South African Traditional Soetkoekies (Sweet Cookies)

Recipe by Zurie
READY IN: 1hr 5mins




  • Preheat oven to 380 deg F/180 deg Celsius.
  • Grease cookie tins.
  • (** The story of the fat: we can always buy raw pork or mutton fat from a butcher or supermarket butchery dept. To render, cut this fat into small cubes, put (in batches) in a heavy-bottomed pot, and leave over low heat for the fat to "melt out". Pour off the fat at frequent intervals into a container, to prevent the fat browning in the pot. Do this before you start baking, and save the fat in the fridge in a closed container).
  • In a large container mix very well: the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and all the spices.
  • Rub in the butter and Crisco or fat with your fingers and palms until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Whisk the eggs, add just 1/2 cup sweet wine to the eggs, then stir into the dry mixture.
  • Stir this in well, and if still too dry to form a dough, add more of the sweet wine to form a fairly stiff dough.
  • The dough is easy to handle and can be kneaded at this stage to mix well and to form a dough you can roll out.
  • Roll out thinly, in batches, on a floured surface. Keep gathering up the unused dough, press together, and roll out again.
  • Make sure your oven grid is in the centre of the oven, as cookies burn easily on the bottom, especially if you use dark tins.
  • Press out large round cookies, carefully place on the greased tins, and bake in batches in the preheated oven.
  • Check cookies after 5 minutes; don't let them burn. Cooking time depends on your oven and size of cookies, but is generally about 7 minutes.
  • Remove with an egg-lifter, and let them cool and harden on wire racks. Store in airtight tins.
  • The amount given below is a guess: any smaller and you will get up to 130 cookies or more. The cooking time is based roughly on the several batches you will have to cook.
  • Can be made weeks before using.
  • Although I give an approximately number of cookies, it will depend on your cookie cutter. A smaller cookie cutter will yield up to 130 or more cookies.