Crunchie Recipe a healthy version

South African Crunchies – a healthy version

This fabulous healthy version of South African crunchies is the creation of Anje van der Merwe who based it on our traditional family crunchy recipe.  I always say ‘If you love it, share it’.  And we are loving this healthy version. Thank you for sharing Anje  it is a great  alternative.

South African Crunchie recipe

Anje sent me this recipe a few months back, and I have been meaning to make these healthy crunchies earlier, but life happens and circumstances make it impossible to do everything at once, so finally I have got around to baking them and sharing with you.  Making this a proudly South African post, I have added these beautiful  indigenous Proteas which are  in full bloom in South Africa at the moment.

Healthy Version Crunchie recipe

Anje has used less butter, less sugar and honey, and sweetened them with mashed bananas, which also binds them beautifully.  I used an unrefined brown Muscovado sugar which has a strong molasses flavour, just to make it healthier, but you can use white or brown sugar. If you prefer softer crunchies then pack your mixture thicker in the baking pan.  Use a larger pan and spread the mixture out if you prefer thinner, crispier biscuits.

In this recipe the traditional coconut in the crunchies is replaced with toasted sesame seeds, which gives them a wonderful nutty flavour.  The easiest way to toast sesame seeds, is to dry fry in a pan, they will pop and jump when they are toasting, so toss them often.  The lovely smell of  toasting sesame seeds makes these an absolute winner.

South African crunchies and proteas

Proteas and Healthy Crunchie biscuits

For a Traditional Crunchy try my mother’s recipe here . Not as healthy, but delicious non the less.

South African indigenous proteas

4.25 from 4 votes
South African Crunchie recipe
Healthy South African Crunchies
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
Course: Baking
Cuisine: South African
Author: Anje van der Merwe for Shades of Cinnamon
  • 1 cup of cake flour
  • 2 cups of oats
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon honey or syrup
  • 100 g butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar (to make it healthier use Muscovada sugar or brown)
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds (I just put them in a dry pan over a high heat or you can do them in the over for about 5min)
  • 2-3 mashed bananas (2 if large and 3 if small)
  1. Preheat oven to 180ºC/360ºF.
  2. Combine dry ingredients except for bicarbonate of soda
  3. Melt the butter and honey, when it starts bubbling add the bicarb and pour over dry mixture
  4. Add mashed banana and mix well
  5. Press into greased oven proof dish 8"x8"(20cm) for thick softer crunchies and a larger one for thinner ones. Press down using the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake for 15 min at 180, reduce heat to 160 and bake for another 10 to 15 mins.
  7. Remove from the oven and cut into squares while still hot (if you wait till they are cool you won't be able to cut them)
  8. Let them cool in the tin before removing


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  • Reply ratna April 19, 2017 at 6:08 PM

    I love your picking up a flower and do the post around it, so pretty. I have only seen Proteas sometimes at the florists. Gorgeous shots! Thanks for sharing Ev.

    • Reply Shades of Cinnamon April 19, 2017 at 7:33 PM

      Thanks Ratna. It is amazing what we take for granted. Proteas are just another flower to us here in South Africa. They are pretty spectacular though and they last for such a long time in a vase as well. I hope Spring is in the air for you and that it is warming up a little. Have a great week. xxx

  • Reply Sonia van der Riet April 19, 2017 at 7:37 PM

    Such lovely images and a beautiful tribute to South Africa. We have so many wonderful flowers and a diverse range of good food. Thank you for showcasing this colorful country of ours

    • Reply Shades of Cinnamon April 19, 2017 at 7:39 PM

      Thank you so much Sonia – I agree this is a beautiful country

  • Reply Petra Ellis April 19, 2017 at 7:43 PM

    I like the idea of sesame seeds. Will be trying this healthy option. Thank you

  • Reply Inga April 19, 2017 at 7:44 PM

    What beautiful flowers. I wish they were available here in Sweden

  • Reply jessi April 24, 2017 at 7:31 PM

    Love those beautiful flowers and the great recipe you gave us. Your images are amazing. Thank you for sharing it with us:)

    • Reply Shades of Cinnamon April 24, 2017 at 10:01 PM

      Thank you Jessi, I am so glad you enjoyed this post and my images. Have a beautiful week xxx

  • Reply Tracey April 24, 2017 at 10:04 PM

    Stunning proteas And images

  • Reply Ruby & Cake April 25, 2017 at 10:32 AM

    Thank you for sharing this gorgeous post Ev! Such beautiful blooms! I never knew they were indigenous to South Africa, we have them growing in our garden in Australia 🙂

    • Reply Shades of Cinnamon April 25, 2017 at 10:39 AM

      Australia and South Africa seem to share so many gorgeous flowers. Whenever I am in Australia I always comment on that and we both have such similar climates and beautiful weather it makes sense. Have a great week Ruby. xxx

  • Reply Blythe April 26, 2017 at 1:01 PM

    I have just made these and they were great. Thank you

  • Reply Eden September 21, 2021 at 1:29 PM

    Absolutely delicious! My family loved it? Finished the whole batch in 2 hours. I used 0.25 cup of ground nuts and 0.25 cup of a mix of chia and flax seeds instead of the 0.5 cups of sesame seeds. I used 3 bananas and a little less sugar than what you had prescribed because I didn’t want it to be too sweet. Will definitely make it again.

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