Crunchies were my favorite “biscuit”—the South African term for cookies. They are to South Africa what Chocolate Chip Cookies are to America. Imagine: Mini-homemade-granola-bar meets chewy-oatmeal-raisin-cookie… but better! There is something so satisfying about biting into these sweet, crunchy, toasted-oat-and-coconut squares of goodness!
My older sister, Sharon, often made them when I was growing up in Johannesburg. The first time I attempted to make her recipe for Sam—my boyfriend at the time—they came out like flat, pieces of hardwood! This was one of the first things I ever baked for him, and I could see he was concerned.
Later that year we visited Sam’s hometown of Calgary, Canada. We took a trip to the South African store, SA Meat Shops, and to my delight they had delicious Crunchies for sale. When back home in Los Angeles, I called the store for the recipe, and Inna was kind enough to read it to me from her “Kook en Geniet” recipe book. (“Cook and Enjoy It”—in Afrikaans, an official language of South Africa, which developed from Dutch.)
A chance to recover from the disastrous cardboard bars!
Sam’s family now fight over who is going to take home the leftovers—if there are any! They are the perfect breakfast/morning treat with a cup of tea or coffee.
Though finicky, they are quite easy to make. The recipe below is the result of experimenting with different temperatures, times and ingredients.I hope you find the details helpful.
Enjoy! And please let me know how you do…
Tips for Success
Weighing ingredients is far easier and less cleanup!
Just stick your bowl on the scale, set it to zero and pour in each ingredient—resetting the scale before adding a new one.
1 cup butter (salted) or stick margarine (I use butter)
3 tablespoons (2 3/8 oz) golden syrup or honey
¼ cup low fat milk
2 teaspoons baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
vegetable or canola oil spray
Set the oven rack in the middle, and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. (160 C)
Spray 10 x 15” jelly roll pan with canola oil spray.
In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients (except for baking soda) very well.
Melt butter (or margarine) and syrup (or honey) in a small bowl in the microwave – about 1 minute. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Stir baking soda into just under ¼ cup milk, making sure it dissolves completely.
Add the cooled butter mixture and the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and mix very well with a spoon—or even better, just get in there with your hands! Make sure to incorporate dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl.
Distribute evenly on prepared baking sheet. Press down very well with the back of a flat spoon, or roll with a rolling pin. (I distribute and flatten a bit with the spoon and then use the rolling pin to compact and even out.) Push down any edges that come up with your fingers or the spoon.
Bake for 25 – 35 minutes until golden brown. Rotate pan after 16 - 18 minutes. Keep an eye on them; if browning too quickly cover loosely with foil. And/or turn the oven down to 300 degrees F for the last five to ten minutes of baking. I usually cover them with foil after 16 - 18 minutes.
Remove from oven and set on wire cooling rack for 10 - 12 minutes. Cut while still warm into 1 1/2 inch squares, with a sharp, serrated knife—preferably with a round tip.
Allow to cool completely before removing from pan. You might have to carefully run the knife through the cuts again before removing them.
The longer you bake them the more "crunchy" they will get. If you prefer them more "chewy" just bake them for less time. (25 minutes.)
Cut your foil to fit the pan before you put them in the oven so you're prepared! Remove them from the oven to rotate and cover, keeping the oven door closed, so the temperature of the oven doesn't go down.
If necessary, put them on top of another baking sheet to stop the bottom from browning too quickly.
Quaker regular oats, not quick cooking.
Bob's Red Mill Unsweetened Shredded Coconut.
Lyle's Golden Syrup.
I prefer low fat over whole milk, or they can get too greasy.
Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
Freeze in a Gallon Ziplock Freezer Bag; suck out the air with a straw.
Adapted from "Kook en Geniet" by S.J.A. de Villiers
Adapted from "Kook en Geniet" by S.J.A. de Villiers
Orna Purkin is the creator of OrnaBakes—where healthy meets yummy. As a former Weight Watchers Leader and Ambassador, her passion is to inspire others with her healthy recipes, favorite food finds, and weight-loss tips — with the odd confession here and there!
Hi, I'm Orna Purkin, the creator of OrnaBakes. As a former Weight Watchers Leader and Ambassador, my passion is to help others make better choices and feel good about themselves.
I hope to inspire you with my healthy recipes, favorite food finds, and weight-loss tips - with the odd confession here and there! Check out my printable Shopping Lists for help making the right choices during your weekly shop!
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OrnaBakes is not affiliated with Weight Watchers International, Inc.
All PointsPlus® values were calculated by OrnaBakes, and all recommendations and weight loss tips are in the opinion of OrnaBakes and in no way represent Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the Weight Watchers® and PointsPlus® trademarks.
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Orna is a former Weight Watchers Leader—and has maintained a 70 pound weight loss.