Peanut is another precious produce that was a gift from South America to the world. Many people don’t know that peanut is not a nut, but actually a member of the pulse family.
Despite the fact that the name cajuzinho translates as ‘little cashew’, there is no cashew on the recipe! With more than 100 years old, the ancient cajuzinho is a bite-sized sweet that used to be served in dinner parties as part of a dessert and sweets buffet of Brazilian farm houses. In its old recipe, cajuzinho used to be made with peanuts, grated chocolate, sugar and beaten egg whites (or water). and then rolled into mini cashew apple shapes. In some modern recipes sugar and egg whites are replaced by sweetened condensed milk, but some of the purist cooks still prefer to stick to the original recipe.
In the 80s, along with cajuzinho, brigadeiro and beijinho were the main sweets served in kids’ parties. Even though it is incredibly delicious, interestingly cajuzinho was a bit underrated by the kids and adults alike, who always preferred the other two. I don’t know the reason, but my guess is that cajuzinho was probably not as popular because it is made with peanuts, which are used to make many types of commercial sweets easily found in supermarkets in Brazil. Even so that these days cajuzinho is nearing extinction from kids’ parties and being replaced by other sweets like gourmet brigadeiros and cupcakes.
If you are a fan of peanuts, this is the sweet for you. Differently from brigadeiro or beijinho, cajuzinho does not require any cooking or stirring (apart from roasting the peanuts). It has only 5 ingredients and very easy to prepare, making it the perfect party sweet. In addition, the shape is original and they look adorable in colourful paper cases. There is a little bit of work required to peel the peanuts. Also it takes a little bit of time to roll the sweets but I consider that a kitchen pleasure! All up you will not take more than 1 hour to prepare them. The other advantage is that they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
650 g raw peanuts
2 tbs cocoa
2 tbs caster sugar
1 can sweetened condensed milk (395g)
Unsalted butter, to grease
100 g raw sugar, to coat
30 peanuts (about 30g), extra to garnish
Unsalted butter, to grease
1. Pre-heat the oven 180°C, fan-forced. Place all peanuts on a large tray and toast for 20 minutes, stirring once after 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Grab some peanuts and rub with the palm of your hands over a bowl. Shake the peanuts so that most of the skins fall into the bowl, transfer the peeled peanuts to the bowl of a food processor. Repeat until all peanuts are peeled, reserving 30 whole peanuts to garnish. Process 650g peanuts in the food processor with the cocoa.
2. Transfer the peanuts to a large bowl, pour the condensed milk slowly and mix it through until a thick paste is formed. Place it in the fridge for 1 hour to set.
3. Place the paper cases onto a large plate or tray. Pour the raw sugar into a bowl. Split the remaining 30 peanuts lengthways and reserve. Grease your hands with a little butter, scoop 1 tsp of the paste and roll it on your hands to make a conical shape (see picture above). Roll the sweet in raw sugar, insert a peanut in the base of the cone to garnish and place it in the paper case. Repeat with the remaining paste. When the paste starts to stick on your hands, wash the hands well and grease again.
Makes: 60 small sweets