Classic vegan Anzac biscuits packed with oats and coconut with a hint of caramel from golden syrup. You only need common pantry ingredients to make these irresistibly crunchy and chewy biscuits!
What are Anzac biscuits?
Anzac biscuits have origins from when the ANZACs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) fought in WWI. Although the origins are contested, it's a tradition for Australians to share Anzac biscuits every year around Anzac Day (25th April).
As a born and bred Australian, I grew up eating Anzac biscuits (not Anzac cookies) at school fairs and events. I often spent Anzac Day working at ex-serviceman clubs (as my parents sometimes managed restaurants in the clubs) and have eaten many Anzac biscuits in my time!
Anzac biscuits are buttery golden oatmeal cookies and have evolved a lot from their original hard and dry texture. They aren't traditionally vegan but they are normally eggless so are easy to veganise!
My vegan Anzac biscuit recipe has been tested with several allergy-friendly substitutions without compromising on flavour. These have slightly more butter than other recipes to give them crispier edges with a chewy centre.
Ingredients you'll need
Anzac biscuit recipes across the internet tend to use similar ingredients but with different ratios for different textures. To make these biscuits, you will need:
Notes about the ingredients
Plain all-purpose flour or a gluten-free flour blend. You may also use whole wheat (wholemeal) or spelt flour though you may need to add extra water to your mixture.
Rolled oats, not quick-cooking instant oats!
Regular sugar gives the cookies crispy edges while still being chewy in the middle. If you prefer biscuits that are chewy throughout, you can use light brown sugar, dark brown sugar or coconut sugar.
Vegan butter. This recipe works with vegan block butter, spreadable vegan margarine and even coconut oil.
In Australia, the most common brands of butter/margarine are Nuttelex (margarine) and Naturli (butter and margarine). Bakels also sells vegan-friendly block butter which can be found in speciality cake shops or online.
Desiccated coconut (finely shredded coconut) for flavour and texture! If you don't want to use coconut, I recommend making my vegan oatmeal cookies.
Golden syrup to add a lovely caramel flavour. These biscuits naturally have no eggs because the syrup allows the ingredients to stick together! Alternatively, you can use any other liquid sweetener such as maple syrup, rice malt syrup or agave nectar.
How to make vegan Anzac biscuits
First, add the flour, oats, coconut and sugar to a large mixing bowl and stir until combined. This is all your dry ingredients except the baking soda!
Melt your plant-based butter (margarine or coconut oil) and golden syrup in a small saucepan or in the microwave. Add the baking soda to the mixture and mix until combined.
If you used butter or margarine, your mixture may or may not foam up. Your biscuits will work either way!
Pour the syrup mixture on your dry ingredients and mix until combined.
The biscuit dough should be slightly crumbly but buttery and moist. You should be able to shape the mixture into balls without it breaking or sticking to your hands.
However, all brands of oats and flour absorb wet ingredients differently! If your biscuit mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon of water and mix again. If your mixture is too wet, add a tablespoon of flour and mix again.
Shaping and baking Anzac biscuits
Using clean but damp hands, squish and gently roll the mixture into balls. The mixture is more delicate than normal cookie dough. Then shape each ball into a cookie shape around 5 cm (2 inches) wide.
Arrange the vegan Anzac biscuits on a tray lined with baking paper. Leave around 5 cm (2 inches) between each biscuit as they will spread!
For soft and chewy biscuits, bake them for 12 minutes.
For crunchier golden biscuits (with a chewy centre), bake them for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.
Regardless of how long you bake them, your Anzac biscuits will be very soft when they're hot from the oven. Allow them to cool on the baking tray and enjoy them later!
How to store Anzac biscuits
Anzac biscuits keep for a while (1-2 weeks)! However, like any biscuit or cookie, these Anzac biscuits will start to soften after 1 day.
I'd recommend keeping them in an airtight container at room temperature or in the fridge.
TOP TIPS! For extra crunchy Anzac biscuits, I recommend:
- Storing the biscuits in the freezer! As strange as it sounds, they have an irresistible crunch when eaten frozen. If you watch the video in this post, you'll see the crunchy snap of a frozen Anzac biscuit!
- Reheating older biscuits in the oven at around 100°C (210°F) for around 5 minutes and allowing them to fully cool. Be careful to not bake them for too long as they will caramelise too much!
Expert recipe tips and substitutions
Yes, you can substitute the flour with gluten-free plain flour. As gluten-free flour is less absorbent than regular flour, you may need to add 1 extra tablespoon of gluten-free flour.
The dough will still be stickier than the regular biscuit dough but the biscuits actually end up crunchier!
Yes, substitute coconut sugar for brown sugar and use maple syrup instead of golden syrup. I haven't tested this recipe with stevia, monk fruit sweetener or other sugar replacements.
Biscuits made with vegan block butter have crunchy edges and a soft centre. Due to the higher water content in vegan margarine, the biscuits are chewier, softer, spread more, therefore, brown quicker.
In contrast, coconut oil has NO water so makes the biscuits extra crunchy. Due to the colour of coconut oil, the biscuits are paler in colour. They are also very coconutty and lack that quintessential buttery flavour. I'd recommend adding a pinch of salt if you're using coconut oil.
You can see the differences below!
More easy vegan cookies
Vegan Anzac Biscuits
- 1 cup (125g) all-purpose plain flour, or gluten-free flour blend (note 1)
- 1 cup (120g) rolled oats, gluten-free, if needed
- 1 cup (80g) desiccated coconut, unsweetened
- ¾ cup (150g) sugar, brown sugar or coconut sugar (note 2)
- ⅔ cup (150g) vegan butter, vegan margarine or coconut oil (note 3)
- 2 tablespoons golden syrup, (note 4)
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2-4 tablespoons water, as needed
Making the vegan Anzac biscuit dough:
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line 2 large baking trays with baking (parchment) paper.
- Mix the flour, oats, coconut and sugar in a large mixing bowl until combined.
- Add the butter and golden syrup to a small saucepan over low heat. Mix until melted. Add the baking soda and mix again. The mixture may bubble up which is fine.
- Pour the melted butter mixture over the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. The dough should look a little crumbly but moist. If your dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon of water at a time and mix. If your dough is too wet, add 1 tablespoon of flour at a time and mix.
Shaping and baking the vegan Anzac biscuits:
- Scoop heaped tablespoons of the dough. Using your hands, firmly roll into balls and flatten into biscuit shapes around 5cm wide. Place the biscuits on your lined baking trays with about 5 cm (2 inches) between them as they will spread.
- Bake in the biscuits for around 12 minutes for soft and chewy biscuits or 15-18 minutes for golden crunchier biscuits with a chewy centre. When you take the biscuits out of the oven, they will continue baking on the trays!
- Enjoy the biscuits warm or at room temperature. Or for extra crunchy biscuits, enjoy them frozen!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week, in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months. The biscuits will soften over time. If you'd like to 'renew' the biscuits, reheat them in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 100°C (210°F) and allow them to cool.
- I'd recommend adding an extra tablespoon (10g) of gluten-free flour as it's less absorbent than plain flour. If using gf flour, your biscuit mixture will be wetter than the regular mixture. However, your final biscuits will be crunchier!
- Vegan Anzac Biscuits made with brown or coconut sugar are more chewy and dark in colour.
- You can use anywhere from 125g to 165g of butter (less for softer cookies, more for crispier cookies). If you decrease the butter, you'll need a little more water to your biscuit dough. If you increase the butter, you may need to add less water or none at all.
- Golden syrup can be substituted with maple syrup, rice malt syrup or agave nectar. However, some of those syrups are runnier than golden syrup so you may need to adjust the amount of water accordingly.
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