This traditional jugu cake cookie from Tanzania is very similar to Italian biscotti. The word jugu means nut in Kiswahili and peanuts are the most important ingredient in this recipe. The peanut was probably brought to Tanzania from South America by the Portuguese and thrives well in the tropical climate. The peanut is not really a nut but a legume and grows underground. In Tanzania, this nutritious ‘groundnut’ is used in both sweet and savory dishes. Foreign influence has always been strong along the east coast of Africa. Arabs, Persians, Indians, Portuguese, the British and the Germans left their mark in all sorts of ways, including new ingredients and cooking techniques. How this Italian-style double baked cookie ended up in Tanzania is not exactly clear, but you can find it almost everywhere nowadays. The cookie is usually baked twice, but you can also find it baked only once resulting in a softer more cakey bite. I like the crunchy version best as it is perfect for dunking!
Jugu cake cookie
For ± 30 cookies
165 g (1½ cups) unsalted, peanuts
300 g (2 cups) flour
1 tsp baking powder
200 g (1 cup) sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
30 ml (¼ cup) peanut oil or sunflower oil
100 ml (⅓ cup + 2 tbsp) milk
Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Chop half the peanuts coarsely and the other half finely.
In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and peanuts with a pinch of salt.
Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, oil and the milk.
Quickly form into a soft dough. Add some flour if the dough is very sticky or some milk if the dough is too dry.
Form logs of the dough (2½ cm/1 inch thick and 5 cm/2 inch wide) and place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Leave some room for them to spread.
Bake 35-45 min. or until golden brown.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 5 minutes. Use a sharp knife to cut the logs into slices of ± 1½ cm/½ inch thick.
Put them back on the baking sheet with a cut edge facing up. You might need an extra baking sheet. Increase the oven temperature to 200°C/400°F and bake the cookies for another 15-20 min. Take from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.
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