Skip to content

Original Anzac biscuit recipe

Anzac Day was absolutely freezing – and I hate the cold – but it was one of the nicest days ever because:

  1. I woke early to go to the dawn service (I have a love/hate relationship with early mornings – love it when I eventually get up to enjoy the sun rising, hate it when I’m snug and warm in bed and don’t want to leave);
  2. Came home and cooked poached eggs for breakfast (nothing can go wrong when you’ve started the day with perfectly cooked eggs!);
  3. Went for a beautiful walk along the river with my man and my dog. The scenery of damp, green grass against the dark waters which met grey skies reminded me of the images from Donna Hay’s cook book Seasons); and
  4. Made Anzac biscuits – a given on Anzac Day – but not just any Anzac biscuits… I’m certain that this was an original Anzac biscuit recipe!

Just before my grandmother died at the age of 86, she told me she thought part of the reason she’d lived so long was because she loved old things (“I guess I got to be so old because I love old things”, is what I think she said). Whether it was in jest or not, she certainly did have a love for old things; and that’s something I’m sure I’ve inherited. After she passed I collected all her old recipe books and among them was one dated 1917.

It was my dad’s, dad’s, mother’s (my great-grandmother’s) book of hand-written recipes from a period during the first world war.  It’s filled with recipes such as “Mock German Cake”, “Belgian Yeast Cake”, “Bachelor’s Buttons”, and gooseberry jam. When I saw it I just couldn’t let it go! That was a few years ago now, but Anzac Day was the first day I’d cooked anything from it. It only occurred to me while I was at the dawn service that it might, just might, have an Anzac biscuit recipe.

Of course they wouldn’t have called them Anzac biscuits back then. What I found was a “whole wheat biscuit” recipe, whose ingredient list looked awefully familiar, but still absolutely different to what we now know as a standard Anzac biscuit recipe. Dare I share it? This (potentially) secret, generations-old family recipe…. Oh, why not! Note: this is written verbatum from the book.

Marjorie Gratwick’s Wheat Meal Biscuits (c1917)


1 cup plain flour

2 cups sugar

4 cups flaked oats

1 cup melted butter

1 small teaspoon of bicarbondate of soda

4 tablespoons of boiling water

2 tablespoons of treacle


Treacle, boiling water, soda to be mixed together until treacle is melted. Then mix with other ingredients and bake in moderate oven.

No need to over-complicate things back in those days!

If you try these, let me know what you think and how they compare to modern-day Anzac biscuit recipes!

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Amie Taylor #

    I am going to make these today. Will let you know what I think. Have you seen the tea towels made from old handwritten recipes??? I will try and find the link for you.


    April 23, 2013
    • No I haven’t but that would be great if you could send through the link!
      I would love to know what you think of these Anzacs 🙂


      April 23, 2013
      • Mo #

        I made these for ANZAC day this year and I thought they were phenomenal! I shared them with friends and one of them took home a whole tin to eat on his lunch breaks at work! Totally awesome recipe I will used again and again


        August 29, 2013
      • Thanks for your feedbackMo, that’s so great to hear! I do think they got this recipe right back in 1917 – no need to alter it throughout the years.


        August 29, 2013
  2. Debbie #

    Hi, I am sorry but what does it mean moderate oven? What temperature would that be? I am kinda, kitchen challenged. And how long are these cooked for? TIA


    March 5, 2015
  3. These are THE BEST ANZAC’s EVER!!!! Thanx for sharing. Lest We Forget!


    April 24, 2015
    • Thank you Cristy! I’m so glad you enjoyed them. Thank you for the wonderful feedback 🙂
      Lest we forget xx


      April 27, 2015
  4. Katie #

    This may be a stupid question but…. What is treacle? I’m from the U.S. and although I lived in Brisbane for a bit I’ve forgotten a lot of the lingo…. It sounds familiar but what is another name I may know it by?


    April 25, 2015
    • Hi Katie,
      You used to be able to find treacle alongside Golden Syrup at the supermarket. If you can’t find any, Golden Syrup is a good substitute 🙂


      April 27, 2015
  5. Putting these in the oven! And now we wait..


    July 19, 2015
    • Ooo, exciting! The smell is amazing… You should take a photo and share it with me on my Facebook page when they’re ready – I’d love to see how they turn out for you and hear how you enjoyed them 🙂


      July 19, 2015

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: