Ice Cream Sandwich

These biscuits are certainly an Aussie Icon.

The first biscuits in Australia were as hard as nails and, the taste was something left to be desired. They were ‘sea biscuits’, or as the old time sailors called them ‘hard tack’ or ‘ship’s biscuits’.  The sailors used to paint scenes on the biscuits and sell them when the ship docked.  Because they had to crack the biscuits with a hammer or dip them in water or tea in order to masticate them this would have been seen by the sailors as the best use. In 1847 a young Scotsman called William Arnott migrated with his brother David to the colony and set up a small bakery shop in Newcastle, north of Sydney (New South Wales).

In 1867 he converted the shop to a small factory and installed rotary coke-powered ovens. The first biscuits to be made by Arnott’s were called ‘Thin Captains’ which was Arnott’s version of the sea biscuit. Newcastle, an extremely busy shipping port, saw Arnott’s ‘sea biscuits’ an immediate success and the company soon became a colonial success shipping biscuits throughout Australia and later the world.

In 1997 Arnott’s was taken over by Campbell’s in America after an attempted extortion by a Queensland extortionist who threatened to poison packets of Monte Carlos biscuits in South Australia and Victoria.  The biscuits were recalled which cost the company $22 million. Arrowroot biscuits were used in various ways and are still “dunked” in tea or coffee.  This is not necessary today as they are crisp and easy to eat.  I guess “dunking” was passed down from generation to generation.

The biscuits can be used:

  • as “rusks” for babies;
  • iced and sprinkled with 100’s and 1000’s for parties;
  • covered in chocolate.  Break up a block of milk chocolate and place in a dish in the microwave for about 1 minute.  Cover the top of the biscuit with melted chocolate  and let set and then cover the other side.  Make eyes, nose and mouth with “Smarties”;
  • covered in chocolate, piled up with cream and strawberries on top;
  • a good “sandwich” for a slice of ice cream either plain or chocolate coated;
  • Smothered in Condensed milk;
  • Cream cheese and jam or honey. 

Maybe you could give some more suggestion for any other uses you have for these biscuits.


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