I love the Great British Bake Off. I’m just going to get that out of the way now. So, naturally, when we were discussing how we were going to do something fun in the lead up to ANZAC Day this year and we talked about having an ANZAC biscuit competition my first thought was…GSLABBO – we also really appreciate an elegant acronym around here.
The premise was simple – we designated a week to ANAZC biscuits and people could bake them, bring them in, and get judged by their co-workers.
What fun was had.
We had six contestants
– Kim, the spectacular Branch Librarian,
– Jessica, the YPS librarian,
– Matt, the Digital Services guru,
– Michaela, the thermomix advocate,
– Melody, the Minecraft Queen, and
– Chantelle, the last.
We each brought in our biscuits and laid them out on the table for judging.
And now for the background on ANZAC biscuits…
And we must call them biscuits as the term ANZAC is a heavily copyrighted and protected term and can only be used in certain ways.
ANZAC biscuits or army biscuits are an eggless biscuit (as eggs were scarce during the war). They were designed to have a long shelf-life which was needed so that they could make the long, and very, very slow journey from Australia to the soldiers training in Egypt and fighting in Turkey and Europe. The basis of the idea came from a Scottish recipe that used rolled oats (one of the ingredients that must be legally present in an ANZAC biscuit).
They were designed to be a substitute for bread. However, they were so hard that many soldiers struggled to bite through them and they were often ground up into their morning porridge to make them more palatable.
According to Professor Helen Leach, of the Archaeology Department of the University of Otago in New Zealand, the first noted recipe for an ANZAC biscuit was not actually a biscuit but a cake. As the biscuits were first called soldier’s biscuits and not renamed until after they landed in Gallipoli and word came back to Australia the first instance of the now popular recipe was in the ninth edition of the St Andrew’s Cookery Book published in 1921.
Today, most people have an ANZAC recipe of two in a cookbook at home and they are enjoyed around Australia as well as being a way for us to remember the ANZACs and the importance of ANZAC Day.
And back to the fun stuff.
Once we’d all baked, eaten, and voted the votes were tallied and averaged until we had a winner for each of our four categories.
Appearance – Jessica
Morishness – Chantelle
Texture – Michaela
Taste – Michaela
The inaugural…and probably only…Great Success Library ANZAC Biscuit Bake Off Star Baker is…
Matt – for his rather interesting quinoa biscuits. They were gluten free and the judge might have Coeliac disease and be open to bribery…
If you want to get into the spirit and make some at home we have the three recipes that had the best scores for you.
Chantelle has a Thermomix so she recommends the following recipe.
Jessica got her recipe from her mother.
Michaela, whose Thermomix posts you may have seen, used her Thermomix and this recipe with honey substituted for the treacle/golden syrup.
Kim, who won everything¹ found her recipe on taste.com.au
As did Matt – his is here – he removed a lot of the sugar and put in molasses instead.
¹ – As Branch Librarian Kim was immediately declared winner and champion of all things…