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In the recipe book, The Cookie Jar, the author gives Heritage Day baking ideas with recipes inspired by home-grown goodness.

Banana wholewheat rusks

Yield: 15 – Preparation time: 5 minutes – Baking time: 50 minutes, plus 3–6 hours drying time


  • 500ml whole-wheat flour
  • 30ml ground flaxseeds
  • 5ml ground cinnamon
  • 1ml salt
  • 2,5ml bicarbonate of soda
  • 5ml baking powder
  • 80ml brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125ml buttermilk
  • 10ml vanilla essence
  • 3 bananas, mashed


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and grease a large loaf tin.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients, including the mashed bananas, and mix until a smooth batter forms.
  3. Pour the batter into the greased tin and bake for about 50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean and the top and edges are a dark brown.
  4. Let it cool slightly in the tin before turning out and slicing the rusk slab into individual rusks with a serrated knife.
  5. Turn down the oven to 100ºC.
  6. Place the rusks on a baking tray and dry them in the oven. It helps to keep the oven door propped open a bit to let the moisture escape. The drying should take 3–6 hours, depending on how hot your oven is and how thinly sliced the rusks are.

Rooibos tea biscuits

Yield: 20 – Preparation time: 20 minutes, plus 50 minutes chilling time – Baking time: 12 minutes


  • 30ml rooibos tea leaves (from about 3 tea bags)
  • 250ml butter
  • 160ml icing sugar, sifted
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • scraped seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • 440ml cake flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  2. Pulse the rooibos tea leaves in a food processor to a fine powder. In an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and icing sugar. Add the vanilla essence, vanilla seeds and ground rooibos tea.
  3. Sift in the flour and mix until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Roll out the dough to about 6mm thick between two sheets of baking paper.
  4. Cut out desired shapes with cookie cutters and place on the lined baking trays. Cover the trays with cling film and chill the cut cookies for at least 20 minutes before baking.
  5. Bake the cookies for about 12 minutes or until the edges are just barely brown. Cool on wire racks.

Jammy heart biscuits

Yield: 25 – Preparation time: 5 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling time – Baking time: 16 minutes


  • 200g butter
  • 100g icing sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5ml vanilla essence
  • 250g cake flour
  • icing sugar, for dusting
  • 100ml jam of choice


  1. Cream the butter and icing sugar, then beat in the salt, egg yolks and vanilla essence. Sift in the flour and beat until the mixture forms a dough. Be careful not to overmix the dough at any stage. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  2. Roll out the dough between two sheets of lightly floured baking paper and refrigerate for 20 minutes to firm up the rolled dough once again.
  3. Line two baking trays with baking paper.
  4. With a lightly floured 5cm round cookie cutter, cut out circles of dough and place them on the lined baking trays. Roll out the dough offcuts (refrigerating again if necessary) and cut out more biscuits, repeating until all the dough has been used. Cut a heart shape out of the centre of half of the biscuits. You can reroll the heart cut-outs to make more rounds. Chill the shaped biscuits for about 30 minutes to firm up once more.
  5. Preheat the oven to 160ºC and bake the biscuits for 14–16 minutes until they are a light golden brown. If they spread slightly and lose their shape, just recut them as they come out of the oven, while they are still warm. Allow to cool on a wire rack and then dust the rounds with icing sugar, using the heart cut-out.
  6. Heat the jam on the stove or in the microwave so that it becomes spreadable.
  7. To assemble, sandwich together a whole round and a heart cut-out round with jam. Repeat with the remaining biscuits.

Curried crackers

Yield: 24 – Preparation time: 20 minutes – Baking time: 15 minutes


  • 120g cake flour
  • 1ml salt
  • 10ml curry powder
  • 1ml cayenne pepper
  • 10ml ground coriander seeds
  • 60ml water


  1. Sift together the flour, salt, curry powder, coriander and cayenne pepper. Work in the water with a palette knife, and then bring the dough together by hand.
  2. Lightly knead the dough on a floured surface, then cover it with the upturned mixing bowl and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  4. Roll the dough into a long log and cut it into about 24 pieces. Roll the pieces into little balls and then roll out the balls thinly on a floured surface.
  5. Place the crackers on the lined baking trays and bake for about 15 minutes until crisp. Leave to cool on the trays before serving with a yoghurt and herb dip.

About the book

The Cookie Jar is a collection of 100 recipes for biscuits, cookies and rusks, written by Lisa Clark specifically for the home baker. The recipes have been thoroughly tried and tested and will please anyone who wants to bake their own biscuits for their cookie jar. Best of all, you don’t need to be an experienced baker to achieve success with these recipes. They are easy to follow and use everyday ingredients. The Cookie Jar will take you back to the days when baking was therapeutic and an important part of life. The book is also available in Afrikaans: Die Koekiefles. The book is published by Penguin Random House South Africa and is available at a recommended retail price of R200.

Lisa Clark