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Coconut Rusks – A Taste of Home

I’m Elizabeth.
I'm a girl who lives for adventure. An overachiever, chief encourager health enthusiast and lover of all things personal growth. I'm obsessed with sunshine and afternoon naps. My mission? To empower others to build the life they truly desire!
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Some things are part of your DNA. As a South African, there is nothing that reminds me more of being home than having a rusk with my morning coffee. Rusks are everywhere in South Africa. It is so popular that it is rare to find a South African pantry without them.

What is a rusk you might ask?

Rusks, also known as “beskuit” in Afrikaans, are biscuit-like treats that are traditionally served as a breakfast item or snack. It is made from a cake like batter of flour, sugar, eggs, butter and baking powder or yeast. Traditionally, rusks are made with buttermilk which gives them a great flavour.

Rusks are considered to be “double-baked” and are very similar to the Italian biscotti. Initially the batter is baked like a cake after which it is cut into thick slices. When baked for the second time, they are placed under low heat for a long time to dehydrate them into hard rusks (ready to be repeatedly dunked in coffee!). This was a way that South Africans preserved bread since the late 1960s, especially for travelling over long distances when refrigeration was not possible.

When asked about the best rusks recipe, there is no conclusive answer. There is probably just as many versions of South African rusks than there are South Africans in South Africa! This coconut version has become my favourite. I hope you like it too.


  • 1 kilogram flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • 300 grams sugar
  • 100 grams bran*
  • 80 grams desiccated coconut
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • 500 grams butter
  • 325 milliliters milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 60 milliliters cold-pressed sunflower oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 350 degrees Farenheit and grease a large baking tin with a little bit of butter.
  1. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Combine with the sugar, bran, desiccated coconut and sunflower seeds. Stir well to blend.
  1. Heat the butter until soft but not melted. Then combine the butter with the dry ingredients. You will want to use your fingers to work the butter through the flour mixture.
  1. In a cup, mix together the milk, eggs and sunflower oil until well blended. Then add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix well.
  1. Form medium sized balls of dough and add them side-by-side (touching each other) to the greased baking tin. Don’t pack them too close to each other as they will rise when baking. You may also want to have a bowl of oil ready to dip your hands into for shaping the dough. Leave for 30 minutes to rise.
  1. Bake for about 45-60 minutes. Baking time will depend on your oven and the size of the balls, however the rusks should be well risen and golden brown on top. You can test them with a skewer.
  1. Cut into thick strips and lay out on a baking tray. Make sure to leave a little room in-between them for airflow. Once ready, pop the baking tray in the oven at 70 degrees Celsius or 160 degrees Farenheit (preferably in a fan oven) and leave them to dry out for 4-5 hours (or overnight)**.


*depending on where you live, bran can sometimes be hard to find—instead I use All Bran flakes crushed into a fine powder
**use a wooden spoon to keep the oven door wedged open for the duration of the drying time

Did you make this recipe?

Leave a comment below or tag me @mselizabethpepler to let me know how it turned out for you.

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I'm an expert at human behaviour change and my obsession is to help others activate their potential so that they can live the life they truly desire (without compromising on the important stuff!).

I’m Elizabeth Pepler.