This recipe for traditional South African crackers is from my grandmother—she died long ago, but in my family (and our wider farming community), Granny Enid’s baking skills are legendary.
It takes about five minutes to assemble and an hour and a half to bake, which is why I’ve never bought crackers in my life. If it’s easy and inexpensive, why bother? Plus, when you make your own, you can control what goes into them—especially levels of sugar, of which commercially produced crackers contain a lot, and butter: I simply don’t like margarine.
If you like your crackers to be really crunchy, spread the batter thinly in a larger saucepan, or you may have to increase the baking time.
I like my crunchy and not too crunchy, so spread the crunchy mixture about 2cm thick, and bake them for about 30 minutes, which is all they need.
Traditional South African crackers
250g / 270ml butter (or margarine) melted
30 ml golden syrup
2 cups of oats
2 cups of flour
2 cups of coconut
3ml of salt
250ml raisins (you can easily leave them out if you don’t want raisins)
1 ½ 1 cup brown sugar (not black)
2 teaspoons baking soda dissolved in a splash of milk
1 beaten egg
Heat oven to 180 ° C.
Mix all dry ingredients except sugar in a bowl.
Melt the butter in a small saucepan or in the microwave, then add the syrup and sugar and bring to a simmer.
Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix by hand. Add the bicarb mixture and the beaten eggs.
Then, using a metal spatula or the back of a spoon, spread the crunchy mixture into a greased or lined non-stick rectangular baking pan (about 33cm x 23cm), depending on your desired thickness.
Bake for 20 minutes at 180°C, then lower the oven to 160°C and bake for another 10 minutes, until golden brown. Cool in pan before cutting into squares.
Store in an airtight container. It should stay crunchy and fresh for weeks but somehow it doesn’t seem to last that long. DM