I’m just in a mood for all these West Indian goodies these days huh? *whimpers* I really miss home so I guess I’m just digging up everything that reminds me of the Caribbean. Today, I’m sharing this recipe for peanut sugar cakes, West Indian style. When I first showed peanut sugar cakes to my American friends, I remember one of them saying “Oh that’s the same thing as peanut brittle” *gasps* It probably is close in looks or preparation but I think peanut sugar cake is in a class of its own. Coconut and groundnut (peanut – I prefer to call it groundnut) sugar cakes are staples in Caribbean culture. I remember as a little girl, I used to save up my money to go buy a bag with two groundnut sugar cakes from the ladies under the Building & Loan Building in St. Vincent. When I went home on my last trip, I made sure the first day I was in town, to get groundnut sugar cakes from them. Last week, with all the groundnuts that I had here that my MIL sent from Georgia, combined with my missing home, I decided to make groundnut sugar cakes. I scoured the web and asked almost a dozen of my friends for a recipe. Each one told me that they didn’t know how to make it but their grandma or mom would. Because I couldn’t wait any longer for any of them to get back to me with good news from their grandmas or mothers, I decided that I had to experiment and do it on my own. I knew it required roasted peanuts, sugar, ginger and water but what proportions and in what order of preparation – no clue. Luckily, my hunches were right. Today, I give you peanut/groundnut sugar cakes!
I had to roast my peanuts first because they were raw
To roast: I placed them on a baking sheet lined with foil paper in a single layer in the oven for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. At the 5 minute mark of them cooking, I stirred them around a little then let them finish up for another 5 minutes. They will continue to cook once removed from oven. Once cooled, I had to rub them together to remove the red casing. This took a while!
2 1/2 cups roasted peanuts
4 tbsp minced or grated ginger (I loveeeee my suagr cakes when they’re gingery)
3 cups white granulated sugar (See Notes)
1 cup water
1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
1. In a large pot, add water and allow it to heat for a minute
2. Add sugar and let dissolve. Stir constantly.
3. After about 2 minutes, add grated ginger and vanilla extract/essence
4. Boil until water is almost gone and the sugar solution is thick and sticky. This was about 6-8 minutes for me.
(Sugar and water boiling away)
5. Place a sheet of parchment paper on kitchen counter or baking tray.
6. Add peanuts and stir the mixture in the pot with a large spoon for about 2 more minutes. Make sure it does not stick to the bottom of pot.
(Just dumped in roasted groundnuts)
7. Use the spoon to scoop out mixture to create wide mounds on the parchement paper.
8. Each mound should be placed in a separate heap on the parchment. Do not let them touch because once they harden, the sugar becomes crazy glue of some sort.
9. Let the sugar cakes cool and harden for about 30 minutes.
* I know the recipe calls for a lot of sugar but trust me. I really used 3 1/2 cups and that worked fine for me.
** I wanted mines to be thick and nutty (nuts on top of nuts) but feel free to make yours thin then add nuts when water is half gone. When scooping them out spread them wider on the baking sheet in a single layer.
*** PLEASE, I’m begging you, do not succumb to the urge to lick any of the sugarry substance that is bubbling in the pot. Several times I took a spoon and then smeared my finger in it to taste the sweetness and I was burnt. My friend Oeteka did the same thing when she tried this recipe and burned herself twice. If you take out some to taste-test, let it cool a while. PLEASE.
Here’s a pic of one I had on my vacation in St. Vincent. This one had the nuts on a single layer and possibly less sugar.
Bye For Now…..