Letter di peanut (in Papiamentu: lèter di peanut) are delicious Antillean peanut cookies. These letters made with peanut and spices are perhaps the most famous biscuit in the Antilles. They are easy to make, can be stored well and simply taste very good.
The cookies are always baked in the shape of the letter S. (but of course you are free to make your own name in peanut letters!)
It is an ideal recipe to make with children. You can let your imagination run wild by kneading them into a different shape. For example, it's great fun to use the first letter of the birthday boy's name for a birthday… ideal as a treat or part of a festive buffet!
Why in S-shape?
We are regularly asked why the letter di peanut is always made in the shape of the letter S. Why not round… why not in other letters?
There is no one-sided answer to this. However, there are several theories as to why the lèter di peanut is always baked in S-shape. First, we often hear that the shape ensures that the cookies are cooked evenly during baking. After all, an S has no corners or double pieces.
Another story is that a traditional harvest festival is celebrated on Easter Monday in the Antilles. This one is called Seú. This is translated from a West African language and means “heaven”. On Curaçao we celebrate the harvest that day and peanuts are of course also part of that.
For that reason, the 'letter di peanut', in honor of the Seú, is said to have been baked in the form of the first letter of the feast. This tradition would then have been passed on from generation to generation. As far as we are concerned, both stories sound plausible, which is why we name them both.
- 300g roasted peanuts (unsalted)
- 400 gr wheat flour
- 1 bag (16 gr) of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 150 gr butter
- 225 gr sugar
- 3 eggs
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence or 1 bag of vanilla sugar
- 1 teaspoon of almond essence
Preparation Letter di peanut:
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Grind the peanuts in a food processor.
TIP: You really don't feel like grinding peanuts? Then you can also use 300 grams of peanut butter with a high content (88% or more) of peanuts. Just keep in mind that peanut butter contains about 10% extra fat. So you have to remove 50 grams of the amount of butter if you choose this.
Line two baking trays with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Sift the flour together with the baking powder into a large bowl. Then add the cinnamon, salt and ground cloves.
In another bowl, beat the butter and sugar until they form a fluffy cream, then add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time. Add the peanuts and also the essences and stir well again.
Then add the flour mixture and then knead it into a smooth dough.
To make the perfect letter di peanut it is important that you use the heat of your hands to liquefy the oil from the peanuts. When the dough is at body temperature, it is much more flexible and prevents unsightly cracks in the cookies!
Now take a ball of dough the size of a walnut. Then roll this ball out into a 'snake' of about 15 cm. Form the cookies on the baking tray. Support the dough well when moving, so that the cookies don't break!
Bake the cookies for about 25 minutes at 180 degrees, or until the cookies are brittle and turn golden brown. Enjoy your meal!
Recipe from our cookbook
This recipe can also be found in our cookbook 'The complete Antillean kitchen'. Did you know that there are no less than 300 (!) recipes in that book from the kitchen of Aruba, Bonaire en Curaçao?
It is the result of 7 years of research and we now finally dare to say that we have really “captured” Antillean cuisine in its entirety. Click on the image below to learn more about the book:
Do you have our new website SOULFOOD.NL seen already? There you will find many more delicious recipes that not all come from the Antillean kitchen!
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