My first host mom during training called me "Mel", which was the first time anyone shortened my name in my entire life. Soon, it changed to "Mel Mel", and it started to stick. Now that I moved away from my training site I've reverted back my actual name, but "Mel Mel" is my first Jamaican given yard name. I am planning on making a lot of peanut cakes for a future event that is coming up fast! I made a trial batch today to make sure I am prepared to make a whole heap of these sugary, spicy treats. I sourced the peanuts from a local farmer, Raymond Robinson, who operates Cool Valley Farms in Baker's Wood, Manchester. Mr. Robinson also processes and packages banana flour, coconut drops, and asham. The ginger and sugar were also produced in Jamaica, making this a 100% Jamaican treat (made by an American). Here in Jamaica, peanut cakes are sold in snack shops, and transportation hotspots, where sellers will walk by with about a hundred of them packaged in clear plastic bags. They are sold for $50 Jamaican dollars, so you could say less than 50 cents. They are simple, filling, and hands down my favorite snack to grab pon di road.
You can use raw peanuts or roasted peanuts, I decided to roast my peanuts. I dry roasted the nuts at 177 degrees Celsius for about 25 minutes, and then removed the skin. I wasn't a perfectionist on removing the skin, it actually had nutritional benefits so it doesn't matter if some were left behind (and in the future I want to make peanut cakes without taking the skins or roasting them, which is the Ital way). I more or less followed the recipe here, so refer there for specifics of the recipe!
Next, get the sugar mixture going. Brown sugar, water, and a tablespoon and a half of ginger boil down into a syrup. Add the peanuts and let them get covered in the syrup. Then quickly remove from heat and use a tablespoon to scoop them into little cakes! They are tasty! The only thing I have to get better at is making them uniform, and scooping faster! The syrup solidifies fast and I had to reheat the last batch because they didn't want to move anywhere. I also wasn't careful taking them off the tray so I have lots of lose peanut cake to go around. The last step is to turn on your favorite album and scrub down your kitchen (every grain of sugar) before the ants realize you started a party without them! Hooray for peanut cakes!