There is a long list of reasons I am thankful to have grown up in South Africa. At the top of that list is undeniably the food that I was lucky enough to grow up around and learn to make (and eat) whilst hanging around barefoot in our sunlit kitchen, fittingly the biggest room in my childhood home.
Crunchies for me are nibbles on a Sunday morning as you amble through the farmers market, dog's lead tugging at your wrist, twigs digging into the bare arches of your feet. They are the never changing staple of tea with Ouma (read: grandmother), undoubtedly stored in some kind of mismatched old tin.
The flavour of these crunchies very much comes from the golden syrup used. I unashamedly believe that Lyle's Golden Syrup is the only way to go on this front. I have fond memories of prying the tin lid open with a flat knife for use and committing to the burden of cleaning up (licking clean) my fingers after. Lyle's themselves say it best: "sticky but worth it."
Now let's get down to the other ingredients:
- 2 cups of your favourite flat rolled oats (don't lie, you definitely have a favourite kind of rolled oat)
- 1 cup of unsweetened desiccated coconut
- 1 cup of all-purpose white flour
- 1 cup sticky brown sugar
- 250g salted butter
- 2 (generous) tablespoons of properly thick golden syrup
Now for the method.
This is a simple and easy recipe, something Ouma's tell granddaughters, then those granddaughters tell their granddaughter. The size of the cup you use to measure isn't entirely important, as long as you use the same one for the whole recipe. The only rule is to remember to taste test thoroughly through out.
Preheat the oven to 160/180 degrees C.
- Mix your dry ingredients together well in a large bowl.
- Place your butter into a saucepan and melt it slowly over a low heat.
- When the butter has melted completely, add the golden syrup and remove from the heat.
- Pour your warm butter and syrup into the dry mix and stir thoroughly.
- Press your mixture firmly into a dish or tray. Make sure not to be too light-handed or your crunchies will crumble apart once cooled. There's no real size rules here, but I love a good Pyrex casserole dish. If you make them too thick you won't get the crunch, and if you lay them too thin, the sugar will burn. I would aim for about 2 cm.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until beautifully golden. You'll want to swipe your knife down the grid to get the crunchies out whilst they are still warm. I usually get a solid 12 out as a batch. Then, allow them to firm up nicely before attempting to lift them from their dish.
The fun part about these is that you can add a tumble of chocolate chips or dried fruit, and you can even dip or coat them in chocolate to add to the decadence. Here are two of my favourite combinations:
Chocolate orange: as simple as adding the zest of one orange to the dry mix of the recipe and chucking a handful of small dark chocolate chips into the mix before pressing out to bake. As a tip, I prefer to pick my favourite chocolate and chop it up myself instead of buying pre-made chocolate chips. They may not be perfectly sized, but the taste will pay off.
Nuts: add any combination of your favourite nuts to these, roughly chopped, to add both flavour and texture.
Whatever you choose to do with them and however you choose to devour them, don't forget that two is always better than one!
About the Creator
Born and raised South African and a literal hippy. My childhood home was a bit of a suburbia commune, hosting more vegetable patches than grass. I learned a passion for nature, earth, fresh food and a curiosity for absolutely everything.
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