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'Koeksisters' - Twisted Syrup Doughnuts

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  • Serves: 12
  • Complexity: medium
  • Origin: Afrikaans
'Koeksisters' - Twisted Syrup Doughnuts


  • 5 cups sugar
  • 2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 6 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 9 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter/margerine
  • 300 ml milk
  • 1 bottle sunflower oil


  1. The first 4 ingredients will be used for the syrup.  Cook sugar and water together in a medium saucepan.  Make sure sugar is dissolved before the syrup starts to boil.  Boil slowly without lid for 7 - 8 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Add lemon juice and vanilla and set aside.
  2. To prepare the dough sift dry ingredients together.  Use fingertips to rub butter into the dry ingredients untill the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Add milk and mix together very lighty with a cutting method to a soft dough.  Do not overwork the dough.
  3. Now you roll out 1/4 of the dough till about 7 mm on a well floured surface. Cut into strips of 1 cm by 10 cm.  Twist each strip untill it rolls up unto itself and secure the ends by pinching them together.  This will make a bite sized koeksister. The traditional way is to braid three strips together.  To do it this way cut out a rectangle of dough and from the one long end to make 2 incisions but not cut the oppisite end through.  A special cutter can also be used for this.  Use then the 3 strips to braid the dough and secure the ends firmly.  The size can vary depending on you
  4. Heat the oil in medium pot till hot but not smoking.  Put syrup in a small pot that is deep.  Put next to the oil as close as possible without heating syrup.  You will need a slotted spoon for the oil and a potato masher for the syrup.  Deepfry the twisted doughnuts till a rich brown color on both sides.  In the beginning do only small batches, 3 - 5, untill you get the hang of it. 
  5. As soon as the doughnut is cooked remove them from the oil and immediatly immerse them in the syrup holding them under with the masher.  Upon close observation you can actually see the syrup drenching the koeksister which takes a couple of seconds.  Only release them then as you add new cooked ones.  2 points are important to remember.  Koeksister must be immersed completely immediatly and it must be fully drencehed before it is released otherwise it will not by completely filled with syrup and leave the inside dry.
  6. Remove the batch from the syrup with the masher draining off the excess syrup and place the koeksisters on a cooling rack with a tray underneath to catch the drips.  Place koeksisters in the fridge to cool and there they are kept in a sealed container.  The outside will be crisp and the inside soft and juicy.  Can be frozen with success.  Enjoy on its own or as a dessert with vanilla ice cream.  Add to a dessert buffet for any special occasion.



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