This recipe appeared in a story in our 2016 Holiday Baking section: “Not the Usual Treats to Bake and Share,” by Durham food writer Matt Lardie. He wrote: Move over candied pecans, there’s a new favorite nut in town. Cashews are an addiction of mine – I add them to everything. Here I’ve taken the basic formula for candied pecans, switched in cashews, and tossed in a little Indian flavor. These nuts are still sweet with a healthy bit of salty savoriness to them. Do your best to not eat them all before you’ve packaged them up as gifts. Or don’t, I won’t tell! Note: Garam masala can be found in the international aisle of most grocery stores. Unsalted, unroasted whole cashews can be found in the bulk section of Whole Foods stores.
1 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
1 egg white (from a large egg)
1 teaspoon cold water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups unsalted, unroasted whole cashews
Heat oven to 300 degrees, placing the racks on the lower and upper third rungs of the oven. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the granulated white sugar, light brown sugar, salt and garam masala until no lumps remain. Set aside.
In a larger bowl, whisk together the egg white, cold water and vanilla extract until light and frothy.
Add the nuts to the egg white mixture and mix thoroughly with a spatula until all the nuts are coated.
Pour the sugar mixture into the bowl with the nuts and continue mixing again until all the nuts are thoroughly coated.
Divide the coated nuts between the two pans, spreading them into a single layer with the spatula.
Bake the nuts for 45 minutes or until the nuts are a deep golden brown; stir the nuts every 15 minutes and rotate the pans top to bottom about halfway through,
Once baked remove the pans and set them aside until the nuts have cooled to room temperature. Break the nuts into small clusters and serve or package for gifts. They will keep in an airtight container for up to three weeks.
For gift giving, divide the nuts between small cellophane bags and tie them tightly with colorful ribbon. Or for a fancier presentation, individual Mason or Tulip Weck jelly jars can be filled with nuts, sealed and labeled with a decorative sticker.
Yield: about 4 cups