LIFE IN LOCKDOWN | Day 12: Bake a big batch of soetkoekies with the kids

Get the whole family involved and fill up your biscuit tin

07 April 2020 - 13:15
Soetkoekies are traditionally cut into rounds, but you can use any shape cookie cutter that takes your fancy.
Soetkoekies are traditionally cut into rounds, but you can use any shape cookie cutter that takes your fancy.
Image: 123RF/Kati Finell

Nothing fancy, spiced soetkoekies remain a firm favourite in many Mzansi households. They're economical to make, a good filler for the biscuit tin, and the perfect dunker for tea or coffee.

This particular version is great to make with the family because it's the kind of recipe where little can go wrong. Children really enjoy rolling out the dough and cutting different shapes using cookie cutters. 

Traditionally, soetkoekies were decorated with rooi bolus, a type of ferri-oxide mixture used as a food colouring. These days, they're typically served "naked"and unadorned. However, you can decorate them with a glace icing if you wish. It's fun way to keep your children happily, if a little messily, occupied.

This recipe is inspired by local cookbook author Sannie Smit. However, we've up the spice levels for more flavour. The original recipe calls for sweet wine which can be replaced with water. It makes a huge batch of biscuits, but the recipe halves perfectly if you don't want to make that many.


Makes: about 100-150 biscuits (depending on the size of the cutters used)


2 litres (8 cups) cake flour

5ml (1 tsp) salt

7.5ml (1 ½ tsp) bicarbonate of soda

10ml (2 tsp) cream of tartar

10ml (2 tsp) ground cloves

10ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon

15ml (1 tbsp) mixed spice

Finely grated rind of one orange or lemon

500ml (2 cups) sugar

250ml (1 cup) butter or baking margarine

2 large eggs

125ml-175ml (½-¾ cup) water or sweet wine


  1. Sift the dry ingredients and spices together.
  2. Add the citrus rind and sugar and mix well.
  3. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  4. Thoroughly beat the eggs and add to the dry ingredients with 30ml (2 tbsp) of the wine/water. Add the remaining liquid to give the dough a soft consistency that can be rolled out easily. If too dry, add extra water.
  5. Knead on a very lightly floured surface and then return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a cloth and allow to stand for an hour.
  6. Divide the dough into four and work with one piece of dough at a time. Roll out dough between two pieces of greaseproof paper to approximately ½ cm thickness. Traditionally soetkoekies are cut into rounds, but you can use the cookie cutters of your choice to cut out shapes.
  7. Place the biscuits onto a greased baking sheet about 2cm apart. Bake at 200°C for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the biscuits on rack to cool completely.
  8. Ice if desired and store in an airtight container.

How to make glace icing:

Sift one cup of icing sugar into a bowl. Slowly add 1 tbsp warm water, and a drop or two of food colouring if desired, and mix through. If the icing is too thick, add more water, 1 tsp at a time, until the desired consistency is achieved.

• From gripping series to watch, to fun crafts to do with your children, we'll be adding a new activity to our “Life in Lockdown” series every day. Keep an eye on for tomorrow's installment.