This popular South African treat (pronounced “cook-sister”) is a plaited and fried doughnut dough, dipped in delicious ‘syrupy’ goodness.
Being South African, Koeksisters are really one of my favourite treats, and I’ve always wanted to try making it myself. It took me up until June this year (2019), to work up the ‘courage’ because a lot of people kept telling me how difficult and time-consuming it is.
Why did people say that?
Time-consuming because there is waiting time after making the syrup and dough but plaiting and frying weren’t too bad. It was not difficult AT all!
The MOST important step is to make your syrup (the recipe link will be at the bottom of the post) the day before, as it always needs to be ice cold – I made the syrup and divided it between 3 dishes and alternated the dishes as a batch of koeksisters came out of the oil.
The next day, I started by making the dough before I went out for the day. TIP: use a pizza cutter for easier cutting. A nice kitchen activity for the kids, because you can do a 2 or 3 strand plait. I think that most kids will be able to do it. Remember to show them how to pinch it at the end to keep the plait together. [Please be careful with the hot oil at all times!]
Test the oil by putting a small piece of the dough in and it starts bubbling. I watched as they turned a beautiful golden brown color. When I took them out I put them into the syrup immediately (that’s how they soak up the syrup the best). I recommend using a fork to roll them around and make sure they are covered. Once I took them out of the dish, I put that dish back into the fridge and took the next cold syrup dish out for the next batch.
Once I’d finished them, my husband got home from work – basically inhaled them – it was a huge success! We had a few leftovers the next day and they were MUCH better – so if you can wait – I promise it’ll be worth it!
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- 1kg sugar
- 5 ml ground cinnamon
- 1.5 ml ground ginger
- 500ml water
- 500 ml all-purpose flour
- 25 ml baking powder
- 30 ml butter
- 100 ml milk
- 100 ml water
- pinch of salt
- 500 ml oil for frying
- SYRUP: Boil this together until dissolved. Let it cool completely. Best to leave it overnight. It should stay ice cold for the dipping process, so keep a container with ice underneath.
- DOUGH: Mix the flour, baking powder and salt.
- Use your fingers to work the butter in.
- Add water and milk. Do not overmix.
- Roll out the dough and koeksister braid as seen in the pictures above.
- FRYING: Bake the braids in the oil until golden brown.
- DIPPING: Immediately after a braid is boiled in the oil, dip it into the ice-cold sauce. It should still make small bubbles when it is dipped so that the syrup is absorbed well. Leave in the syrup for a minute and take out, resting it on a cooling rack.
- Keep the koeksister braids in the fridge before serving.
Use two different utensils to take the braid out of the oil and dipping into the syrup to avoid cross-contamination.