Foreign Grocery Friday: The Anzac Biscuits of Australia and New Zealand
When we travel, one of our favorite things to do is to pop into a local grocery store and check out the food products and candies we'd never find anywhere else. So we're trying out this new feature, Foreign Grocery Friday, where each week we'll feature some of our (and your) favorite overseas treats. Got a recommendation? Let us know!
Late night somewhere over the Pacific Ocean, an entire Qantas A380 full of Los Angeles-bound passengers is asleep...except for us. We're up and out of our seats, hunting for a midnight snack in the rear "snack galley" of the A380's economy class. It's here we find a little package of "Anzac biscuits," cookies so engrained in Australian and New Zealand history and flavor that Subway chain restaurants even offered them for a time.
ANZAC is an acronym for "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps," and this cookie is so named because of its history as a popular treat to send to soldiers stationed abroad, as early as World War I. The key to the cookie's success lies in its basic ingredients of rolled oats, flour, dry coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda and water. Note that there are no eggs in the recipe, a fact which helps to give Anzac biscuits an especially long shelf life.
The taste: A first bite reminds us of a light snicker doodle, but the oats with coconut quickly take over and turn the flavor towards that of a typical oatmeal cookie. The aftertaste is all butter, so we recommend chasing it with a sip of tea. In fact, Anzac biscuits are considered "hard tack" bread substitutes, so much munching on these dry cookies will have you reaching for liquid regardless.
The price: Technically we had both types of Anzac biscuits for free, since a friend baked us a batch and the commercially packaged ones were from the snack bar on a Qantas flight, but a typical store-bought package should run you $15 AUD for a large jar.
Where to find it: We recommend making them yourselfthe recipe is ridiculously easy so long as you can get your hands on "golden syrup" (which is not maple syrup at all). Otherwise, look for Byron Bay-brand Anzac biscuits available in grocery stores, and mini versions onboard Qantas flights from Australia or NZ.