Malawi Peanut Balls | Mtedza

I adore when this around the world culinary journey takes me by surprise. Here we are, the week of Valentine’s day, and I’m in Malawi – practically the heart of Africa. I had it in my head that I probably wouldn’t find anything particularly appropriate for Valentine’s Day.

Turns out I was wrong.

While I didn’t dig up any chocolate kisses or champagne mixers, I did find the lovely Sunrise Biscuits and today’s addictive groundnut cookie (that’s what Africans call peanuts). Thank goodness, because Keith prefers a good cookie to nearly any sweet.

These cookies are dusted in a snowfall of confectioner’s sugar and, when bitten, give way with a satisfying crumble. The broken bits of peanut pretty much seal the deal – these are wonderful with a cup of tea or coffee.

P.S. I’d be wrong not to tell you that, as with any good cookie, Keith made himself sick by eating most of these in one sitting. That’s a pretty good review, if you ask me.

Groundnut harvesting, photo by Swathi Sridharan.

Makes 18 cookies


1/2 cup butter, softened
1/8 cup sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped, roasted peanuts
1 tsp vanilla
pinch salt
1 cup flour

powdered sugar, for dusting


Preheat the oven to 350F. Meanwhile, chop up the peanuts into tiny pieces.

Then cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. When soft and fluffy, incorporate the peanuts, vanilla, and salt.

ย Pile on the flour and mix until…

… a crumbly dough forms.

Press together with the palm of your hands into balls. This will be super easy, thanks to all that butter.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until light golden brown.Roll into a happy pile of powdered sugar and don’t stop until each cookie looks like a delicate cloud.

Enjoy with a friend (or a more-than-friend) who you love with all your heart.

Unless they’re allergic to peanuts, of course.

But then you can make those heart-shaped Sunrise Biscuitsย ย we made earlier this week.


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Malawi Peanut Balls | Mtedza
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. Chop up the peanuts into tiny pieces.
  3. Then cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. When soft and fluffy, incorporate the peanuts, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Pile on the flour and mix until a crumbly dough forms.
  5. Press together with the palm of your hands into balls.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until light golden brown on a lined baking sheet.
  7. Roll in powdered sugar and serve.

Recipe Copyright Sasha Martin, Global Table Adventure. For personal or educational use only.


  1. How can I stay in shape?:) I discovered your blog just lately and I think I will have to exercise a little bit more now. Just for the past week I baked apple cake from Luxembourg twice (yes, that’s twice more than once:) And two days ago I baked Irish cake with Baileys–it’s almost gone, of course. And now those cookies…. Help!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Spring is coming, so I guess I’ll have to kick more soccer ball with my boys or take my poor dog for longer walks:) The food you cook is just irresistible! Love it!

    • Sasha Martin says

      Hmm, well I *do* make healthy dishes, too ha ha. I think you have a sweet tooth ๐Ÿ˜‰ Seriously, though, the Green Bean Soup from Luxembourg is a family staple now… you might give it a try for something a little lighter ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Oh, yeah! I already cooked green bean soup, and made tabbouleh and Greek village salad last week:) We loved it! And, you’re right, I am a sweet tooth, and the problem is that my husband is even worse than I am:) So, there are two of us eating very healthy dinners every night, it’s just the sweet treats that spoil our otherwise healthy diet:)

        On a serious note now, I love that you take traditional recipes that have simple ingredients in them. I can’t wait to prepare menu for my family for this week, and it wil definitely be very international. Thank you for making my dinners more interesting! ๐Ÿ™‚

        • I made those cookies today, and I am very happy I doubled the recipe, because those cookies are so yummy:) A family friend stopped by and she loved them too, then my husband came home and was mesmerized by those sinful balls. This recipe is a keeper for sure! I don’t even like peanuts, and if I am not mistaken, I ate like eight of those in no time. Thank you for your hard work Sasha!

    • Sasha Martin says

      The texture is really what sells it for me – such a lovely crumble and that dusting of powdered sugar.. yummers.

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