, but felt it was incredibly unpatriotic. If our grandfathers could fight for king and country, I surely could manage to conjure up a sugar free Anzac biscuit.
Sure, there are probably a handful of amazing sugar-free recipes out there, but I have one Anzac biscuit recipe and one only. I learnt to cook from my mum’s food stained Day to Day Cookery book circa 1985. When I moved out of home, I was presented with my own 2006 edition of this gem, but it was never the same. The recipes were different, they had gluten free versions and they had skipped on the daggy sauce and crumbed brains recipes. Mum has since managed to track down an old 80’s copy for me though, butter stains on the chocolate chip biscuit recipe and all. Amongst all my Donna Hay glossy cookbooks, it’s truly my most treasured reference.
I’ll be honest. These aren’t as good as the real deal, but when push comes to shove, sugar free Anzacs are better than no Anzacs!
Recipe adapted from Day to Day Cookery, 1985 edition
1 cup plain flour
1 cup oats
¾ cup coconut
70g coconut oil
3 tbsp brown rice syrup
3 tbsp water
1 tsp baking soda
1. Sift flour into bowl then add oats and coconut.
2. In a small saucepan melt butter, coconut oil, syrup and water.
3. Add baking soda, allow to foam up and pour over dry ingredients.
4. Take small amounts of mixture, press out thinly on greased trays allowing for spreading in between
5. Bake in a slow oven until brown