Cinnamon Candied Cashew Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Eyes lock on menacing clouds swirling far above. Pine needles from dried, starving trees fall like heavy rain, shaken loose from their home by ferocious, bullying winds. Trees bend and sway; branches crack and fall to the ground. Far away lightning sends frightening bursts of thunder roaring through the air.
Birds flock from shaking trees to sturdy fences, their fragile bodies and large sail-like wings tossed about by gusts of unwanted wind. Small critters scurry into safe burrows and others crouch under thick bushes. The warm dry air is suddenly replaced by cold bursts of moist air; shivers crawl down my spine as goosebumps do their best to warm the skin.
Howling winds are slowly accompanied by the sound of an approaching pounding. A wall of water makes it way slowly down the street enveloping everything in a fog of bouncing water droplets. Cars, flowers, roofs and streets are barraged by an onslaught of attacking rain. My shirt becomes heavy as it soaks up the rain. Strands of wet, clumped hair act as gutters drawing the water into channels falling over my face, puddling around my eyes.
Thoughts of cover and warmth indoors fill my mind. I hesitate. I kick a puddle forming below my feet, a small smile forms on my adult face.
With the exception of a few drunken nights in college, I haven’t played in the rain since I was a small child. My brother and I would run around in the rain for hours until our lips were blue, our fingers like prunes and our bodies unable to control the shivering brought on by a cold rain. As if playing a game of chicken, we would hold out until only the other decided to run inside for cover. And inside, waiting for us always, was a bowl of warm soup and a piles of fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies.
With no where to go, no desire to do shopping or chores in the pouring rain, rainy days always became baking days at home. I’ve since carried on that tradition, taking the rain as a cue, a challenge to bake as many cookies and treats as I can. Only cookies seem to brighten up dark days buried under mile high, thick black clouds.
These cookies are a little more sophisticated than I would have liked as a kid, but I incorporated two of my childhood favorites still (cinnamon and chocolate). If you can’t find cinnamon candied cashews–just like I could not–have no fear, I have provided a simple recipe for that below. You can substitute cashews with any nut of your choosing, though I suggest giving these a try. The buttery, nutty flavor of the cashew partners perfectly with the sweet and spicy bite of cinnamon and nutmeg all while hugged with sweet, sweet sugar. The cookies taste just the same with a touch of delicious dark chocolate.
- 4 ounces butter, at room temperature
- 3 ounces granulated sugar
- 3 ounces brown sugar
- 1 egg
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 ounces cake flour
- 2 ounces bread flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (or chips)
- 5 ounces cinnamon candied cashews, chopped (recipe below)
- Preheat an oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon baking sheets.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add the egg and vanilla and beat until completely mixed together.
- Add the flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking soda and mix until blended well.
- Add the chocolate chunks and the candied cashew bits and mix until evenly distributed.
- Spoon the dough onto the cookies sheets. Bake each sheet for 8 to 11 minutes until slightly golden. Mine baked 10 minutes.
Not only are these Cinnamon Candied Cashews scrumptious baked into cookies, they are delicious on their own as a snack. You may even notice this recipe will yield about 2 times the amount you’ll need for cookies. You’ll thank me for the extras–they really are a great snack.
- 1 egg white
- 1 tablespoon water
- 8 ounces raw cashews
- 2 ounces brown sugar
- 2 ounces white sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Preheat an oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon baking sheet.
- Whip together the egg white and water until frothy (this can be done with a hand whisk in about a minute or two).
- Add the cashews and mix them in until they are all evenly coated.
- Add in the sugars, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg (making sure there are no lumps). Mix until the cashews are evenly covered.
- Spread the cashew mix evenly onto the lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 minutes. Stir once halfway through.
- Let cool completely. Place the cashews in a bowl and break apart any pieces that have stuck together.