Peanut cakes

Sharon Tyler Herbst implies this recipe for peanut cakes is the same as the Nigerian kulikuli. However, everything I see online when searching kulikuli suggests that those are balls or cakes of ground, pressed peanuts or groundnuts that have been fried in their own expressed oil. That’s it. Simple as … well, you know.

Not that the recipe for peanut cakes in The Joy of Cookies isn’t simple. It is. And it’s simply delicious. Chopped unsalted peanuts added to the usual suspects: butter, sugar, an egg, baking powder, flour, a little salt and extra vanilla. Rolled out, brushed with egg white and milk and sprinkled with more peanuts. Oh yum. Lovely, light and delicious. The recipe makes about 18 cookies. And that, my friends, is the only downside, because we want more!

And finally, for the curious word nerds — thank you for that Helen (of troy)! — out there: What language is kulikuli and what are its literal translation and etymology? Those are more difficult questions as there are over 520 living and dead languages in Nigeria, and most Nigerians speak the language of the colonizer, aka English, and so kulikuli has become part of the English lexicon. Also, the online translators don’t do Hausa. Nor do they do any of the other 520 indigenous languages to that region of the world. Go figure.


About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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One Response to Peanut cakes

  1. I don’t know the word kulikuli–but as a general rule, double works are emphatic or superlative. versions of a word. (I’ll ask my other word nerd friends–some one might know)

    Even in English we have “goody-goody!” for something that is extra good Goody goody is used in addition to BEST. (There are other examples, many are “baby talk” word) So what ever Kuli is, (good, nutty, whatever) , kulikuli is even better! (Sound right!)

    Peanut, native to south/central america, became popular everywhere. They will not sprout in salt water (and spoil) so they were very easy to transport by ship (in leaky wooden ships).–and transport them the Spanish explorers did. They are high in protein, and the habit of the seed pod burying its self, protects the seed (nuts) from bird and other animals. Peanuts quickly became part of native cuisine where ever they would grow (south asia, much of africa, american south, etc.) In the US , for many years, they were often considered only fit for slaves. As a result, were under-rated and under utilized for many years. Many other cultures have much better recipes for foods using peanuts.

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