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Cajuzinho is a sweet peanut candy found throughout Brazil. This candy can be found through commercial manufacturers, and may be prepackaged or purchased from small shops or made fairly easily at home. It typically consists of a dough mixture that resembles chocolate fudge and tastes strongly of peanuts. Cajuzinho can be made using a number of different ingredients, though common recipes require only peanuts, sweetened condensed milk, sugar, and cocoa powder or chocolate drink mix.
The name cajuzinho means “little cashew,” though the candy usually contains no cashews. It can be made with cashews in addition to peanuts, and the finished product is often shaped to resemble a large cashew, but otherwise the name has little to do with the taste and creation of the candy. The peanuts used in making cajuzinho can vary among recipes, and different candy makers may prefer using plain, unsalted peanuts that have had the skins removed. Other recipes often call for roasted peanuts to be used, and the flavor of the candy will depend on the kinds of peanuts used.
Making cajuzinho begins with finely chopping or grinding the peanuts. This can be done with a knife or food processor. The peanuts are then placed in a sauce pot along with the sweetened condensed milk, which is basically milk and sugar that has been carefully cooked to reduce the liquid in it and become thick and sweet.
Margarine or butter can be added to this mixture, though this depends on the recipe. Sugar is sometimes added as well. The cocoa powder or chocolate drink mix is then added and the entire mixture is heated over medium or low heat. The mixture is stirred while heating until it reaches the proper thickness for cajuzinho, which is thick enough so the pan becomes easily visible while stirring.
Once the cajuzinho mixture reaches the proper thickness, it is poured from the pan into a greased dish and allowed to cool to room temperature. When it reaches room temperature, it can be taken in small pieces and shaped into cones, which are then typically rolled in granulated sugar. It is traditional to also press a single peanut into the bottom of each cone.
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