Growing up I don’t think I really had a sense of how significant and important Anzac Day really was and is. Even though my Dad was involved in the Vietnam conflict he rarely spoke of it or it’s impact, as I’m beginning to realise is the case with so many of our veterans now and past. My recollections of Anzac Day as a kid was of Mum baking the most amazing biscuits…the Anzac biscuit. We loved these as kids but had no idea about where or how these tasty morsels came to be. As the years have passed I, and I think so many others, have learnt and become much more aware of the toll our service men and women face every day for us and it seems the tradition of Anzac Day is being embraced more and more by generations, both young and old.
Looking into the history of where this simple little biscuit came from, here is what I’ve found.
“The popular Anzac biscuit is a traditional, eggless sweet biscuit. Ingredients include rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water
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.
The army biscuit, also known as an Anzac wafer or Anzac tile, is essentially a long shelf-life, hard tack biscuit, eaten as a substitute for bread. Unlike bread, though, the biscuits are very, very hard. Some soldiers preferred to grind them up and eat as porridge. Father John Fahey, a Catholic padre serving on Gallipoli, was unimpressed with army biscuits. He wrote, “the man who invented the army biscuit was an unmitigated rascal. As an eatable there is little to choose between it and a seasoned jarrah board.”
Thankfully my Mum’s biscuits were never inedible and never lasted on the shelf more than a day, but were still packed with all of the elements of the traditional Anzac biscuit of years long gone. In my travels I have been fortunate to visit some of our war cemeteries overseas and I could never have imagined the impact of standing at the resting place of boys, some as young as 16 in WWI and some unnamed, could have been. I have an increasing respect and admiration for all of our military forces, past and present, for the job they do and the hardship they face both in service and on return. So on this Anzac Day I am taking the biscuit to another level with my Anzac inspired cupcakes. I have created a golden syrup & rosemary infused cupcake with brown sugar golden syrup buttercream topped with Mum’s Anzac biscuits (see Recipes for Mum’s Anzac Biscuits).
First step, make the cupcakes. These are my go to vanilla cupcakes.
Next are Mum’s Anzac Biscuits…..
Now for the buttercream….
And the rosemary infused golden syrup for the cupcakes…..
Put it all together and this is what you get….
In this lucky and prosperous country of ours, may we never take for granted the sacrifices of the men and women that defend our values and withhold the tradition of the Anzacs, affording us the lives we are able to live today.
LEST WE FORGET.