Contrary to popular belief there were no ANZAC biscuits at Gallipoli. The majority of rolled oats based biscuits were in fact sold and consumed at fetes, galas, parades and other public events at home in New Zealand and Australia, to raise funds for the war effort. This connection to the troops serving overseas led to them being referred to as ‘soldier’s biscuits’.
The basic ingredients for a rolled oat biscuit were: rolled oats, sugar, flour, butter with golden syrup used as a binding agent (no eggs). This made them not only nutritious and full of energy but also long-lasting.
After Gallipoli, New Zealand and Australian troops were universally known as ANZACs. The term ANZAC soon became of great national significance, so much so that in 1916 to save the ANZAC legend from exploitation, the name became protected by law.
It is fitting then, that after WWI, the most popular rolled oat biscuit had the name and association of ANZAC applied to it and thus the legend of the ANZAC biscuit began.
The first mention in a cookbook of ANZAC biscuits was in 1921.