Traditional Anzac Biscuits made allergy free and vegan

Make a batch of delicious dairy free Anzac biscuits this Anzac Day. These iconic biscuits are easy to adapt to cater to many allergies with just a few simple substitutions that don’t detract from the well-known recipe.

Dairy free Anzac biscuits on a white plate with sprigs of rosemary with text "Traditional Anzac biscuits made allergy free and vegan"

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What are ANZAC biscuits?

Anzac Day is coming up on 25 April 2020. It is a major national occasion here in Australia. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and 25 April is the day marking the anniversary of the Anzac’s first major military action in World War I. It was the day the Australian and New Zealand troops landed in Gallipoli.

How did we end up with a biscuit named for the Anzacs? According to the Australian War Memorial website, original Anzac wafers were army biscuits with a long shelf life made as a bread substitute for the soldiers. Soldiers would sometimes grind up these very hard wafers to make a porridge instead of eating them as a biscuit tile.

The popular Anzac biscuit we all know and love today is quite different to what the soldiers ate, but is strongly associated with war time. It has been said that the biscuits were sent to soldiers overseas by families and loved ones. They are also said to have been made and sold to support the war effort. It is an eggless, sweet biscuit made with rolled oats. At some stage after the War in the 1920s or 1930s, recipes started to include coconut as well.

Easy ingredient substitutes to make an allergy free Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits are easy to adapt for allergies because they don’t use any egg.

There are lots of gluten and dairy free ANZAC biscuit recipes circulating. Some of these claim to be ‘healthy’ and make all sorts of substitutes with coconut oil, sugar substitutes like maple syrup, whole wheat flour and other ingredients. Somehow it doesn’t seem right to tinker with a traditional recipe like this. They aren’t meant to be healthy or low in sugar.

All that’s really needed to make an allergy friendly and dairy free Anzac biscuit is to make a direct substitute of ingredients where required. If you need wheat free, substitute the plain flour with your preferred non-wheat flour. And to make dairy free Anzac biscuits, just substitute the butter with your preferred dairy free spread. We use Nuttelex (Buttery variety, but any will do). Traditional Anzac biscuits don’t contain nuts.

Gluten free oats?

Gluten free Anzac biscuits aren’t as clear cut. In Australia, oats can’t be labelled gluten free, as they may contain gluten due to interaction with wheat and other gluten containing grains during growing, harvesting and processing. You can read more about oats and gluten at Coeliac Australia. But if you are overseas, you will be able to find oats that are labelled as gluten free, like Bob’s Red Mill brand. You should also use a gluten free baking powder.

As we don’t have to avoid gluten, we just used normal Uncle Toby’s rolled oats. These do have a “may contain” warning for lupin.

What exactly is golden syrup?

Here in Australia we can buy delicious CSR golden syrup in a handy squeezy bottle from the shops. It’s a sugar syrup made when refining cane sugar. Another name for golden syrup is light treacle. I was surprised to learn from a friend living overseas that golden syrup isn’t available everywhere. Thank goodness for online shopping, so you can pick up some English Lyle’s golden syrup if you don’t live in Australia or the UK.

Traditional Anzac biscuits really should be made with golden syrup. But if you can’t get hold of any, you could substitute honey or rice syrup (which are a similar consistency) or even maple syrup (although it is runnier).

Ingredients

Our recipe uses:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour (wheat free if needed)
  • 1/2 cup Nuttelex (or other dairy free spread)
  • 1 Tbs golden syrup
  • 1 tspn bicarb soda (baking soda)
  • 2 Tbs boiling water
Vegan egg, nut and dairy free Anzac biscuits on wire cooling rack with black and white striped tea towel

Method

Preheat the oven to 160C (320F) and line baking trays with baking paper or non-stick sheets.

Place the oats, coconut, sugar and flour in a large bowl and mix the dry ingredients well.

Melt the dairy free spread and golden syrup in a small saucepan and stir until well combined.

Dissolve the bicarb soda (baking soda) in the boiling water and add it to the melted ingredients. The dairy free spread and goden syrup mixture will become frothy.

Add the melted mixture to the dry ingredients and combine.

Roll teaspoons of the mixture and place on the prepared baking trays. Flatten slightly with the base of a glass or a fork. Leave some room between the biscuits for spreading.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool on the trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool thoroughly – or to be eaten by your family straight off the rack while they are still warm and soft on the inside!

I never have leftovers for long, but you can store these dairy free Anzac biscuits in an air tight container for several days.

For more of our allergy-friendly recipes, including our “not peanut butter” peanut butter tasting cookies, be sure to have a look at our recipe page.

Vegan egg, nut and dairy free Anzac biscuits on wire cooling rack

Traditional Anzac biscuits made allergy free and vegan

A delicious dairy free Anzac biscuit made allergy free, using simple ingredient substitutions to make an allergy friendly version of these traditional biscuits
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine Australian
Servings 12
Calories 102 kcal

Equipment

  • large mixing bowl
  • Wooden spoon
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • small saucepan
  • baking trays (lined with paper or non stick mat)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1 cup plain flour (wheat free if required)
  • 1/2 cup dairy free spread (Nuttelex or similar)
  • 1 Tbsp golden syrup
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda (baking soda)
  • 2 Tbsp boiling water

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 160C (320F).
  • Prepare baking trays by lining with baking paper or non-stick sheets.
  • Combine oats, coconut, sugar and flour in a large mixing bowl.
  • Melt the dairy free spread and golden syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir until well.
  • Add the boiling water to the bicarb soda in a small dish and stir to dissolve.
  • Add the bicarb soda and water mixture to the melted ingredients in the saucepan. The mixture will become frothy.
  • Tip the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients in the nixing bowl and mix well.
  • Roll teaspoons of the combined mixture into balls and place on the prepared baking trays. Flatten the balls slightly with the base of a glass or a fork. Allow room for the biscuits to spread.
  • Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Allow the biscuits to cool on the baking trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Take care transferring the biscuits will be soft in the middle until cool.

Notes

For gluten free Anzac biscuits, substitute gluten free oats, gluten free flour and gluten free baking soda. See the recipe post for more information about the availalility of gluten free oats in Australia.
Left over biscuits can be stored in an air tight container for several days. 
Keyword allergy-friendly, dairy free, easy, egg free, nut free, peanut free, quick, vegan

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Yum! This looks very close to a traditional recipe so should be super tasty as always. Thanks for the reminder to make Anzac biscuits this weekend

  2. Allergy Spot

    Thanks Carly 🙂 I’m going to have to bake a third batch for the weekend because my family have already eaten the last 2!

  3. Nina

    These look delicious! Never tried them.

  4. Julia

    I haven”t had Anzac biscuits for a long time… think I may have to get baking.

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