Friday, December 21, 2012


cashew brittle crunch cookies (4)

Gourmet magazine printed this recipe in 1972, and I found it via Recipezaar, under the title, “Dutch Caramel Cashew Cookies.”  I take issue with the title, since I didn’t detect caramel flavor, so I renamed it more appropriately.  The recipe also refers to “praline” made with the cashews.  Technically, praline contains half and half and butter, and neither are in this recipe.  Therefore, more correctly, this is a cashew “brittle.”

Since I had half a can of salted cashews in the fridge, I decided this would be a good use of them.   First, you make a very simple and quick cashew brittle, then you chop it up and put most of it in the soft, buttery dough and the rest gets sprinkled on top.  The cashew brittle is very easy to make and it’s delicious.  The crunch it adds to the cookie is wonderfully addictive.  There aren’t many ingredients, but the flavor of the tender cookie is nice, even if it is one note.

Cashew Crunch Cookies
Adapted from Recipezaar and Gourmet Magazine
Rating:  8.5 out of 10

1/2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
1 pinch cream of tartar
1/2 cup finely chopped salted roasted cashews

In a heavy skillet, cook sugar, water and cream of tartar over moderately high heat, washing down any undissolved sugar that clings to the sides of the skillet with a brush dipped in cold water, until the mixture is a light caramel color.  Quickly stir in cashews.  Pour the brittle onto a buttered piece of heavy duty foil.  With a buttered spatula, spread it out as thinly as possible. 
cashew brittle crunch cookies (2) 
Let it cool till it hardens, then break it into pieces and chop into small pieces. 
cashew brittle crunch cookies (3)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, soft
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract (I used my homemade vanilla extract.)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350F.  In a bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy.  Beat in egg yolk and vanilla.  Stir in flour and 2/3 of the chopped brittle (about 3/4 cup).  Form the mixture into a dough.  Using a rounded teaspoon of dough, form dough into ball, then flatten slightly.  Press tops into remaining chopped brittle.  Place on baking sheet lined with parchment that has been sprayed lightly with nonstick cooking spray.  Bake 10-14 minutes, or till lightly browned on undersides.  Cool on wire rack.  Yield:  20-25 cookies, 1-3/4” to 2” in diameter

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