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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Brazilian Peanut Candy Squares (Paçoca)

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This candy is as Brazilian as it gets. The original paçoca (Pa-SSO-ca) is made with peanuts, sugar and cassava flour and it is ground in a mortar. The name paçoca comes from a Brazilian Native Dialect (tupi-guarani) and it means "to crumble". That is because this candy crumbles down easily either in your hands or in your mouth.

This candy is found at just about any grocery store, street markets and school's cafeterias around Brazil. There are two types of paçoca. One that is drier and crumbles easily and normally comes in a cork shape. The other one is slightly denser, moister and it is normally shaped into squares. The last one was always my favourite and it's the one posted here.

There is an old tradition amongst Brazilian Christians of eating paçoca during lent or on Good Friday, since peanuts are naturally high in energy. My grandmother used to mashed them with bananas (for moisture) and eat it with a fork.

You can make this candy using salted peanuts too, it will lend a slightly salty bite to it, which is common in many Brazilian paçocas. If you just like it sweet, go ahead and make it just like I did, and you'll end up with a sweet, peanuty treat.

The best part: The whole thing comes together in minutes and there is no baking or cooking involved at all.

Brazilian Peanut Squares Recipe:

makes about 36 squares

You will need:

9 oz (250g) of roasted, skinless peanuts

1 1/2 packages of Maria Cookies **(see note bellow)

1 can of sweetened condensed milk

2 tablespoons of sugar

In the food processor, combine peanuts, cookies and pulse until it's well combined and even. It should resemble a coarse flour. Add the sugar and pulse. Add the condensed milk and process until it forms a ball of dough. Transfer to a 9 inch square baking dish lined with wax or parchment paper. Using your hands, press it very well to form an even layer. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes up to overnight. Remove from the baking dish and cut into squares. Keep it in airtight containers.

** Maria cookies are round, flat cookies found at the Ethnic aisle of most grocery stores near the Latin foods, or at Latin and sometimes Mediterranean food stores.

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Easter treat bags.

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28 comments:

Amanda said...

Found you through Tastespotting, not sure if those are helicopters or whales but it's cute.

Claudia said...

As I have tried yesterday, I can say they are delicious! My husband almost ate them all watching tv. Thanks, Rita. I loved it and I will try to make it sometime.

Deseree said...

Delicious! I love the fact that they are so easy too!

Alejandra said...

These look so tasty! Can't wait to try and make these at home. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

finsmom said...

What a tasty looking gift! I cant wait to try making them!
Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

I would love to try your recipe, but I'm from Belgium and I dont know if our cans of condensed milk contain the same amount as where you live. Can you tell me how much ais in a can please?
Thanks for sharing, I love to collect quick and easy recipes :o)

Tanja.

The Cooking Photographer said...

So easy and your pictures are so inviting and beautiful! A winning combo, and I'll be making these.

Lori said...

I love Pacocinhas. In fact, I have some in my kitchen; my husband got them for me for my birthday. Are you a Brasileira? I lived in Brasil for 5 years. Love it! Thanks for the recipe.

AndreaDomingas said...

Hi Rita!
Oh, I love to see your paçocas! They remind me my childhood! I have yet copied the recipe and will do it soon! Thanks for sharing!

Rita said...

Tanja - I used a 14 oz can of condensed milk, which is about 400g.

Lori- yes, I am Brazilian, from the south. Where did you live?

Mauro said...

Hi Rita, Regina told me about those. I'm not crazy about paçocas but... hmm, home-made paçocas... they look good. :-)

Trisha said...

I'm so excited to see this! My brother lived in Brazil for a bit (in the south) and when he came home, this is what he brought. I got hooked fast -- and then they were gone! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

Kevin said...

These peanut squares sound really good!

Lori said...

So glad you posted this! I have been trying to perfect my pacoca and I can't quite get the texture right. There is a lady that sells it at the feira and it is amazing. I can't wait to give your recipe a try. What a great Easter gift!

Anonymous said...

I have made them today and they taste so good and crunchy. I have written the recipe in my favorite recipes book. Thank you for sharing :o)

Tanja.

Dawn said...

Oh goodness I tried these a few years ago and had completely forgotten about them. I was searching for the recipe...thank you!

Anonymous said...

I would love to try out this recipe. Could you please let me know the weight out 1 1/2 packages of Maria cookies?

Thanks.

Rira said...

@ Anonymous: 1 package is 200 g, so you will need 300g for a package and half. Hop eyou try it, it' s delicious and simple to make.

Anonymous said...

anyone tell me is it suitable for vegetarians

SK said...

First time to your blog. Candy looks so yummy and easy to make also. Can i substitute Peanuts with any other nuts and what is the quantity that i should use?

I see that this post is from 2009 but i really appreciate if you can answer. Thank You.

Rita said...

@ SK - I never tried using any other nuts, but I bet you can, I can see almonds and macadamia working really well here. Let me kow if try it! Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Can you just use all natural peanut butter and measure out the oz. and make it with that? Just wondering I don't have peanuts at the moment. Thanks

Rita said...

@Anonymous: It would be too liquid that way, best to wait until you have peanuts:)

Anonymous said...

My nieghbors are from Brazil, and the little girl came over and brought me some cany , her father was just home from Brazil, and she brought me a piece of this candy, it was in a wraper, "Pac,oquita" it was the best peanut candy I have ever had. Wish she had brought over the whole bag !! She said he brought home two bags, and one was already half gone !

Anonymous said...

hi i am from south africa. i dont know about the maria cookies, i dont even know what would i substitute for it here... but these do look divine. thank you.

Anonymous said...

So glad to find your recipe! A friend is from Brazil and I have been making brigideiros for her for September 6th each year. This year she asked if I would be willing to make peanut candy if she could find the recipe. Internet to the rescue :) Your recipe looks simpler and tastier than the others I have seen, especially since cassava(manioc) flour is a challenge to find. Maria cookies are a shelf staple at the local market Thanks again!

theklewerz said...

Hi Rita, as I was browsing about Easter food, I stumble upon your paçoca recipe and I have to say that I'm going to make them for this Easter :)
Just one question though, in your recipe you said 1 1/2 packages of Maria cookies. If I may ask, how many grams is it? Because where I live, we have a 250gr Maria cookie packages.
Thanks before!

Rita said...

@theklewerz - The packages I use are normally between 200-250g, so yourw wouls be fine. Happy Easter!

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