After all these years, the koeksister – in all her glory – has found a home in my recipe library. You’ll find her at (almost) every supermarket, tuisnywerheid, and padstal in the country, and every time you’ll find a slight tweak or quirk. I’ve made koeksisters so many times that I’ve lost count, but every time I’ve refined the recipe somewhat until I’ve found the perfect balance of sugar and spice. It is, of course, a matter of opinion, but why not try this recipe and let me know what you think?


TIME: 3 hrs plus syrup overnight | SERVES: makes about 30 – depending on size


for the syrup
800 g (1000 ml) sugar

625 ml water

2 cinnamon sticks

1 large piece 6 cm fresh ginger

for the koeksisters
500 g (890 ml) cake flour

2,5 ml salt

20 ml baking powder

75 g (80 ml) butter, cubed

15 ml sugar

2 eggs, beaten

250 ml cold water

cooking oil for deep frying



for the syrup

Start with your syrup the day before you want to bake the koeksisters. Place the sugar and water in a large saucepan and place on a low heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved then add the cinnamon and ginger. Let the sauce simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. Take off the heat and let it cool. Place in the fridge overnight.


for the koeksisters

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in mixing bowl. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add the sugar.

Beat the eggs and water together and add to the dry ingredients. The secret to good koeksisters is to knead the dough on a floured surface until small blisters begin to form (about 20 minutes). Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.

On a floured surface, roll the dough out (about 0,5 cm thick). Cut out the dough 4 x 7 cm.

The Three Sisters

The Franse Vlegsel Sister

If you want to plait your koeksister the traditional way, cut each piece of dough into 3 fingers, but not all the way through. According to the experts each koeksister should be plaited only 3 times.

The Modest Sister

You can also make a slit in the centre of each piece of rolled dough and push the top part through the centre.

The Twisted Sister

The last and easiest one is to cut the into 2 fingers and then twist the two fingers around.

Heat the oil to 180 °C. Fry 2 koeksisters at a time – it should take about 1 – 2 minutes to fry. Divide the syrup into 2 bowls. Place one bowl onto another bowl of ice. Lift the koeksisters out of the oil and place immediately into the cold syrup. Push the koeksisters down into the syrup.

Take out and put the koeksister on a cooling rack on top of a baking tray. Once cool, store your koeksisters in the freezer, not the fridge – or else they will turn soggy.