On April 25, residents of Australia and New Zealand — and associated regions, such as Samoa and the Cook Islands — will celebrate Anzac Day, a national day of remembrance for the sacrifices made by Australians and New Zealanders in the First World War. Observances includes the wearing of poppies, processions and parades, special ceremonies and commemorations — and eating Anzac biscuits.

Wait, what's an Anzac?

Anzac is an acronym, which stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps.

So what does it have to do with cookies?

During the First World War, Anzac biscuits were prepared by women in Australia and New Zealand, and sent to soldiers posted abroad in Gallipoli. They were a useful war ration, of sorts, as their ingredients — rolled oats, flour, margarine, baking soda, sugar, hot water and coconut — don't spoil; the cookies, notably, contain no eggs.

The first printed reference to Anzac cookies appeared in the War Chest Cookery Book, published in Sydney, Australia, in 1917, but that recipe was completely different than the one for Anzac biscuits as they're known today (curiously, the recipe that most would recognize as one for Anzac biscuits, also appeared in War Chest Cookery, but under a different name: they were called, simply, "rolled oat biscuits").

In 1919, the St. Andrew's Cookery Book, published in Dunedin, New Zealand, printed a recipe for biscuits prepared using the aforementioned ingredients (rolled oats, flour, margarine, baking soda, sugar, hot water and coconut) as "Anzac crispies"; in subsequent publishings, these were called Anzac biscuits, and it has remained thus ever since.

The Anzac memorial at Galipoli, in Turkey.
The Anzac memorial at Galipoli, in Turkey.

Where can I get them now?

If you're in Australia, New Zealand, or any of the other regions that observe Anzac Day, you can likely buy them at grocery stores year-round. If not — well, we guess you're just going to have to travel there.

Can I just make them myself?

Of course! Click here for a recipe.


Getting there

Interested in learning more about Anzac Day? Our Anzac Day Memorial Tour of Galipoli in Turkey might be the trip for you. Click here to check out the full itinerary.