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Recipe of the Quarter: Soetkoekies - Sweet Wine and Spice Cookies from South Africa


Yield: Approximately 30 two inch cookies


  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 -2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • cooking spray
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup port wine (or Madeira or a sweet sherry)
  • 1/2 cup blanched almonds, finely chopped
  • 15 whole blanched almonds, split lengthwise into halves
  • 1 egg white, combined with 2 teaspoons of water and beaten to a froth


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray two baking sheets with cooking spray. Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt together and set aside. In a deep bowl, cream the butter and the dark-brown sugar together, mashing and beating them against the sides of the bowl until they are thoroughly blended. Beat in the egg, then add the flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. Beat in the wine and chopped almonds.
  2. With your hands, vigorously knead the dough in the bowl until it can be gathered into a somewhat firm, compact ball. If the dough then seems too soft, knead in up to 1/4 cup more flour, adding it a tablespoon or so at a time.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rough circle about 1/4 inch thick. With a cookie cutter or the rim of a glass, cut it into 2-inch rounds. Arrange the rounds about 1 inch apart on the buttered baking sheets. Then gather the scraps of dough into a ball, roll it out into another circle, and cut out rounds as before.
  4. Press a blanched almond half lightly into the center of each Soetkoekie and brush the entire top surface of the cookie with the beaten egg white-and-water mixture. Bake the cookies in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes, or until they are crisp and firm to the touch. With a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a rack to cool. The cookies will keep for up to two weeks in a tightly covered jar

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