Crunchies – the well-loved South African biscuits that remind of Anzac biscuits, or even British flapjacks – comes in many variations, but this recipe is for a somewhat thinner, crunchier version.
Caramel apple tart – apple slices nestled on cake batter; baked and then smothered in a creamy syrup – might well be one of South Africa's most popular apple tart recipes. It is delicious served hot or cold, and with or without custard or vanilla ice-cream.
Custard dumplings, while not as famous as traditional South African Souskluitjies (dumplings), are delicious (especially on a cold rainy day) and easy to make. The only downside we can think of is the fact that they disappear very, very quickly. It is the sort of dish that makes you watch your fellow table-mates very closely.
Peppermint Crisp Balls are truffles, or chocolate balls, made from South African Peppermint Crisp bars. These wicked balls will get you out of trouble when you have to deal with a desperate craving for Peppermint Crisp Tart, but just do not have time (or the inclination) to build the full-blown traditional tart layer by layer. If you don’t like lots of cream, Peppermint Crisp Balls might even be a better option.
The Germans call these Christmas biscuits Zimsterne. They are a bit like macaroons, but rolled out and cut with a cookie press.
These tiny sandwiches are great when you need to dream up finger food, but are particularly good as part of a late, lazy afternoon tea.
While not fancy, two-tone biscuits are not run-of-the-mill either. They are fun to make, because you can get really creative with them if you want to, and are delicious to eat.
“Lemoenstroopkoek” means “orange syrup cake”, but because this cake contains dates, we think it should be called an “Orange and date cake”.Marietjie’s father – who had a sweet tooth – loved this cake for his birthday. Because his birthday coincided with their annual winter holiday on the farm, baking this cake became part of the routine holiday preparations. These days Marietjie bake it on her father’s birthday to treasure his memory.
Ouma Babsie, Marietjie's grandmother, braved a sweltering hot kitchen to bake large batches of these spicy, wine-flavoured biscuits in her wood-burning oven before the start of the festive season. They lived on a farm in the North-West Cape on the Orange River. The outside temperature soared to 40° Celcius or more during summer, so it was no mean feat on Ouma Babsie’s part. Marietjie has fond childhood memories of helping with the baking, which included hearing many stories of the old days.
Everybody knows bobotie is a meat dish – after all, the dish was invented hundreds of years ago when the old people were looking for ways to prevent meat from going off. But when a vegetarian friend visited recently, we wanted to make something special. We tried lentils instead of minced meat, which was bit of a paradigm shift for The Guardians of The Traditional Bobotie, but it did come out really lovely.
The Dutch invented these delectable biscuits, calling it bokkepootjes (“goat feet”) because they resemble the hooves of a tiny goat. Bokkepootjes are gluten free, being made from meringue and almond meal. They are filled with butter cream, or alternatively, with apricot jam, marzepan or melted dark chocolate. The tips are dipped in chocolate. The result is positively divine.
The problem with eating blue cheese is that they are always the wrong size: too large to finish in one sitting, but too small to have something decent for a second round. These blue cheese and thyme biscuits are a sensible way out.
If you like crunchy biscuits, you will most probably love these cereal biscuits as much as we do.
We came across Cookies, a recipe book by Woman’s Weekly, in the local bookstore and bought the book to try out their recipe for Latte Squares. They turned out lovely, with a texture that is almost-crispy and almost-chewy at the same time. This is a biscuit that begs to be made in the shape of a medium-sized bear, so that is what we did.
It is not easy to describe a frozen Peppermint Crisp tart. You can think of it as crunchy, mint ice cream, or as peppermint ice cake, or as slices or heaven, or perhaps slices of pure evil. It depends on your point of view. Perhaps you should try it and see for yourself.
This is an old fashioned recipe, which Marietjie loves. Her mom used to bake these biscuits, with the help of a cookie press, in large batches, but Marietjie adapted it for a smaller, family-sized batch.
Cinnamon sugar biscuits, also known as Snickerdoodle cookies, have been around for a long time. They are simple but addictive, which means that although they keep well for 10 to 14 days when stored in a tin, they are unlikely to last for more than a day or two in a house of cinnamon lovers.
We love sharing milk tart with our friends, but because it’s a bit unpractical to take a milk tart to a finger-food pot luck meal, Marietjie started filling small home-made tartlet cases with her standard milk tart filling. The plate is always empty when it’s time to go home.
Ystervarkies are small cubes of cake that are dipped in chocolate sauce and then rolled in coconut, to resemble hedgehogs. (“Yservarkie” is Afrikaans for “hedgehog”.) South African lamingtons are much smaller than the Australian and New Zealand versions, usually measuring only 3 or 4 cm square.