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Rusks (South Africa)

2 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups whole wheat bread flour (coarsely ground if possible)
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp pure almond extract

Preheat oven to 400 F. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix the
dry ingredients. Combine all the wet ingredients, pour them into
the dry ingredients, and stir until you have a soft dough, similar
to biscuit dough. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and
roll or pat it to about a 1/2 inch thickness. Cut the dough into
rectangles about 2 by 4 inches. Bake the rusks about 2 inches
apart on buttered baking sheet for about 25 minutes until the tops
are crisping and browning a little. Now, eat a few "soft" rusks
warm >from the oven. Loosely pile the rusks on a baking sheet
and keep them in a 200 F oven all day or all night (about 12 hours)
to dry. The finished rusks should be very dry and hard. Cool and
store in an airtight container. Rusks will keep for weeks.


Oatmeal-Raisin Rusks: Reduce the white flour to 1 1/2 cups and
add 2 cups rolled oats and 1/2 cup currants or chopped raisins.

Almond Rusks: Add 1 cup chopped almonds and omit the cinnamon.

Peanut Rusks: Add 1 cup coarsely chopped peanuts.

Anise Rusks: Omit the cinnamon and almond extract and add 2 tsp
pure anise extract or 1 Tbsp anisette.

Note: Rusks are hard, very dry biscuits, originally prepared in
South Africa by the Dutch for traveling long distances in a hot
climate. Rusks were a bread that wouldn't spoil. Now, all over
South Africa, rusks are eaten as snacks, dipped in coffee, tea, or
milk. In the cities, many different varieties of commercially
baked rusks are available. There are raisin, chocolate chip,
almond, peanut, and probably soon, oat-bran rusks.


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