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March 15, 2017

South-African Koeksisters

Koeksisters - Syrup drenched, decadent sweet treats !

South-African Koeksisters are syrup drenched, deep-fried dough sweet treats and loved by young and old. If you live in South-Africa you will know exactly what these little gems are and if you have ever visited the country and have not had a Koeksister, you missed out big time !

I have to admit that I have never made my own traditional Koeksisters (see NOTE below), let's just call it pure laziness - that is now when I still cooked and baked without any help from the hubby, whom as you might know is the main cook/chef/baker in the house since my shoulders started acting up 

BUT, a couple of weeks ago my daughter's fiance's granny baked a batch and they brought us a packet - what a treat ! Not store-bought as I usually just grab a packet or three at the supermarket, but real homemade, freshly baked Koeksisters 

Koeksisters - Syrup drenched, decadent sweet treats !
Photo Credit : Vincent Viljoen

There is quite a bit of work into these therefore I will suggest you make the full recipe which yields around 4 - 6 dozen of these decadent treats (you can twist/roll them into any size you wish but the sizes given in the directions are the most popular)

When I was little, I used to watch my own granny make these and even then I knew the most important part is -->> HOT fried dough, dumped quickly into the ICE-COLD syrup is key to the success of a perfect Koeksister

Over the years I have seen Koeksisters being called Koesisters as well (with the 2nd K dropped) but it is the same thing, although some people calls Cape Malay Koeksisters, Koesisters and not Koeksisters with the 2nd K. Please just never call them Cake Sisters ! It is pronounced the same as you would say COOKSISTER

NOTE: I have made two varieties of Koeksisters and you can find the recipes by clicking on the names below :

CAPE MALAY KOEKSISTERS  (easier, spicier, not as syrupey)

SYRUP DRENCHED BREADSISTERS (easy, quick, but far from the real thing!)

South-African Koeksisters

Recipe shared by: Alida Viljoen

4 - 6 Dozen



4 cups Sugar
1 1/2 cups boiling Water
1/2 t Cream of Tartar
1/2 t Ground Ginger
2 Sticks Cinnamon
1 t Edible Glycerin (optional)


4 cups Flour
1/2 t Salt
2 TB Baking Powder
2 TB Butter, cubed
1 Egg
1 cup Milk
Oil for deep-fry


1.) Syrup: Dissolve the Sugar in the Water in a large saucepan - add the Cream of Tartar, Ginger and Cinnamon and let boil over high heat for 5 minutes - remove from heat and stir in the Glycerin, if using (Glycerin adds a little more shine to the Koeksisters) - leave syrup to cool completely then refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight (the syrup must be ice-cold)
2.) Dough: Sift together the Flour, Salt and Baking Powder in a large mixing bowl - rub Butter into the dry mixture until crumbly
3.) Whisk together the Egg and Milk - add to the Flour mixture and knead until a dough forms (at least 5 minutes) - the dough must be soft but still firm enough to roll out - cover and let stand 2 hours
4.) Roll out the dough on a floured board - 1 cm (1/4 - 1/2 inch) thick - cut into same size strips (you can do long or short strips - 20 cm (8 inch) strips are usually preferable - plaid or simply rolled (see picture below)
5.) Deep-fry in small batches at 190 deg C (375 deg F) 1 - 2 minutes or until light brown - remove using a slotted spoon and quickly drain on paper towel
6.) Place the bowl of chilled syrup over a bowl with ice - this will prevent the syrup from warming too quickly once the dipping starts
7.) Dip each fried hot Koeksister quickly in the ice-cold syrup - remove using a slotted spoon, shake excess syrup off gently and place on a wire rack over a baking sheet to dry a little

Serve cold - keep leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

Thanks again to Alida for sharing this delightful, traditional South-African recipe with us !

Koeksisters - Syrup drenched, decadent sweet treats !


Linking up with : WEEKEND POTLUCK - The Country Cook


  1. I'd pick up a package or 2 at the store too! But the recipe is intriguing. Ice cold syrup on hot fried bread must be delicious. My mouth is watering. I'll probably never make these because I should never eat them with diabetes. But the process is so interesting. Thank you for sharing.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

  2. i wonder how similar these are to gulab jamun, which are indian syrup soaked doughnuts. i haven't had either, but they both sound delicious!


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