Lockdown larder: South African bakes

I don’t often reminisce about my childhood in Cape Town, South Africa.  It has been many years since I left – I have just realised that next month it will be 30 years.   I was just about to say that I can’t remember why I started thinking about the bakes of my childhood, but then I remembered that I have recently joined The Lekker Old Days Facebook page, which harks back to the good old days in South Africa.  They often post pictures of sweets and biscuits and enquire whether we can remember anything that far back.  It’s a bit of harmless nostalgia, but it does give rise to a few oohs and aahs of remembrance.  Anyway, someone in the group posted a recipe for Romany Creams and I decided to give the recipe a go.

The recipe is as follows:

Ingredients

  • 500g butter (room temperature)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 25g icing sugar
  • ¼ cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 480g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 125g of cocoa powder
  • 2 cups desiccated coconut
  • 450g plain chocolate, melted in a bowl in a microwave for 2 minutes or over a Bain Marie

Method

  • Beat the butter, oil, icing sugar and caster sugar together in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add the egg and the vanilla essence and mix for a minute.
  • Add all the dry ingredients and mix by hand to form a soft dough.
  • Cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
  • Roll out dough on a well-floured surface and ensure that your rolling pin is floured as well.
  • Take a fork and run it lightly over dough, scraping to form the rugged look.
  • Cut out shapes with a cookie cutter and place on a greased or non-stick baking tray.
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes.
  • When cooled, turn the biscuits upside down, so if you baked 50 biscuits, only turn around 25 biscuits.
  • Allow the melted chocolate to cool down for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Spoon the chocolate on top of the biscuits and wait for the chocolate to half set a bit before lightly placing the top biscuit. Press gently.
  • Allow the chocolate to set and pack away in an air tight container.

I made half the recipe.  This was more than enough for two of us for a week.

Although the Romany Cream were absolutely delicious, it reminded me of another favourite biscuit of mine growing up, the Choc Crust.  It was inevitably therefore that these were next on my list.

Choc Crust Biscuits (Source: Cape Malay Cooking with Fatima Sydow)

Ingredients

  • 150 grams of soft butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 180g muscovado sugar
  • 1 tsp of vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp fine ginger or freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 330g plain flour
  • ¼ cup of oil
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 cup of desiccated coconut
  • 1 large slab of chocolate melted to fill in between the biscuits

Method

  • Cream the butter and sugar together.
  • Add the egg, vanilla, ginger, salt, oil and golden syrup and mix until combined.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until a soft dough is formed.
  • Place in cling wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Roll out your dough on a floured surface, scrape with a fork lightly up and down to create the rugged look and with a round or oval cookie cutter cut out shapes (not too large as the dough spreads).
  • Take a butter knife and make a 5mm wide rectangle hole in centre of cookie.
  • Transfer to tray lined with baking paper and bake in a preheated oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 10-12 minutes or until its golden brown. Remove and cool.
  • Melt the chocolate and spread with a butter knife some melted chocolate on to the base of biscuit and join this side with another biscuit
  • Store in an airtight container

You would have thought that I might have stopped at this point, but I didn’t.  The choc crusts made me think of nutty crust biscuits, so thank to a recipe from Halaal Recipes, I made these as well.  The recipe is as follows:

Nutty Crust Biscuits

  • 250g butter
  • 135g brown sugar
  • 1 cup oats (grind it a bit and roast in the oven for 5 minutes)
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp boiling water
  • 240g to 360g flour (or enough to make a soft dough – I used about 300g)

Method

  • Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy
  • Add the roasted oats and coconut and mix well
  • Add golden syrup to the boiling water with the bicarbonate of soda and mix and then add to the butter mixture
  • Add the tbsp of oil and mix
  • Add enough flour to make a soft dough
  • Separate dough into 3 portions and make into logs and refrigerate for 30 minutes
  • Slice with the back of a knife and place on a baking sheet with enough space in between
  • Bake 180 degrees Celsius for 12-15 minutes
  • Switch off the oven and leave the biscuits to dry out a bit
  • Store in an air tight container

I have one more South African biscuit type bake that I would like to do.  A very simple crunchie (flapjack).  Watch this space.

Happy Baking!

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