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Mbatata cookie from Zimbabwe

Posted by on 1 March, 2014
mbatata resultaat klein

Mbatata cookie from Zimbabwe

Last week I spotted a large pile of sweet potatoes in one of the vegetable stalls at the market.  I immediately filled a big paper bag with lumpy tubers to make stuffed baked sweet potatoes that evening. While emptying my bag on the kitchen counter I wondered if there is a country where they make cookies from sweet potatoes. And there is! The mbatata cookie is a traditional treat made of sweet potatoes in Zimbabwe. In Sub-Saharan Africa the sweet potato or Ipomoea batatas is an important staple. The nourishing tuber grows well in tropical climates and is used in many different dishes. I was curious and sacrificed one of my baking potatoes to make this pretty yellow mbatata cookie from Zimbabwe. The result is a soft, not too sweet cake-like cookie with a lemony glaze that gives it a nice crunch. When you buy your sweet potatoes, check if they have orange flesh. There is also a white variety that tastes the same but does not give the mbatata cookie from Zimbabwe that warm sunny color.


Mbatata cookie from Zimbabwe

mbtata zimbabwe ingredienten


for the cookies
75 grams softened unsalted butter
25 grams sugar
½ loosely beaten egg
zest of ½ organic unwaxed lemon
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
30 grams honey
225 grams flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
100 grams sweet potato

for the glaze
200 grams icing sugar
½ teaspoon softened unsalted butter
a few drops of lemon juice



mbatata zimbabwe boter suiker

butter and sugar


With an electric mixer beat the butter with the sugar until light and creamy.







mbatata ei, boter nootmuskaat

add egg, lemon zest, nutmeg and honey


Beat in the egg, the lemon zest, the nutmeg and the honey.






mbatata zimbabwe bloem mengsel

mix flour, baking powder and salt


Mix the flour with the baking powder and the salt.






mbatata kruimelig deeg

crumbly dough


Using your fingertips rub the flour mixture into the butter mixture until the dough resembles coarse breadcrumbs.





mbatata aardappel rasp

peel and grate


Peel and grate the sweet potato.







mbatata aardappel en deeg

crumbly dough and grated potato


Mix the grated sweet potato with the crumbly dough.







mbatata zimbabwe deeg

bring together into a ball


Bring together into a ball, cover with cling film and leave to rest in the fridge for about 30 mins.







mbatata vormpje

cut out shapes


Preheat the oven to 175°C/350°F. Roll out the dough to about ⅓ inch (¾ cm) and cut out cookies with a cookie cutter. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with baking paper. Bake them in the middle of the oven for about 7 minutes.






mbatata zimbabwe glazuur

make the glaze



Mix the icing sugar with the butter and just enough lemon juice to make a thick glaze. Cover until use.





koekje mbatata glazuur klein

brush with glaze



Take the mbatata cookies out of the oven and leave to cool on a rack. Brush the cooled cookies with the glaze and leave to set.

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