gluten-free quinoa Anzac biscuit recipe

This year I will miss seeing my Grandad at our local Raglan Anzac parade. Not because he won't be there, I have no doubt about that. It's me. I won't be there.

It's funny; I find the older you get the more you tend to appreciate what our forefathers have done to make our world what it is today. Years ago as a littlie I couldn't think of anything worse than standing around listening to speeches and watching men in uniforms walk up and down the main street. But as the years have passed it has become more and more something I look forward to. It's a day for us to remember and acknowledge all those who have fought and died in the course of service for their country. I still remember a few years back when I stood waiting to see Grandad march. He wasn't anywhere to be seen. I looked and looked and couldn't spot him. It brought a tear to my eye when I finally noticed him sitting up on the stage, no longer strong enough to walk the lap around town. For years he has been telling us his old war stories (he fought in World War 2), I wish I'd listened more carefully and I could have re-told one for you now. But alas, you will have to just make do with this recipe that I've come up with for gluten-free Anzac biscuit instead.

I love food with history and these little babies have ample. It is said that Anzac biscuits were first made way back in World War 1. Given the task of coming up with something nutritious that keeps well to send to their soldiers at war, the woman of the time came up with the simple mix of; hearty Scottish oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, baking soda and boiling water. The Anzac biscuit was born.

Traditionally made using regular oats, I've opted to make these Anzac's using quinoa flakes for a nutritious 100% gluten-free alternative. I understand that certified gluten-free oats are available in some countries, but I'm yet to come across any back home in NZ or here in Perth. We actually have been eating regular oats again for the past year or so and don't seem to have any issues with them, but I know for a lot of people who are gluten intolerant and especially those with coeliac disease, oats can be a real problem.

Gloriously crisp and golden on the outside, while still chewy in the centre, these biscuits are pretty damn close to the original in both flavour and texture. I think my even my Nana and Grandad would approve? If only NZ customs would allow me to mail some over for them to try...

Lest we forget xxx

gluten-free quinoa Anzac biscuit
As we tolerate butter in small amounts these days, I tend to do most of my baking with it. You can find quinoa flakes and flour at your local health food store or at selected supermarkets. It is said that traditional Anzac biscuits kept for up to 2 months, just long enough to be shipped over to the troops. Mine have never made it past 3 days before being gobbled up, so I'm yet to find out how well they actually keep 😉
Makes 30.

  • 1 cup (90g) quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup (70g) fine brown rice flour
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (45g) quinoa flour
  • 1 cup (200g) raw unrefined sugar
  • 3/4 cup (60g) desiccated coconut
  • 125g butter 
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat oven to 170 C/338 F.

Place quinoa flakes, brown rice flour, quinoa flour, raw sugar and coconut into a medium bowl. Melt butter and golden syrup together in a small pan over medium heat. Mix the baking soda with boiling water and add to the dry ingredients along with the melted butter mixture, using a wooden spoon stir to fully combine.

Roll tablespoons of mixture into balls, squeezing the mixture together if it seems crumbly. Slightly flatten and place 2-3cms apart on baking paper lined oven trays.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cookies have risen, then fallen and have become dark golden brown in colour. Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes to set before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.

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  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 5:27 am

    cant beat the old classic. Interested to see if I would like these with the new twist of quinoa flakes as Im not actually a big fan of quinoa…pos me some when you post to nana and g-dad! 😉

  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 5:39 am

    I reckon you'd like them Lou. The quinoa flavour is really mild in these. The golden syrup flavour is still dominant.

  • Reply
    Little Sabine
    April 19, 2011 at 6:55 am

    Oh yum they look fantastic, i can't eat rolled oats at all (gluten free and they send my blood sugar through the roof!). They even look chewy in the middle…definitely trying this recipe out! Thank you!

  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 8:42 am

    Thanks heaps for the recipe from a gluten free Kiwi. I'll give these. Try this weekend if I can find quinoa flour. I've already got the flakes.

  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 9:38 am

    hi Emma, I am still enjoying your blog. I have shared your book Cooking without with so many new mothers who find their babies are intolerant to foods through breast milk that it is making the rounds here in Raglan and Hamilton. As I don't tend to bake due to the dairy,sugar and the notion that margarine is 1 atom off being plastic; do you think it is possible to substitute oil instead of dairy? Also I thought about substituting the sugar for grd almonds and stevia powder. Will let you know how this recipe works. 🙂 xxx Linda

  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Little Sabine~ They were definitely chewy in the centre. It lost the chew slightly after the 2nd day, but still yum as.

    Sleepinghorse~ I reckon buckwheat flour would also work good. And if you get really stuck, extra brown rice flour would work okay too.

    Linda~ Isn't "cooking without" a great book. Glad you are all liking it! If you were going to try using oil, I would stick to coconut oil. The ground almond/stevia sub seems to work in all of Barbara Cousins recipes, so I'd just go for it! Let me know how it goes, I'm sure there would be readers out there who would also love to know. Love to all back home xxx

  • Reply
    April 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Wonderful- I LOVE Anzac biscuits, and these are GF!
    I'll be trying these once I round up the ingredients…

  • Reply
    Angry Asian
    April 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    this is an interesting recipe. mainly because i've never heard of quinoa flakes or flour. i have quinoa at home, would i be able to use that in lieu of one or the other? (especially if i grounded it up?)

  • Reply
    Janet NZ
    April 20, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    Clever girl, and a lovely story about your Grandad. I love that more and more people are attending Anzac parades, and that the kids are turning up to honour the oldies… gives me hope that this country will be ok

  • Reply
    April 22, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Lovely story around Anzac Biscuits… pleased to see a GF version, I had never been quite sure how to get around leaving out the rolled oats. Looking forward to giving them a go.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    This is great. I was just in the process of converting an anzac biscuit recipe into gluten free and found yours. fantastic. my problem is that we also have to be salicylate free too which means no golden syrup or desiccated coconut. I was thinking maple/pear syrup and was a bit stuck on what to replace the coconut with. Any thoughts?

    • Reply
      October 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

      Golden syrup is low salicylate. So should be fine. Coconut is another thing…

  • Reply
    April 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    Angry Asian~ You can grind your own quinoa flour, but I understand you need to wash the grains first and dry them well (spread out on a tray) before grinding. Quinoa has a natural bitter coating that needs to be rinsed off and with store brought flakes and flour this has already been done. As far as replacing the flakes with whole quinoa goes, it's not quite the same texture but could be worth a go. Cooked and cooled first. You may find you will need to add more rice flour to the mix as flakes absorb more moisture than the whole grain. Let me know if you experiment and they turn out good!

    Anonymous~ I'm not 100% sure, but I'd say use brown rice syrup or maple for the golden syrup if tolerated. And maybe use ground cashew nuts for the coconut? Almonds contain salicylates right? Otherwise I'd suggest using ground almonds. You could always just use more quinoa or brown rice flour in place of the coconut too. The end results would taste different than mine, but still nice I'm sure.

  • Reply
    April 25, 2011 at 5:45 am

    I have just made these using buckwheat flour instead of quinoa flour (only because I can't buy quinoa flour) and they tasted good. Not soft and chewy inside like yours but about as close as I think I would be able to get to the "real" Anzac biscuit. The quinoa flakes provided the oat like texture. I'm about to try them on my stepson and his partner.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Oh thank you for this recipe!!!
    I am gluten,dairy and egg free… this will be GREAT!! Plus, I have most of the ingredients in my cupboard!

  • Reply
    Meister @ The Nervous Cook
    June 29, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    These are lovely! (Just discovered your blog through Angry Asian Creations and am so glad I did!)

  • Reply
    Angry Asian
    June 29, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    i was able to find the quinoa flour AND flakes and made these gems. i will attempt to make them again. they have golden taste to it, that is hard to describe….

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Awesome! So glad you've made them. I love anzac cookies 🙂

  • Reply
    July 27, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I was SO sad to not be able to have Anzac biscuits this year..I hadn't come across GF oats at the time. These look perfect! 🙂

  • Reply
    April 24, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    These look fabulous. Unfortunately I don't have any quinoa flour this morning and of course nothing is open 🙁

    • Reply
      April 25, 2012 at 1:31 am

      There's always tomorrow 🙂 I have had readers make these using buckwheat flour in place of the quinoa too. I'm not sure it would give the same results, but still good I bet.

  • Reply
    Elizabeth J Photography
    April 25, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Have made them today and they are fantastic. I love the story about your grandad, and yes I know the older I get the more important these things become to me. I also know that I want my children to know what young men did so that we could have the lives we do today.

  • Reply
    Colette Zabo
    July 17, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Hi, Emma. Thanks for the recipe. I was looking for a healthy excuse to cookies!

  • Reply
    September 28, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Just made these. I used almond meal instead of rice flour. They had a similar flavour to peanut butter cookies, yumm! And I knew I had been hanging on to that dribble of Golden Syrup for over 5 years for a reason!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Thanks for this recipe! I substituted the sugar with 100g brown rice syrup and they still turned out really nice 🙂

  • Reply
    May 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    I found this recipe after paying $7 for a pack of four quinoa gluten free anzac biscuits at the local market. although i'd never cooked with some of these ingredients before, the biscuits turned out really well, thanks!

    • Reply
      May 25, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Awesome so glad to hear! xx

  • Reply
    August 28, 2013 at 5:22 am

    Where is the recipe for these scrumptious looking delights
    I can't see it on this page

    • Reply
      August 28, 2013 at 5:29 am

      The recipe is there at the bottom of the page.

  • Reply
    September 9, 2014 at 9:02 am

    I made these last night and they are delicious, the only problem is that I found the first lot (that went on the baking tray) crumbly, but the second lot I baked (I only used one tray) were alot easier to handle, I suppose the quinoa had time to absorb the liquid (butter and golden syrup). I will be definetly making these again

  • Reply
    April 24, 2016 at 3:34 am

    I realise this thread is a little old but I found this recipe and made these today. I substituted Nuttlex for butter and almond meal for the brown rice flour. They were an absolute hit and success!!! Thank you very much I loved them.

    • Reply
      April 24, 2016 at 11:06 pm

      Hi Kaitlyn, so happy to hear they were a hit! xx

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