South Africa: Koeksisters

Koeksisters are a very sticky South African sweet. They originated from the Malayan slaves brought to Cape Province by the European settlers. The Malays made this deep-fried spiced sweet in round balls.

The Afrikaaner version is shaped like a short, fat plait. Koeksisters dough is divided into strips with a special koeksisters cutter. It’s then plaited and deep-fried. To finish, it is plunged straight from the hot oil into an icy cold sugar syrup.


1-1/2 (to 3) cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup butter
4 eggs
vegetable oil for frying

For syrup:
1-1/2 pounds granulated sugar
1 pint water
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon

Heat sugar and water over medium heat. When mixture thickens, remove form heat. Stir in cinnamon. Cool syrup, then refrigerate.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice. Cut in butter. Beat the eggs. When dough comes together, form in to a ball.

Roll out dough between two pieces of wax paper until 1/4" in thickness. Carefully remove the top sheet of wax paper. Cut into rectangles approximately 2" X 4". Cut each rectangle lengthwise into three strips, keeping them joined at the top. (See illustration.) Braid the strips and twist the ends to seal.

Heat oil to 350F. Fry cookies, a few at a time until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dip hot cookies into cold syrup.

Yield: approximately 3 dozen


marye said...

those look fabulous!

Chef Mom said...

They taste fabulous too! You really should try them.