Golden Syrup Dumplings

Most retro recipe.

In trying to plan for today’s theme, I was flicking through old Women’s Weekly Cookbooks from the ’70’s, looking for outdated and kitsch recipes (preferably with a pineapple and toothpicks) but nothing really grabbed me. Then I was over at my mum and dad’s place, and mum handed me a Country Women’s Association cookbook from the 1940’s that once upon a time belonged to my great Nanna James. The CWA is the largest women’s organisation in Australia, and since 1922 have been well known throughout the country (mainly for their jams, chutneys, knitted goods and lamingtons amongst other baked goods). The CWA initiated with the goal of improving conditions for women, particularly those living rurally, and have since assisted with emergency relief, education funds and workshops, amongst other benevolent things.


Flicking through the pages, it is clear that most recipes have similar and basic ingredients, created prior to much multicultural influence in Australia. Common ingredients include butter or dripping, flour, breadcrumbs, sugar and eggs. There are some mock meat recipes which initially had me excited, however I soon discovered that the mock goose was made of liver and the mock brains made of left over porridge and egg. It was certainly an age of ration and limited wastage.


There are some pretty neat ads to take note of, including the one repping this kerosene operated fridge.


And this one from the dried fruits board (awesome) spruiking currants, sultanas and raisins. Amazing.

Anyway, I digress. When I found golden syrup dumplings I knew this was the recipe for today, as it fits the retro bill and also brings back nice memories from childhood when mum used to make this for us. Boy were they a treat with their sweet sticky sauce and a dollop of cream or ice cream. Initially when I veganised this recipe directly from the CWA book it did not turn out how I remembered enjoying golden syrup dumplings as a child. The sauce was not as thick and caramel-y, rather a bit too thin. Then I recalled Johanna at Green Gourmet Giraffe posting a recipe for golden syrup dumplings a while back that I had made and it had turned out wonderfully. So I tinkered with the CWA recipe, adding some sugar to the syrup which made all the difference. Ahhhh sugar.


Golden Syrup Dumplings
(serves 3-4)

3 Tbsp golden syrup
¼ cup coconut or brown sugar
1 Tbsp vegan butter
cups water

1 cup self-raising flour
¼ cup vegan butter
1 Tbsp golden syrup
3 Tbsp water or non-dairy milk
Pinch of salt

Place syrup ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a bowl, rub together flour and butter with your hands. Add remaining ingredients and mix to form a thick dough. While it will be tacky, you should be able to use your hands to roll it into balls. Get heaped dessert spoonfuls of dough and roll into small balls. Drop the balls into the syrup mixture, and simmer, covered, for approximately 10-15 minutes, until dumplings have increased in size and sauce has thickened. Serve with cream or ice cream.








  1. Jojo says:

    Those look amazing! I love golden syrup!

    1. littleveganbear says:

      Thanks so much Jojo! I love it too 🙂

  2. Emma says:

    Oh my, these look amazing! I was obsessed with golden syrup as a child – I used to beg my mum to make flapjacks just so I could lick the syrup spoon!

    1. littleveganbear says:

      Thanks Emma! Golden syrup always seemed like such a treat didn’t it? It was only ever brought out for certain occasions which made it seem more special.

  3. Jennifer says:

    Great Retro post! I went with the Great Depression Era with mine 🙂 I love looking at old advertisements so when I saw the one pic I thought that was super cool, too!

    1. littleveganbear says:

      It’s really cool seeing old ads isn’t it – a blast from the past! I wonder what people will think when they look back on ads from today.

  4. lysette says:

    I’ve never heard golden syrup dumplings, it’s a dessert I really want to try now. I’ll ask my Mom if she remembers eating it as a kid. I love old advertisements! Look at how many different font’s they use and in that dried fruit board (?!) advertisement and underling the ‘Health’ of it! It is awesome 🙂

    1. littleveganbear says:

      I’d be interested to know how widespread golden syrup dumplings are! They are just such a comfort food for me, though I rarely have them these days (maybe more frequently now that I’ve remembered them!) I know – the ads are funny. I can’t imagine a dried fruit board advertisement these days, although there are ads on here spruiking mushrooms.

  5. Jennifer says:

    I’ve never heard of Golden Dumplings! But they look pretty good. Makes me think of chicken of dumplings… only for dessert…. and vegan.

    1. littleveganbear says:

      I’m not sure, but they may be an Australian dessert! Perhaps I should have saved them for the local dish prompt! Haha – I’ve never had chicken dumplings so I can pretend I know the likeness, but I can tell you these are tasty 😀

  6. MMMmmmmmmm I love golden syrup dumplings and I am in admiration of your gorgeous photos because they are so hard to photograph – great retro recipe that should never go out of fashion – and I love the cookbook – how lovely your family still has a copy

    1. littleveganbear says:

      I hear you on that – they are SO HARD to make look good! I chucked some flowers in at the side for a distraction, haha. I agree – a simple great recipe will last the distance (for good reason). It is really cool to look through the book and think that this was something my great nanna frequently used (many recipes have notes scribbled on them, and she’s even written some of her own in the very back)

  7. Susan says:

    Yum… I loved these as a kid. I am thinking I will have to revive these next winter!
    My mum recently got a CWA Qld cookbook, that was an original cookbook from back in the day they had re-released. The amount of food a country woman was expected to provide for her family at every single meal was insane!

    1. littleveganbear says:

      It’s definitely a different era, I wonder what CWA members think of the old ways now. I think it’s really cool to have these snippets from the past to look back on (particularly if there are some delicious recipes to be shared)

  8. You can never go wrong with these! I had a version somewhere with lime marmalade added to the syrup. Phwoar!

    1. littleveganbear says:

      That sounds INSANELY good!!!

  9. Joey says:

    Those look insanely good. They’re definitely my sort of food – just the sort of thing you need on a cold winter’s day. On a separate note – I don’t think I’ll ever get over the phrase ‘mock brains’!

    1. littleveganbear says:

      Ha! Mock brains…sounds like a good halloween costume.

  10. Caroline says:

    Oh wow, these look like the ultimate comfort food. Golden syrup is such a treat. I am making something with it this weekend for a prompt that’s coming up.

    1. littleveganbear says:

      Ooh, I look forward to seeing what you use it for – I don’t use golden syrup a hell of a lot so I would love some other ideas to use up the rest of my jar 😀

  11. Sophie says:

    I made this lovely combined dessert & my hubby Peter & I loved it!
    The flavors were just amazing! 🙂 xxx

    1. littleveganbear says:

      Thanks Sophie, so glad you guys enjoyed 🙂

  12. Bonnie says:

    These look so, so good. Especially with the vanilla ice cream! You commented on my dumpling stew that you’d never had savoury dumplings like those — well, I didn’t even know sweet dumplings like these existed, but now I so want to try them (and now I wish I hadn’t used up all my golden syrup)! I love these photos too.

    1. littleveganbear says:

      Thanks Bonnie! We need to exchange dumplings…I am so keen for savoury dumplings 🙂

  13. Definitely retro- my parent’s used to tell scary stories about Golden Syrup Dumplings from when they were at university- although these scary stories usually pertained to the type from a can. These look much…. less scary!

  14. Stephanie says:

    Oh yeah! I used to eat these as a kid and haven’t had them since! Made them tonight for my husband, who had never even heard of them, and he was amazed at how delicious they were! He’s gluten free though so I used SR Gluten Free Flour and they still came out perfectly and how I remember them! Thanks!

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