Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Low-FODMAP, Paleo, Vegetarian
Rusks were one of the first tasty treats I was introduced to in South Africa. The impossibly hard, crunchy and crumbly, sweet little cookie-like biscuits, similar to biscotti, paired beautifully with rooibos tea or coffee and softened when dunked. I sure ate my fill of them! While buttermilk rusks are the standard version, you can find all different types of rusks in the stores. My favorites were muesli, or heath, rusks since they had nuts, seeds, and dried fruit in them.
During my time in South Africa, I began to deal with GI issues. It eventually meant that traditional wheat rusks were off the table. After returning from South Africa I was determined to create a grain-free, dairy-free “muesli” version, so I could still enjoy them in the mornings with my tea or coffee. Here is my version! Placing the rusks on a baking tray in a warm oven for 6+ hours helps to dehydrate them, so they become hard and crunchy. Leave me a note to tell me what you think!
Makes: 2 bread loaves = ~80 rusks
Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 45 mins (loaves) + 6 hours (rusks)
Equipment: two mixing bowls, food processor, hand mixer, two 8 x 4 x 2.5 inch bread pans, baking sheet
- Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). In a food processor, add the raw nuts and seeds and process using the chop setting until coarsely chopped, not powdered. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the chopped nuts and the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix together with a fork. Set aside.
- ½ cup raw nuts
- ¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup ground flaxseed meal
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- 1 cup almond meal
- 1 cup of raisins, currants, dried cranberries or cherries
- 3 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- Using a hand mixer, beat the eggs, coconut milk, coconut oil, and maple syrup in a large mixing bowl on high for about 30 seconds. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients while mixing continuously on low speed until a thick sticky, well-uniformed dough has formed. Scrap down the side of the bowl with a spatula and mix again for several seconds if needed.
- 4 organic eggs
- 1 can of coconut milk
- ½ cup coconut oil (or vegan butter), melted
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- Grease the bread pans with a bit of coconut oil. Divide the dough in half and add evenly to two bread pans. Bake for 45 minutes until golden and firm in the center. Poke a toothpick or sharp knife into the center to test if the center has baked through. Use a butter knife to slide around the edges of the pan and loosen the loaf. Then move the pans to a cooling rack and let them sit for 10 minutes. Once slightly cooled, slide the bread loaves out of the pan and allow them to cool completely on the wire rack.
- Reset the oven temperature to 200°F (93°C). Using a serrated bread knife, cut the bread into 3/4 inch-thick slices (about 10). Then cut each slice into 4 equal pieces, lengthwise then crosswise. Continue until both loaves have been cut into 1 x 2 x 3/4 inch rectangles. Arrange the rusks on a baking tray and place them in the oven to dry for 6 – 7 hours, or overnight. Halfway through, flip the rusks over. Once the rusks are hard, crunchy, and crumbly they’re done! Enjoy them with your morning coffee or tea. Or just snack on them like I do!
Tip: If you don’t have two of the same-sized bread pans, cook one loaf first with half of the dough and then the second one. Make sure to wipe out and regrease the bread pan before adding the rest of the dough. Bake each loaf for only 40 mins total. Don’t try to bake all the bread dough in one large bread pan or it won’t bake properly. You’ll get a burnt crust and a soggy interior.
Serving Suggestion: Rusks are traditionally served with rooibos tea!
Related Recipe: South African Tofu Bobotie