Chewy Anzac Biscuits (Oatmeal Coconut Cookies) — The flavors of coconut, honey, and maple syrup, along with the butter and brown sugar that caramelize while baking, give the cookies layers of flavors and an abundance of textures that just won’t quit!
What Are Anzac Biscuits?
Last week I was at a potluck lunch at my daughter’s school and someone brought in Anzac biscuits. They were soft, chewy, full of oats and coconut, and I knew I had to recreate them.
I’d been wanting to make them for years, but tasting them gave me the nudge I needed. More like a huge push to research recipes and come up with something. That night. I wasn’t going to bed until I recreated them.
“An Anzac biscuit is a sweet biscuit popular in Australia and New Zealand made using rolled oats, flour, desiccated coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, baking soda and boiling water. Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.”
It’s been suggested that the biscuits were sent by wives to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily, and the biscuits kept well during slow, long naval transport.
There’s no egg in the cookies and while there is a stick of butter, I have a feeling you could successfully keep them vegan by using a vegan butter substitute.
While I love the lineup of ingredients — brown sugar, oats, and coconut — I had previously read that the cookies were crunchy and crispy, adjectives that don’t belong in my cookies. However, the cookies I tried were soft and chewy, sealing the deal to make them.
I ran into the man who brought the cookies to the potluck, and he told me he used Bill Granger’s recipe, a Sydney chef and cookbook author. I found the recipe online, but I had already made these cookies by the time I ran into him and googled the recipe.
This is a small batch recipe, making only about 15 cookies, and I needed enough to actually bake with.
The abundance of texture from the oats and coconut is so my thing. Along with the flavors from the honey, maple syrup, and the butter and brown sugar that caramelize while baking, these sweet cookies have layers of rich flavors that just won’t quit.
I’m so glad I went to that potluck because this is a bucket list cookie I’ve had on my mental to-make list for years, and now happily can check it off.
What’s in the Anzac Biscuits?
To make these chewy oatmeal coconut cookies, you’ll need:
- Unsalted butter
- Brown sugar
- Maple syrup
- All-purpose flour
- Old-fashioned oats
- Sweetened shredded coconut
- Boiling water
- Baking soda
How to Make Anzac Biscuits
You don’t need a mixer for the recipe and instead just stir the dough together. Begin by melting 1 stick of butter in the microwave, stir in brown sugar, oats, coconut, honey and maple syrup.
Most online recipes call for golden syrup. It’s very rare to find it in U.S. grocery stores, and it’s an online order. I refuse to ask my readers to order an ingredient online that you need 2 tablespoons of, so I substituted with a blend of honey and maple syrup.
I used more liquid sweetener volume than most recipes which call, usually 1 to 2 tablespoons. I used 4 tablespoons because I didn’t want the batter to be dry.
After stirring in flour and baking soda, the batter will look something like a streusel topping. Fluffy and loose, but when squeezed together, compacts to form a dough.
To help squeeze and compact the dough into mounds, I used my cookie scoop. Then I chilled the dough mounds overnight before baking.
Traditional Anzac cookies are usually very flat and thin, but I don’t prefer overly flat cookies, so I chilled the dough because cold dough spreads less, plus it gives the flavors a chance to marry.
I baked my cookies for 9 minutes and the edges were just starting to brown, while the centers remain soft and tender. The cookies are exceedingly moist, very soft and very chewy.
Can I Use Unsweetened Coconut Flakes?
I used sweetened, shredded coconut. I know I’ll be asked about using unsweetened coconut, and while the recipe will work, I don’t know how the cookies will taste.
Can I Use Instant Oats?
I used old-fashioned whole rolled oats, not quick cook or instant. Don’t use quick cook because they function more like a coarse flour, and will absorb too much moisture from the dough, rendering it dry and crumbly. Plus, I love the texture of big oats, not pulverized pieces.
Tips for Making Anzac Cookies
These oatmeal coconut cookies are a touch greasy or oily, but I don’t view that as a bad thing. I view that as a buttery-goodness-with-no-where-to-go-but-to-the-surface thing.
If you prefer drier, firmer cookies, reduce the liquid sweeteners to 1 tablespoon each of honey and maple syrup, and bake for an additional minute or two.
Note that this recipe calls for pure maple syrup, NOT pancake syrup (which is basically just flavored corn syrup).
Pin This Recipe
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 2 tablespoons honey (golden syrup may be substituted)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup (golden syrup may be substituted)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not instant or quick cook)
- heaping 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- pinch salt, optional and to taste
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- In a large, microwave-safe bowl melt the butter, about 1 minute on high power.
- Add the brown sugar, honey, maple, and stir to combine. (If you prefer drier cookies, reduce honey and maple to 1 tablespoon each)
- Add the flour, oats, coconut, optional salt, and stir to combine; set aside.
- In a small microwave-safe bowl, add the water and heat on high power to boil, about 1 minute.
- Slowly and very carefully add the baking soda to the water. Use caution because it will bubble up vigorously. Stir to dissolve the baking soda.
- Pour water-baking soda mixture over dough and stir to combine. Dough will look like streusel topping. Fluffy and loose, but when squeezed together, compacts to form a dough.
- Preheat oven to 350F, line baking sheets with Silpats, or spray with cooking spray. Place mounds on baking sheets, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet).
- Bake for about 9 minutes, or until edges have set and will be just beginning to brown (the coconut in the dough is prone to burning so watch them) and the tops are just beginning to set, even if undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 9 to 10 minutes for soft cookies because they firm up as they cool; bake for 10 to 12 minutes if you like firmer, crisper cookies (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 10 minutes while oven preheated, and were baked for exactly 9 minutes).
- Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
Storage: Store cookies airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 4 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 211Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 110mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 1g
More Oatmeal Cookie Recipes:
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Soft and Chewy Oatmeal Scotchies Cookies — My favorite classic oatmeal cookie base loaded with sweet butterscotch chips! A classic cookie that you’ve just got to try!
The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies — Soft, chewy, loaded with chocolate, and they turn out perfectly every time! Totally irresistible!!
Chocolate Chip Banana Oatmeal Cookies — These cookies are soft, moist, and oh-so chewy. They taste like banana bread and chocolate chip cookies rolled into one dessert!