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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Cinnamon glazed cashews

Today's project isn't iced, but it's definitely glazed. Someone must have slipped truth serum into my coffee, because I'm about to make my cinnamon glazed cashew recipe public, right down to the exact brands of ingredients. Bill and I fell in love with the roasted nuts sold by street vendors when we went to New York to be on The Martha Stewart Show in 2009. I've tried really hard to recreate the NYC nut vendor recipe, but nothing beats the real thing. I got my hands on a nut roaster, but I don't see why you couldn't make this recipe on your stovetop in any pot.

The only ingredients are sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, water, and cashews. You'll also need a cookie sheet and a long-handled wooden spoon (or a Messermeister high heat spoon; my favorite spoon ever).
As you can see, the critical ingredients are all from Costco (Kirkland). They're really high quality and a bargain; the cashews are huge, the vanilla smells amazing, and the cinnamon is blazing hot. Start by putting 3 cups of cashews in the nut roaster…
…blend 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 3 heaping tablespoons of cinnamon (give or take) in a small bowl…

…and pour over the nuts:
In a measuring cup, combine 3 oz. of water with 3 teaspoons of vanilla. Pour that over the nuts next and give everything a stir to blend.
Set aside 1 1/2 tablespoons of water in a small bowl. Have a large cookie sheet and your spoon at the ready. Turn on the heat to medium high and start stirring continuously. The process takes approximately ten minutes. I stopped stirring long enough during the boiling stage to snap this shot:
Incidentally, your whole house will smell amazing. When the mixture gets more dry than wet and is very hard to stir, it's almost done. Remove promptly from heat and pour that small amount of water you set aside over the nuts. They'll steam like a locomotive, and the water will cause them to glaze. Give them a few more stirs and then dump them out onto the cookie sheet:
Spread that mass of nuts around and break it up with the spoon:
Do everything you can to avoid touching the nuts when they're hot; don't even think about popping one into your mouth to "quality check" your creation. You can break the clumps up more precisely when they've had a chance to cool. 

We've fired up the nut roaster for one occasion or another on almost a weekly basis since the minute it was unpacked, and this recipe has become a bit of a signature piece for me. I hope you'll give it a try, and I hope you'll let me know how it turns out. Go nuts!

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