Rusks, or ‘beskuit’ in Afrikaans, form a huge part of South African tradition and are almost always found in the pantry of any South African household.
Rusks are a type of ‘cookie’ that is dehydrated (twice baked in the oven) until crunchy, similar to the Italian Biscotti.
In the past, rusks were originally a way of preserving bread, especially when travelling long distances without refrigeration.
Today, however, they are a delicious snack or breakfast staple for South Africans.
Overview of ingredients
South African Rusks
- 500 gram butter
- 500 ml buttermilk If you don't have buttermilk, it's easy to make yourself. Just add 2 TBS lemon juice to 500 ml milk.
- 3 tsp vanilla essence 3 tsp = 15 ml
- 1 kg Self Rising Flour
- 3 cups All Bran Flakes crush the flakes in a grinder or with a big wooden spoon
- 1 cup Brown sugar substitute: honey / maple syrup
- 2 tsp Baking powder
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1½ cups Pecan nuts Or add any type of nut that you prefer. Cranberries, walnuts, sesame seeds work great also.
- 1 TBL Cinnamon *optional
- Melt the butter with the buttermilk on the stovetop. Do not allow to boil. Add vanilla essence and whisk vigorously for 1 or 2 minutes.
- Allow 15-20 minutes for the mixture to cool. While the mixture is cooling, start working on the dry ingredients.
- Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
Wet + Dry ingredients
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F)
- Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well. You can mix by hand (more work but doable!) or with a large stand mixer.
- Make sure all ingredients are well incorporated and that a smooth dough forms.
- Place the dough mixture in a baking tray.
- Bake at 180 °C / 350 °F for 40 – 50 minutes.
- After 40 minutes, remove rusks from oven and allow them around 30 minutes to cool.
- Slice the rusks and return to the baking tray (I found it easier to use two baking trays and to lay the rusks flat for best drying).
- Turn the oven down to 170 °F (80 – 100°C)
- Allow to dry out for 6-8 hours.
- Enjoy your rusks dipped in coffee or tea!