ANZAC biscuits review

Which ANZAC biscuits are the tastiest? Our experts as well as some hungry staff members find out.
 
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01.The ANZAC (biscuit) spirit

Anzac biscuits on a plate

Long associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War 1, ANZAC biscuits were originally made from rolled oats, flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bicarb soda and boiling water, with some recipes also including desiccated coconut.

Today there are recipes for all manner of ANZAC biscuits, including gluten-free, oat-free, sugar-free and vegetable oil versions, with additions such as raisins, chocolate chips and macadamia nuts. And where the original biscuits were hard and crunchy, soft and chewy versions are also available today.

In anticipation of April 25, CHOICE decided to put some ANZAC biscuits to the test, with an expert review from Craig McIndoe, head chef and owner of Mumu Grill in Sydney, and a taste test with 19 people from the CHOICE office.

The standard bearer among ANZAC biscuits is Unibic’s ANZAC Biscuit, which claims to be "Australia’s Authentic Recipe". The Returned Services League (RSL), which supports armed services veterans and the community, receives four per cent of sales proceeds. Joining the battle in our test were offerings from Coles and Woolworths bakeries, Black & Gold, and Coles Simply Gluten Free.

The best …

Coles Bakery

Coles Bakery Anzac Biscuits 

68c per 100g (on special)

This softer style of biscuit was rated highest by our expert judge, Craig, and second-highest by the taste panel. They contain vegetable oils (palm, canola and coconut) rather than butter, and include egg powder – the original recipes excluded eggs.

Craig’s rating: 6/7

  • “Tastes homemade, good texture all round. Good flavour, right size and perfect colour and balance of ingredients”.

Taste test panel: 5/7

  • "This is very nice, tasty, perfect sweetness and chewiness."
  • “Soft to bite into, but the flavour was lacking.”

Woolworths Bakery

Woolworths Anzac biscuits 

70c per 100g (on special)

A little bit chewier than the Coles offering, this one came in second with Craig, and just squeaked in at number one with the taste test panel. They contain vegetable oils (palm and coconut) rather than butter, and include egg powder.

Craig’s rating: 5/7

  • “Not much of an ANZAC flavour, had quite a bit of coconut but still better than the others.”

Taste test panel: 5.2/7

  • “This was a nice mixture of hard and chewy, and was sweet and oaty. Pretty close to what I want from an ANZAC biscuit.”

The rest …

Unibic ANZAC Biscuit

Unibic Anzac biscuits 

67c per 100g (on special)

Unfortunately, the standard bearer didn’t bear up too well – most commented it tasted a little boring. They contain vegetable oil as well as butter.

Craig’s rating: 3/7

  • “Tastes cheap, bland, overcooked and dark in colour. More like a cookie.”

Taste test panel: 4/7

  • “Tasted very generic and sort of boring”.

Coles Simply Gluten Free

 Coles Simply Gluten Free Anzac biscuits

$2.26 per 100g

Using a mix of gluten-free flours, rice, corn, quinoa and amaranth, this biscuit contains no wheat or oats.

Craig’s rating: 3/7

  • “Tastes artificial, too chewy, fake flavour.”

Taste test panel: 3.6/7

  • “Didn’t taste like an ANZAC biscuit – lacked the oaty taste.”

Black & Gold

Black & Gold Anzac biscuits 

81c per 100g

Overwhelmingly the least favourite ANZAC biscuit, mostly because it was rock hard – probably much like the authentic army issue biscuits in World War 1 – but also because of its flavour. They contain margarine made from palm oil, rather than butter.

Craig’s rating: 1/7

  • “Inedible – impossible to eat. Hard as a rock, too small and lacked any ANZAC flavour.”

Taste test panel: 1.8/7

  • “Awful taste. So hard I almost couldn’t bite it – basically inedible. Not homemade – mass produced.”
  • “Too dangerous.”

History of ANZAC biscuits

Based on an old Scottish recipe, what we now today as ANZAC biscuits were made by women during World War 1 and shipped to sons, husbands and boyfriends serving in the Australian and New Zealand armed forces.

The biscuits issued by the Australian army, also known as army biscuits, ANZAC wafers or ANZAC tiles, were very hard, sweet biscuits with a long shelf life suited to shipping to soldiers overseas. Like ANZAC biscuits, they didn’t contain egg, which was key to their keeping ability – after all, they had to withstand a couple of months of shipping. But the army biscuits also didn’t contain oats, which is a distinguishing feature of ANZAC biscuits.

Recipes for the original army biscuit and early ANZAC biscuits can be found on the Australian War Memorial website.

 
 

 

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