• SClaus

Tasty South African Rusks Recipe

Updated: Nov 6


A Tale About A Christmas Eve In Cape Town, And The Most Delicious Recipe For South African Rusks.

It was a particularly warm Christmas Eve in South Africa as I landed softly up top Table Mountain in Cape Town. As my sleigh landed, I was met with the fragrance of fynbos flowers, unique in that they are only found in this part of the world.


I peered over the mountain’s edge, planning my route for the night. I’m always struck by the beauty of this city. Cape Town is known as “The Mother City” this sweet nickname is made real by how the mountain seems to wrap her arms around the city, holding the families that live there.



stock photo of table mountain and cape town south africa at night
Cape Town, South Africa at Night with Table Mountain in the Background

As I ventured on, I dipped down and up to the first house for the night. As I tip-toed into the house, I noticed a little table at the entranceway. Upon it was a flask full of hot coffee and a pretty enamel mug. There was a note saying “dip me” beside a long rectangular Christmas cookie.


Not one to pass up on a treat, I followed the simple instructions. I poured a cup of steaming hot coffee and dipped the South African cookie into it before gobbling it up. Oh, what a delight!


photo of a plate of south african rusks and a hot cup of coffee
Sweet and tangy ... a South African Rusk and a cup of hot coffee!


I learned that rusks are a staple in the South African home and are made for sharing with those you love.


Here is an easy recipe for South African rusks that you can enjoy making at home. These are great to make with kids as a Christmas cookie and are an excellent snack for toddlers.

Substitutions And Variations

  • Flour: if you’d like to make a more complex variation of these South African rusks, you can take out 1.6 cups / 200g of the flour. In its place, you can add 1 cup / 80g rolled oats and about 1 cup / 112g coconut flour. This will give the recipe a more breakfast-like flavor and appearance.

  • Butter: if you’d prefer to, you can switch out the butter in this margarine recipe at the same weight.

  • Buttermilk: if you don’t have any buttermilk, you can mix three cups of milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and allow it to stand for 15 minutes. This will result in a lovely homemade buttermilk that you can use for this recipe.


Storage And Shelf-life

South African Rusks are made to last. They were designed to be stored for at least a month. The best way to store this South African cookie is in a glass bottle or jar with a tightly sealed lid. A tin with a tightly fitting lid will do just as well.


They can also be kept in a plastic container or bag. They shouldn't become soggy if they are protected from moisture in the air.


What Is A Rusk?

Rusks mean many things in different parts of the world. A South African rusk is a dough that has been twice baked to dry the cookie out. Rusks were designed this way to preserve them.


Rusks have been around since the 1690s when people traveled long distances without refrigeration and needed a way to preserve food.


Nowadays, rusks are enjoyed by all South Africans as a breakfast or tea-time snack.


How To Serve And Eat Rusks

Ask a South African how to eat a rusk, and they will all tell you the same thing. It would be best if you dunked it in a cup of milk, coffee, or tea before munching it up.


Rusks can be served straight out of their glass jar, tin, or on a pretty plate. South Africans love the tradition of drinking their morning coffee in bed with a delicious rusk. If you want to know how to make Christmas cookies from scratch, this is a good place to start!


Wrapping It Up

And so, my dear friends, I hope you try out this amazing recipe for South African rusks made with buttermilk. What a great idea for a Christmas cookie with a difference this year. Made for sharing, dunking, and delighting in as a melt-in-your-mouth moment.


A lovely idea would be to make a big batch and buy a few pretty jars or tins to package for friends and family. Don’t forget to add a little note on how to eat them. If you’re looking for a new cookie for Santa idea, I can say that I fully endorse this one!



a photo of a plate of south african rusks and a glass of milk
Crunchy and sweet ... these South African Rusks are a tasty treat!



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