My paternal grandmother Betty Linsell was well known for her cooking and baking skills. Regrettably, she died when I was quite young, so I have few memories of these skills at work, but one recipe that conjures up childhood memories of being in my grandparents Johannesburg home, is crunchies.

my grandmother Betty

This particular recipe which was Betty’s has been feeding four generations of Linsell’s and has stood the test of time.

My stepmother Marie Linsell, herself a legendary baker, makes these crunchies on a very regular basis and they always remind me of home.

My older sister Liz, who is not much of a baker but loves crunchies, has this recipe firmly entrenched in her repertoire.

As I am on a baking mission to unearth, discover and divulge the best version of a variety of baked goods that I love, this recipe is the best one for crunchies that I have come across.

my grandmother betty’s crunchie recipe: its a legend

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

my grandmother betty’s crunchie recipe: its a legend

Ingredients

  • 230gms butter
  • 1Tbs golden syrup
  • 2 cups of oats
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1 cup coconut
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda

Instructions

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees c
  2. Mix the flour, oats and coconut in a bowl
  3. Melt the butter in a small pot and then add the syrup and sugar and heat
  4. When the butter is bubbling add the bicarb and stir through and remove from the heat
  5. Pour the butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir together by hand
  6. Using the back of a metal spoon, gently press the crunchie mixture into a greased or lines baking tray (aprox 30cm x 20cm or similar depending on how thick you like the crunchies)
  7. Bake for 15 minutes at 180 C, then turn the oven down to 160 C and bake for a further 10 minutes until golden brown
  8. Allow to cool in the pan before slicing.
http://drizzleanddip.com/2010/10/25/my-grandmother-bettys-crunchie-recipe-its-a-legend/
out the oven and cooling

My grandmother Betty's legendary crunchies

PS: I look forward to connecting with you again in the future.

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131 Comments

  1. Lunchboxes or coffee table, these cookies are always welcome in my house. Lovely pic of your gran!!

  2. Jean Turner Chapman

    This recipe is actually the mixture for Anzac biscuits. These are an Australian institution and were originally sent from Australia and New Zealand to troops in the First World War. They were baked very crisp and sent in sealed tins because they lasted well.

    They are crunchier if you roll them in balls about the size of a small walnut and then flatten them with a fork dipped in flour. they need to be well spaced as they do spread quite a bit. In a slab as you have shown they are much chewier.

    Maybe the recipe was picked up from there to South Africa.

    cheers

    Jean

  3. oh these sound so yummy, thanks for sharing. i wanted to find another recipe that uses golden syrup since we don’t really use it in the US.

  4. Hi Jean
    I had heard that the crunchie is similar to the Anzac, and I do love the idea of making them into individual biscuits that are crunchier. I love texture!. I have no knowledge as to where my gran got the recipe from, but these tray crunchies are a very typical South African baked treat.
    Sam

  5. Nice pic of Betty, I can see my mum in her!
    I think I’m going to make a batch tonight! xxxx

  6. I love these cruckies, they bring back so many childhood memories 🙂 I recently won a ‘bake-off’ at work with this recipe :-p

  7. Kathy, I can also see so much of my dad in Betty? and your mom. Enjoy the crunchies! I’m sure my favourite cousin in law will be very happy. S xx

  8. I think the recipes handed down from generation to generation are the most valuable. The crunchies look delicious and fast enough to make if friends are coming over!

  9. Actually we can get Lyall’s Golden Syrup in the USA. Go to World Market or the high end grocery stores. I get mine at Whole Foods here in California.

  10. Nenny Visser

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I made it for my grandchildren and they loved the cookies. Maybe this will become a recipe for life in our family. Love from a granny in the Netherlands. Nenny

  11. Hi Nenny, I am so pleased you liked and were enjoyed by your grandchildren. Made my day! sam

  12. hello i just read your recipe and think it sounds great i will bake them asap . i love looking for homemade biscuits and recipes . can one double the amount used when making the mix ?

  13. Hi Wilhelm
    Absolutely you can double the recipe – just use a bigger baking tray. Remember the thinner the crunchier, the thicker the longer to bake and the chewier.
    enjoy! it is seriously a winning recipe.

  14. this guy that i know his name is mike and he can NOT cook
    so i had to help and im 15 he is 47

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  16. sara stuart

    iI love how you’ve done it and the pics. It worked perfectly for my 8 year old to make.

    Interesting origin of the crunchie from being carried in saddle bags in the 1800’s made with treacle to our modern day version.

    I think we like both versions the Crunchie from Africa or the Anzac biscuit from Australia/ New Zealand.

  17. Sam

    Hi Sara, thanks for the comment. I too love the Anzac biscuit, its a little crunchier. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do as a family.
    Cheers
    Sam

  18. Lucienne

    These are the best crunchies that i have EVER tasted! I made them with Nature’s Source Muesli Crunch and Muscavado sugar. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  19. Sam

    Hi Lucienne, I know, what a winner of a recipe and also one of my most successful posts. Its a legend in our family and sounds like it will become one in yours too. This is the best part about blogging for me. The sharing.
    Sam 🙂

  20. Pingback: Oats too easy to make a crunchie « crumblyplum

  21. I was wondering what quantity this recipe makes roughly? how many decent size crunchies could you get out of it? roughly the size: 6cm x 6cm

  22. Sam

    Hi Muffy, you would get 12 good size crunchies from this batch or a few more smaller ones. It really depends how big a pan. I bigger, flatter pan makes thinner crispier ones, and a small pan with thicker crunchies makes slightly chewier. Enjoy!

  23. This is such an adaptable recipe however mine has 250g of butter (stork bake marg) and two cups of flour. Here are some variations – chopped cranberry and pecan or dried apricots and almonds, raisins, sunflower seeds, linseeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds. I have found the best way is to just mix a whole bunch of ingredients together (oats included) and use two cups as the recipe suggests to replace the oats. You can also add choc bitz cereal or muesli and add a couple of tbls of peanut butter to the melted mix. PS! Date and Pecan didn’t work that well

  24. Sam

    Awesome Janet thanks for the message and some lovely ideas (although margarine is a swear word in my house) – but I am keen to try with cranberries and chocolate chips.

  25. I bake them for friends in the UK, but get upset when they call them flapjacks. When I explain that they are called Crunchies, this causes more confusion, as the preferred bake in our house is soft and chewy. I get asked why they are called Crunchies when they are not! I now have requests to sell them to friends and school fairs. Please help with a descriptive name – “Oat squares”, “Oaties”. Any ideas?

  26. Sam

    Hi Sue. In South Africa they are traditional crunchies, in Australia they are similar to their ‘Anzac biscuits. Everywhere outside of the United States they would be biscuits of sorts. In they USA they would be bars, probably crunchy oat bars. Maybe crunchy oat biscuits, oat biscuits, oat biscuit bars. Also if you bake them slightly thinner and until they are very golden they are in fact very crunchy 🙂

  27. Hi, i have them in the oven now 😉 im going to see how the sell in my shop in Spain 😉 i Will call them betty’s crunchie biscuits so just hope They like them xx thanks

  28. Sam

    Hi Laura, how exciting – you have totally made my day with this comment. I know they are going to love them (although might be a bit unfamiliar in Spain). Please do let me know how it all goes.
    Sam 🙂

  29. Have baked these from this exact recipe maybe 10 times in the past 6 months. My girlfriend is addicted and just sent me a whatsapp message asking when she is getting a hit again 🙂 [This usually means boy you have 48 hours and your time starts now!]

    Simple recipe and each and every batch is perfect every single time. Needless to say these crunchies are scoring me major brownie points lol.

  30. Sam

    Oh wow Riaan that is so wonderful that you bake these for your girlfriend (lucky girl). Thanks for dropping by to share that and may you carry on enjoying the recipe for years to come.

  31. Hi Sam, well every time im make these i make a double batch so the first double batch lasted me all of two days as i wanted to give tasters n share the idea with everyone….so then i made another which lasted a day and a half (double batch remember) so Now im on my third double batch n im sure they Will be gone before the day is through 😉 thank goodnees They are easy to make!!! Its got everybody talking….n my hubby is very happy with them too, so thank you and Ouma Betty 😉

  32. Sam

    Hi Laura, that is so lovely. I am glad they are working out for you. I guess a classic recipe, is a classic recipe.

  33. Such a coincidence that I came across this recipe today! My daughter asked me yesterday if we have a recipe for Crunchies, and I told her that I’m sure there must be one in one (or more) of the many recipe books we own. However, we didn’t get the time to look for the recipe. This one looks delicious so we’re going to try it later. Thank you!!

  34. Sam

    Great Janice, thanks for the comment and I am sure you will not be disappointed. This is one of the most popular recipes on my blog.

  35. These look awesome. I have not had crunchies in ages (I think since a school bake sale). I am going to give them a try.

  36. Thanks for this recipe, I just made it now and it was easy, quick, and DELICIOUS! 🙂

  37. This is one of a compilation of recipes sold as a fundraiser for animals in distress in South Africa. The book is pre 1940’s from the RSPDCA cook book (now known as SPCA), and was handed from my Gran to my Mom. My brother and I baked crunchies together in our youth as a special treat in winter, and now passing this delicious tradition on to my own kids.

  38. Sam

    Hi Cathy, How interesting to hear about the origin of this recipe. I have found similar widely on the internet too. I wish my grandmother was alive so that I could find out where she got it from.
    Anyway, I’m pleased its such a successful recipe, and I am so happy I could have shared this.

  39. Im so making theses crunchies tonight 😀
    I always feel like having a sweet nibbley after supper & Im sure the crunchies will do the trick!!!
    Had a quick squize @ your other recipes & will definitley be back to try a few !!!

  40. Sam

    Hi Este, I SO know what you mean on the after supper-nibble thing. These are perfect for that. Some of the guilt can be offset by the healthy oats in the recipe 🙂

  41. Sam

    Awesome Richard that’s such good news. Best you go and bake another bash to fill up the cookie jar 🙂

  42. Hi,am definitly going to try this receipe.love crunchies.can i adapt this receipe so that it is ok for my diabetic son to also enjoy.any suggustions welcome.

  43. Sam

    Its a pleasure Micah and glad you enjoyed!

  44. Just made these and they are delish! The perfect mix of chewy and crunchy and not too sweet. I don’t foresee them lasting too long! The boyfriend has just devoured 4!

  45. Sam

    Hi Meridy that’s awesome and thanks for letting me know 🙂

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  47. Mariette

    So greatful for your ouma Betty and her recipe. My kids are almost out of the lunchbox stage and I have tried to bake the perfect Crunchie now for so long. At last! Luckily its harvest time in South Africa now and I can bake these delicious morsels for the night staff. The recipe is already save and sound glued in my Best of the best Cookbook

  48. Just made these and they have just come out of the oven and the house smells amazing 🙂 Just checking though, when I took them out, is the crunchie mixture supposed to be slightly soft to touch as you press down? I am assuming as it cools it set more? Family are really looking forward to eating them when they finally cool, I unfortunatly don’t like coconut or oats 🙁

  49. Sam

    Hi, they can be softer or crunchy depending on the size of the pan and length of baking time. The thicker they are, the more chewy. Both are nice but I prefer slightly thinner and crispier ones. I also don’t enjoy coconut, but don’t notice it too much in these.

  50. Sagryda Bristow

    Hi,
    Is this recipe diabetic friendly, or how can I adapt it to be suitable for diabetics ?
    Thank you

  51. Sam

    Hi Sagryda, Given the amount of sugar, I would say this is very diabetic un-friendly. I’m afraid I would not know how to adapt it.

  52. I have a 3 year old daughter who is allergic to peanuts and nuts so I often have to make things from scratch. I have made your granny’s crunchies on numerous occasions and have substituted the coconut for linseeds which works perfectly. My daughter loves them and so do we. Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. It is definitely one which we use time and time again!

  53. Sam

    HI Corrina, I am so glad you have managed to adapt the recipe to suit your needs. It really is a great base recipe form which to play around and add other things.
    best
    Sam

  54. The recipe looks fabulous, Sam! I am hankering after some of the childhood treats I grew up with. Crunchies are on the top of the list, and I want to make some for my boys’ lunch boxes. Here in the USA it is virtually impossible to find unsweetened desiccated coconut though. I wonder whether using the moist, sweetened coconut here will make a huge difference to the recipe?

  55. Sam

    Hi Sumi, I don’t think it will be ok to replace with the sweetened moist coconut. I really didn’t know it was difficult to fin d in the US of A.
    Could you find a way to dry it out and grind it up? Desicated coconut is extremely dry.
    Sam

  56. libraschild

    Do I have to use the coconut? am sure the recipe we used to use at home didnt ahve it in as i hate dessicated coconut. but all the online recipes seem to use it!

  57. Sam

    HI Libraschild, Coconut is a key ingredient to this recipe, it wouldn’t be a crunchie without it. I hate dessicated coconut too, but don’t find it a problem in these crunchies. Why don’t you just avoid them and make something else that doesn’t use coconut?
    best
    Sam

  58. Love the addition of the handwritten recipe book in your photo. Instantly captures everything I feel when I look through recipe books handed down from my mom and aunts! Not my gran though. She loved her 10am brandy and Coke, but was not big on the cooking. I still miss her Bisto gravy though.

  59. Sam

    HI Liezl, I loved this, especially the 10am brandy and coke part 🙂

  60. oh my gosh, these are great! had about 45 mintues to make something and have been eyeing this recipe for a while. I added fresh strawberries and blueberries to the top to make it more of a statement desert for a family gathering! thanks so much, they are keepers!

  61. Great recipe!
    My family is South African (though we’ve lived in the US for 30 yrs now), and my mom used to make these but I couldn’t find her recipe so I was glad to find yours. I made your exactly as described (super), and then a few days ago made them again but with half the amount of butter and sugar and they still turned out great. I was afraid they’d fall apart with less of the wet/sticky ingredients, but they were fine–just pressed them well into the pan. My kids love love love these, and it was so nice to mail my dad a box of these for Father’s Day. He’ll be so surprised!

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  63. Karen Pulvirenti

    Made them twice now. It is such a great crunchie recipe.

  64. Sam

    Hi Karen – so glad you enjoy – they are pretty awesome 🙂

  65. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. I lost mine somehow years ago. Been making them for the past 60 years in our family that I know of. This exact recipe. Bless you.

  66. Sam

    So lovely to hear Bev, glad you have found the recipe again.

  67. Hallo food lover – Just to inform u , this facebook page is making use of your photo’s and recipes without any recognition … as if it their own. They are busy making an e book and cd with copy and paste recipes over the internet, and are using my recipes and selling it without any permission, I am in prosess of legal steps against them…
    Just to let u know…!!

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=540991319323877&set=pb.145121632244183.-2207520000.1386405820.&type=3&theater

    Greetings

    Hanlie

  68. Sam

    Thank you so much for letting me know Hanlie, I have reported the page to FB (they take this very seriously) – I will mail you separately.
    best
    sam

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  70. Kim Adie

    Fabulous. Thanks. I am having a debate with my partner about SA crunchies and UK flapjacks – SA crunchies are far nicer in my opinion. So, I am going to make a batch of SA crunchies, and a batch of UK flapjacks and we will have a “taste-off”. 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe and I just love the pic of your gran – elegant and happy!.

  71. Sam

    Thanks Kim – the two are very different – both very nice.

  72. Hester Stiller

    Thank you for sharing this excellent recipe, it has become a firm favourite in our family.

  73. Hi Sam. I don’t do blogs or FB in a big way but I love yours. We are on the edge of the desert at the end of the food delivery line in little old Swakopmund, Namibia. I feel inspired to cook every time I read one of your recipes. This is a super one and after many years of searching for the perfect SA crunchie, it feels lik I have come home. The family can’t get enough of them. Thanks for sharing your recipes and a little of that special Cape Town magic!
    Sven

  74. Sam

    Hi Sven – what a lovely comment thank you so much for sharing this story. It has totally made my day. This was my granny’s recipe and they really are the best crunchies Ive ever eaten. Im so thilled you enjoy them and my blog 🙂
    best
    Sam

  75. I made these over the weekend for a crunchie-loving friend and ended up making a batch for myself too. So good! Thanks for posting this recipe. I am going to try a batch with some seeds and raisins…I just wonder if it is technically still a crunchie?

  76. I was looking for a good oat crunchie recipe yesterday and came across your blog. I decided I couldn’t go wrong with this one after reading “it’s a legend”. All I can say is WOW. It was so hard not to pull them straight out of the oven and gobble them up partially cooked. They smelt so amazing. I used honey instead of syrup, added a teaspoon of vanilla essence and a pinch of salt. They really are a legend. You have a great blog. Thanks for the recipes. I’m going to be trying your coffee tequila ice-cream asap. – From someone also living in Cape Town.

  77. Sam

    Thanks for the awesome comment Ashley – so glad you enjoyed. I actually made 2 variations of this recipe last week and was reminded how lovely it is. A real keeper.

    best
    Sam

  78. Jane mennigke

    Great post! My first time baking crunchies ! I m sure this recipe is going to be great. I’ve already tasted the mixture which is yummy and it looks good.thanks!

  79. I made the crunchies three times but come out soft. y is this happening.

  80. Sam

    Hi Bianca. To make the crunchies crispier you will need to bake for long and orin abigger tray. The thinner they are the crunchier they will be. bake until golden brown. They can be crunchy on hte outside and a little chewy on the inside.

  81. Hello I am busy studying for my exam and procrastination comes about where I find myself making these crunchies at 4:30 in the morning and they smell delicious!

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  83. Absolutely delicious. .Thank you for sharing. I used honey instead of golden syrup and it turned out lovely.

  84. Sam

    Excellent Fatima, so glad you enjoyed.

  85. Sam

    Hi Shirley – Golden syrup is essentially flavoured corn syrup and an ingredient that is found in SA and England. I am not sure exactly what the American equivalent is? I know people have used honey instead.

  86. Yvette Mitchell

    Perfect recipe -Thank you !!!! I added sunflowerseed, pumpkin seeds and sesame too to give to all my Swiss neighbours

  87. Shona Poultney

    Thanks I used to made these years ago needed the refreshing

  88. Golden syrup is made from cane sugar, and is an inverted sugar syrup, healthier than corn syrup in that the brain actually recognizes the sugar. In corn syrup the brain does not, hence the insatiable desire for more! Honey does the job, as will corn syrup.
    These are great and a happy memory of my life in SA. Thanks for the personal sharing!

  89. Mmmm looks delicious, going to make it now, I’ll add a pinch of cinnamon because I like that flavour. Thank you

  90. Jean Lambert

    Hi there… did you use the light brown sugar or the treacle sugar in South Africa?

  91. Sam

    Hi Jean, yes, just light brown sugar, but you could als0 use white sugar or treacle.

  92. I tried this recipe and used the treacle sugar. It was amazing! I love baking with treacle sugar. Rich and buttery. Perfect.

  93. enjoyed putting this together. does your grandmother have a Melktart recipe. thank you so much for sharing this recipe the 3 wee ones are going to enjoy these crunchies. Lynn

  94. Sam

    HI Lynn, I will have to ask hte aunts as they have my paternal grandmothers cookbooks.

  95. Karen Michalowsky

    This is truly the best ever crunchie recipe, I added a packet of Sainsbury’s mixed nuts, 200g packet and roughly chopped them in. The base recipe is so good that it seems to allow for creativity in ringing a few changes. We had the first batch as “Padkos” on a day trip to Bournemouth on a lovely spring day. Thanks Sam!

  96. Sam

    HI Karen, Im so glad you enjoyed than and I agree, its a great recipe to adapt. Im actually working on doing a big adaptaion on it soon.

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  98. Best crunchie recipe on the interwebs! Thanks Sam’s gran – my son and I make these together and they’re just how we like them.

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  100. Colin Houzet

    I’m in Wales, and they are baking as I type.. I grew up in South Africa and would pester my mom to make these.. I know my family will love them. Thanks for the recipe!!!

  101. Sam

    Thanks for letting me know Colin, that is so lovely to hear. I know you will all love them.

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  103. Hi Sam, thanks so much for this recipe, I make them often as they are my husband’s favourite, best crunchies we’ve ever tasted and we live in South Africa 🙂

  104. Sam

    Hi Lindy, thats awesome Im so glad to hear you like them.

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  106. Alison McKenna

    Fabulous recipe ~ have made them so many times, and everybody loves them.

  107. Sam

    HI, Alison – I’m so glad you enjoy them and thanks for letting me know.

  108. This recipe is exactly the same as ANZAC biscuit recipe that is from Australia and was made for Australian and New Zealand Army soldiers during the war.

  109. Sam

    HI Bronwyn, the SA crunchie is very similar to the Australian Anzac biscuit but gets made in a bar. The Anzac is firmer and has a slightly different texture.

  110. These crunchies are delish. I like them a little chewy…not too baked/crunchy, and they were perfect! I’m going to try just a little less butter next time and see if there’s much difference.

  111. Sam

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the crunchies Loridsa 🙂

  112. Hello from California, Sam! My family and I just got back from our first trip to South Africa. We so loved the country, the people, and we cannot wait to return. We were served crunchies on safari and everyone one was crazy about them. Thank goodness I found your recipe. These taste just like the “crunchies” we had, and they are delicious!! My husband is eating them all, (he even the found the ones I hid in the freezer), so I’m about to make a second batch. For US cooks, I thought I would share that I used a 9×13 baking dish, and I baked them at 350F (180C) for 15 minutes, lowered the heat to 320 (160C) for 10. When they cooled they weren’t quite crunchy enough, so I put them back in the oven at 300F for an additional 10 minutes and they were perfect. Many thanks to you and Grandma Betty!!

  113. Sam

    Thanks for the comment and tips Beth for American (nonmetric) peeps. I’m so glad you like the recipe, it really is quite a winner and so easy to make once you settle on your pan and final technique. I also like them a bit crunchier vs chewier.

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