Ok, ok … I know it is politically incorrect to call biscuits ‘cookies’ in Australia but this recipe is entitled Peanut Cookies in the biscuit chapter of The CWA Cookery Book and Household Hints 42nd Edition (1992).
Can you believe it? 42 editions by 1992? I just checked on-line and found they are up to the 53rd edition. Amazing. For those who don’t know, CWA stands for the Country Women’s Association, an Australian organisation of women living in the country. Stereotypically, they get together periodically for tea and scones and a good chat but, in reality, they have done a lot of good work for a lot of people.
The book is a collection of recipes and hints sent in by CWA members. It was first published in 1936. Until the mid ’70s (when she became much more adventurous), most things my mum cooked came out of this book. Clearly, she had a much earlier edition than mine. I would love an early edition. The kitchen hints in my edition have been somewhat modernised. There were some real bottlers in the very early editions.
I bought this book to make the recipes I remember having as a child.
Back to the biscuits … My mum used to make this recipe. When I was in Portugal, I bought some biscuits at a market that reminded me of them. On return home, I decided to make some.
The recipe calls for 1 cup of peanuts to be chopped and mixed into the dough. The biscuits are then decorated with extra peanut halves. The biscuits I had in Portugal had peanuts pressed into the top (which is what I did because it looked really cool) but mixing them in is easier. The choice is yours.
- 60g butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 -1½ cups roasted unsalted peanuts
[The recipe actually calls for raw peanuts but it is quite hard to find raw peanuts skinned (and skinning them is quite an ordeal). In any event, I think the roasted ones taste better. If you are going to mix in the peanuts, chop one cup and keep ½ cup for decoration. If you are going to press them into the top like I did, keep them whole.]
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbs cocoa*
- ½ cup peanut paste (butter)
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups plain flour
- ¼ tsp carbonate soda
- 1 tsp cinnamon
*These are 20 mil tablespoons
- Preheat oven to 160°C.
- Cream the butter, peanut paste and sugar.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder, carbonate soda, cocoa and cinnamon.
- Gradually stir in the dry ingredients.
- If you are mixing the peanuts into the dough, add the peanuts.
- Roll dough into balls
- Place balls on baking tray lined with baking paper.
- Flatten and decorate with peanut halves.
I put the balls into a piece of poly pipe, flattened them, pressed the peanuts into the biscuit then removed the poly pipe. That way, all the biscuits end up the same size. Alas, Maus was busy doing something else at the time so my biscuits were of varying depths. Maus would have ensured they were all perfectly the same:(.
- Bake until crisp (about 20-25 minutes).
(They will be soft when they come out of the oven but will crisp up.)