Today here in Australia (and New Zealand) is Anzac day. Anzac day falls on the 25th of April and commemorates the first major military action fought by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) at the Gallipoli peninsula during the First World War on the morning of 25 April 1915.

The action was not a victory and both sides suffered heavy casualties. The event had a significant impact on Australians at home. In Australia and New Zealand today, Anzac day is one of the most important national occasions and is a day where we remember the sacrifice of those who died in military operations.  Lest we forget. One of my great grandfathers was one of the first on the shore at Gallipoli and while another was with the field ambulances. My family was lucky – they both survived.

Dawn commemorative services are held on Anzac day across Australia, at the time of the original Gallipoli landing. Later in the day, from big cities to small towns, commemorative marches are held across the nation. I remember going to school Anzac day services and local marches with my family, wearing the service medals of grandparents.

Also associated with Anzac day is the Anzac biscuit. These biscuits do actually have links to World War One. Family, friends and communities would send food to the soldiers fighting in the war. Due to the time it would take for the food to get to the front, the food had to be long lasting without refrigeration while retaining nutritional value. Thus the Anzac biscuit (originally called the Soldiers’ Biscuit, with the same basic ingredients then as today) was born.

Instead of Anzac biscuits (see here for recipe), I decided today to make an Anzac slice. The basic ingredients (and the smells that filled the house while it was baking) are the same and the result tastes the same as an Anzac biscuit. The edge of the slice has the crispness and chewiness I usually associate with an Anzac biscuit, while the centre of the slice is softer and moist.

Anzac slice

Anzac slice

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Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups plain flour
  • 1 ¼ cups oats
  • 1 cup (firmly packed) brown sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated or shredded coconut (originally recipe called for shredded but I only had desiccated at home)
  • 150g unsalted butter – chopped
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C fan forced (180C). Grease and line a 19cm x 29cm slice pan with baking paper. Allow a slight overhang to make it easier to remove the slice when cooked.
  2. Combine the flour, oats, sugar and coconut in a large bowl. I use a whisk to help remove the lumps from the brown sugar. Make a well in the centre of the mix.
  3. In a small saucepan, add the butter and golden syrup and place over a low heat until combined and smooth, stirring occasionally.
  4. Mix the bicarbonate of soda and boiling water together and add to the butter mixture, then add the liquid mix to the flour mix.
  5. Stir until combined (it will be quite a dry mix) and then press into the prepared pan. Press down with the back of a spoon, bottom of a glass or your hands until it is even. Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden.
  6. Cool in the pan before cutting into squares and serving.

Source: www.army.gov.au/Our-history/Traditions/ANZAC-Day

Recipe adapted from – taste.com.au Anzac slice