Crunchies are a fantastic oat bar biscuit that most South African’s of my generation enjoyed. They are quick and cheap to make, last ages and have remarkably little sugar compared to many other biscuits I make. These were always knocking around in the cookie jar at home, my Gran tells me she had to make a batch almost every week because we ate so many of them.
They are very similar to Anzac biscuits, which are made round and not as bars. Anzacs were, I believe, originally made and packaged off to soldiers in the First World War because they last so well. It must have been total heaven receiving some of these little gems in the trenches. They are also similar to the British Flapjack, although Flapjacks are much softer and more buttery in taste.
This recipe is from my Gran’s hand written recipe book, and is dated over 60 years ago! It seems identical to most other South African Crunchie recipes I’ve Google’d, so clearly this one is a classic:
180 g butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup (If you’re in the US, I don’t believe golden syrup is readily available. Light Molasses is probably the closest replacement)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 cups of plain rolled oats (not the quick cooking type)
1 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
1 cup sugar
1 cup plain flour
Replace 1 tablespoon of flour with a tablespoon of plain cocoa powder
Replace 1 cup of the oats with mixed seeds. I love using sunflower and sesame seeds
Add a handful of raisins or cranberries or sultanas or cranberries or chocolate chips. You get the idea.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees (160 if it’s a hot convection like mine)
Put the butter and syrup together in a pan on a low heat to melt together.
Mix together the oats, flour, sugar, coconut and whichever optional ingredients you are using.
Once the butter and syrup are melted together, remove from the heat and add the bicarb. It will foam. Give it a quick stir and add to the dry ingredients. Mix it all together until everything is coated with the butter mix.
Press into a greased baking tray (mine is roughly A4 sized) and bake for 25 minutes.
Keep an eye on these towards the end of the baking time, as the edges can start to burn easily. If you prefer them chewy, you can take them out after 20 minutes when they should be a light golden brown. I prefer mine crisp, so I’ve left them in for longer until the edges just start to catch. I’ve used cocoa in mine here, so they are a bit darker than the classic version.
Leave the Crunchies to cool in the pan for 8 minutes before slicing. Slice too early and they crumble, slice too late and the whole lot will be rock hard and impossible to cut. Lift out and cool on a rack.
They can be stored in an air tight container for ages, but they never last much longer than 3 days in our house. I can highly recommend sprinkling the crumbs over ice cream! Enjoy.