This is my most searched recipe and most requested by friends and family. There’s nothing better than a Crunchie and a cup of tea in the morning!
Kids of all ages will love to help you make them! (Note: mini rolling pin and blankie)
And they will love to find one in their lunchbox!
Fill an Oxo Cookie Jar with fresh Crunchies for a hostess gift.
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.
I couldn’t live without my Salter Kitchen Scale.
You can find Lyle’s Golden Syrup at most supermarkets these days, or at British Specialty Stores, but if it isn’t available honey is a great substitute.
I prefer using butter—for health and taste—but you can use margarine. (Inna in Canada uses margarine & honey.)
Scoop out the syrup with a mini spatula for an accurate measurement.
Microwave just until melted; then cool for 5 minutes.
Flatten a little with the back of a wooden spoon.
Use the rolling pin to compact and even out.
Cover loosely with foil if browning too much.
The longer you bake them the more “crunchy” they will get. If you prefer them more “chewy” just bake them for less time. (23 – 25 minutes)
Set on a wire rack to cool for 10 – 12 minutes.
Cut into 1 1/2 – 2 inch squares.
This recipe makes 54 x 1 1/2 inch squares. (9 x 6)
- 4 cups (11 ½ oz) regular oats (not quick cooking)
- 3 cups (9 oz) unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 cup (4 ½ oz) all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups (10 ½ oz) granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 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.