“Peco-Peanut-Brittle-Bar” by Evan-Amos – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peco-Peanut-Brittle-Bar.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Peco-Peanut-Brittle-Bar.jpg
Every culture (and every person) has a favorite sweet treat. Depending on where you’re from, chocolate-chip cookies, éclairs, rich chocolate brownies, or a dulce de leche-drenched cake might be the preferred indulgence, the sugary pick-me-up you can find in almost every café, bakery, or corner store.
In Tanzania, a perennial (and ubiquitous) sweet snack is kashata, a coconut or peanut-based confection that’s somewhere between a bar and a candy. Whip some up at home – it’s the perfect food to indulge your Tanzanian sweet tooth!
2 c. sugar
1 c. water
1 c. dried coconut
2 Tbsp. milk (or water)
1 c. roasted peanuts (skins removed)
½ c. flour
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cardamom
1. Prepare an 8×8 pan, either by greasing it liberally or by lining with wax paper.
1. Mix dried coconut and milk and set aside. If coconut absorbs all the milk and still doesn’t feel moist, add a bit more milk .
2. In a skillet, mix sugar and water. Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes, or until sugar just starts to brown, stirring frequently (so the sugar doesn’t burn).
3. Reduce heat to low and add all other ingredients, beginning with flour, one at a time. Stir well to mix after each ingredient is added.
4. Make sure everything is well-mixed, then scoop mixture into prepared pan. Let the mixture rest for a few minutes
5. While mixture is still warm, cut into squares in the pan. Allow the kashata to fully cool before serving.
Kashata pairs well with an afternoon coffee or some milky chai, and it also works as a simple dessert. Experiment by changing the spices, doing an all-peanut or all-coconut version, or changing the kind of nut you use. Just like with your favorite home-made treats, there’s no one way to make kashata!