A koeksister or koesister comes from the Dutch word koekje, the diminutive of koek meaning “cake”. It is a South African syrup-coated doughnut in a twisted or braided shape (like a plait). It is prepared by deep-frying dough in oil, then dipping the fried dough into cold sugar syrup. They are best eaten cold, koeksisters are very sticky and sweet and taste like honey.

Koeksisters are of the Cape Malay origin. The Afrikaner version is much more syrupy and crisp while the Cape Malay version’s texture is more like that of a cake, spicier, and usually covered in dried coconut. There is also a difference in spelling, the latter generally referred to as koesister. (souced from Wikipedia)

I make miniature versions of a recipe that can be found here.


“Mom, please make me some koeksisters.”

I was busy proofreading and said no. My deadline was very flexible, so it would have been no great shakes to stop a while and fufil my child’s request.

She went to bed sad. I poured a glass of wine and went and curled up on the couch to watch TV. Five minutes into the programme there was a commercial break and this advert screened:

I switched the TV off and went into my kitchen. There would be koeksisters in her lunchbox for school in the morning. How I regretted that wasted moment; we could have made them together …we could have shared that sacred passing on of a secret family recipe and the divine sisterhood of a love of cooking.

“Time! the corrector when our judgments err.” Lord Byron



  1. This could bring a tear to the eye of almost every poet I know…and I know myself best….time with your children should never be wasted….cheers my friend and good night.

  2. Well I have no idea what the video is because I am sure it might make me cry so I won’t dare watch it. I went to my son’s house last night to see the new baby and I took a ready made graham cracker pie crust and a box of pudding mix. I know, I know, so lame. As my son has become quite handy in the kitchen I asked him if he wanted to make the pie. He sure did not he said as he had been working and doing all of the wifely duties also! Ok, ok. He asked if I wanted to make it. I said no, not really, that’s why I brought it over here. Then jokingly he asked his wife if she wanted to make it. No. Then he asked me again just to be sure. No. My six year old grandson said he would make it if it didn’t take too long! He would get bored if it took too long he said. No pie for us. Oh well, who needs pie when there is a new baby to stare at?

  3. Those koeksisters look fantastic, sure having them in the lunchbox will be a welcome treat. And I just have to boast – my cousin has been the creative director on the last few Allan Gray adverts, so love that they can have so a wonderful effect on people!

  4. District 6 make the Cape ones full of spices.

    Love the ad, so true about time. We were discovering that yesterday – a very poignant conversation, left me introspective all day,

  5. OMG, I watched this and raced to the kitchen to see if my little guy needed help with his bread and honey. Thanks for the reminder Cindy. I hope you will continue to do this to me over the years.

  6. What a fabulous surprise for her when she opens her lunchbox, Cin. Did we just share a quote about the importance of remembering how to get back up? Love your heart, Cin!

  7. I’m sure your dort was happily surprised, Cin, and enjoyed those (and I reckon you’ve won a few koeksister-twisting competitions in your time 😉 )

  8. My ma kon die lekkerste lekkerste koeksisters bak. sy het dit selfs in die vrieskas gebêre en dit het nie sag geword nie. Ek moet byvoeg: sy was geensins ‘n goeie kok nie, toe sy met my pa getrou het, kon sy nie eens ordentlik eiers bak nie. Sy was ‘n laatlam. Maar sy kon heerlike vetkoek bak (soms gebrand buite maar lekker binne) en haar koeksisters was voorslag koeksisters.
    Geniet jou tyd met jou dogter, dit is so spesiaal. Soms het mens ander goed wat jy MOET afhandel, en dit is nie verkeerd nie, maar wanneer julle wel tyd saam spandeer, is ek baie seker daarvan sy weet jy is ongelooflik lief vir haar.

  9. I love baking/cooking with my sons but there will be other times that you can make something with your daughter, for sure.

    The koeksister do NOT look appealing to me at all, but I’ll take your word for it that they are nice. Koekjes in the Netherlands are usually crunchy, these look… slimy? 🙂

  10. I’m choked. What a wonderful advert. I’m glad it spoke to you.

    The Hub ADORES koeksisters. I must have a go. Trouble is, they’ll end up tasting more like koekgrandmas.

  11. Those sweet twisty things are not to my taste at all…. but my boys loved them when we visited South Africa.
    Very inspired ad, beautifully shot 🙂
    I’m sure the surprise of finding her request in her lunch box will mean as much to her as if you had stopped and made them when she asked.

  12. Oh, wow, what a BEAUTIFUL advert. Thank you for bringing it home so sweetly, Cindy! Koeksisters are one of Dave’s ultimate treats, but he’s quite fussy about them. I bet yours would win hands down 😀

  13. Lovely ad – but makes me think of:
    time flies you cant they fly too fast
    Which only makes sense with some punctuation and to think ‘stopwatch’.

    Think not of the wasted moments, but rather of those that weren’t. It should balance out.

  14. How often do we allow our “perceived priorities” to supercede our “actual priorities”?

    I’m sure OB loved her lunch!
    Bunches and bunches. 😀

    BFF would LOVE those sweet treats!

  15. Makes me want to be the best Mommy to K. Little stories that warms ones heart. I reread this post for the second time and I just didn’t know what to say.

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  17. Yes! I remember such moments with my son and which I’d done more. In the end, we’re only human. I loved the video. Thanks for posting. 🙂 Sweet!

    What is fried things with sugar that is so delectably appealing?

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