Today’s post makes me giddy, because I get to share something super typically South African – the loyal, hardworking rusk. A twice-baked hard biscuit, it’s perfect as a quick snack or breakfast. Ideally it’s meant to be dunked in a hot beverage, but it’s also great to chew as is or give to teething babies, if you’ve got some of those lying around.
My rusks are darker than the usual kind because of the buckwheat flour, but because of that specific flour they are nice and dense, which makes for a filling mini-meal. I always see my colleagues at work munching on a singular rusk whilst I sit with my spread of steamed veggies, brown rice crackers and tahini, so it got me thinking that sometimes you need something you can just grab and glomp without too much hassle but with enough oomph to tide you over until the next meal. Ingredients (makes 36):
- 2 cups gluten-free oats
- 2 cups buckwheat flour
- 2 cups brown rice flour (plus ¼ cup for dusting)
- 3 vegan eggs (preferably powdered boxed eggs – I use the Orgran brand)
- 1 cup applesauce or purée of choice
- 1/2 cup oil of choice
- 1.5 cups soy milk
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 TBSP baking powder
- 2 TBSP baking soda
- 2 TBSP vanilla extract
- 1 TBSP cinnamon
- 1 TBSP nutmeg
- 3/4 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup nuts of choice
- Preheat oven to 180C and spray a baking tray.
- Blend down the GF oats to a flour.
- Mix your vegan egg powder with recommended water ratio and set aside to gel.
- Add your vinegar to non-dairy milk to curdle.
- Transfer oat flour to a large bowl, add other flours, baking powder and soda, spices and sugar.
- In the blender, mix the curdled milk, vegan “eggs”, purée, and vanilla until smooth.
- Pour into flour bowl and mix with wooden spoon until well combined and dough-like. Add in raisins and seeds and mix.
- Spoon into the baking pan and flatten dough, cutting your 34+ rusks in rectangular shape OR, using dusted hands, roll into palm-sized rectangles (as I did).
- Bake for 45 minutes.
- Let cool completely, then bake on 100C for 4 hours on the sides, turning halfway, then leave overnight in the oven to dehydrate.
- Dunk into hot drinks or chew as hard biscuits.
- These can be stored in an air-tight container for two weeks or so.
Is this post an excuse to show off my espresso? Perhaps, but there’s no better excuse for rusks than a hot beverage. When I visited my family in South Africa as a kid the best part of the morning would be when I was woken up with coffee and rusks, which I must say is a glorious tradition. It kept one full enough to slog through all the stuff you didn’t really feel like doing during holidays as a youngster, like showering and stuff, and made the early wake-up call seem like a treat.
Before Man-thing and I got engaged or were even really dating I used to sleep over at his parents’ house quite a lot because they are a fun crowd, and his mom is an expert rusk baker, so naturally I was offering to make tea every five minutes as an excuse to stuff myself. I barely managed to fit into my wedding dress because I went overboard, but it was totally worth it!
Point being, I love making foods that remind me of positive times, especially if they are veganized! There are so few rusk brands that are vegan in South Africa (honey, oh why?), and even then they are cake white and are more like a dessert than anything else, so the healthy flour mix and simple ingredients in this recipe make it a balanced mini-meal, not something ridiculous. Win and win!
Once you dunk the hard biscuit the interior becomes delicious and soft, and the little nuggets of raisins and nuts make it all the more delicious for different texturing, so feel free to add your favourite nuts and seeds without shyness – I didn’t have any but highly recommend pumpkin seeds. I know almost everyone loves their chocolate chips and what not, so fear not – I have seen such a version before, though I prefer raisins and naturally dried fruit. Point being, the recipe is versatile enough for you to do just what you like!You may find me on the quiet side for the next while as I wrap up my ebook – I’ve got SO many delicious and amazing recipes to share, and I finally perfected a gorgeous ice-cream last night as well, so I am beyond thrilled and inspired! Here are just a few snaps of what to expect 😀
I have some lighter, airy-er rusks in the ebook, as well as some brownies, pizza, pavlovas and pancakes – all gluten-free! In the meantime, if there are any recipes or types of dishes you’d like to see, dash a comment my way – I’m enjoying this baking streak like crazy. Sometimes one goes through off periods but everything I’ve made of late has turned out awesomesauce – I think stalking food journals day in and day out has a rather magical effect on the way one views food and ingredients.
Despite being an expert eater as a youngster (especially of rusks!), I regret not starting to learn how to cook and bake earlier – it may still take me another decade to get to grips with things like breads and yeast-based goods, but for now I’m chuffed to make ice-cream without cream or brownies without melted chocolate 😀
When did you learn to cook or bake?
What were the first dishes you learned to make?