With everyone’s focus on turkey, side dishes and dessert, I wanted to share something different – an easy recipe for a gift from the kitchen. If you are an invited guest for dinner this holiday season, take a welcome gift of these maple rosemary glazed cashews. They’re a great nibble before dinner during cocktail hour. But beware – they are addictive.
The Perfect Hostess Gift
When invited for dinner, you certainly don’t want to arrive empty handed without a gift for the host or hostess.You can always take a bottle of wine or flowers, but it’s much more special to take something that you have made. A homemade food gift, something that can be opened immediately, shared and enjoyed, is always welcome. These maple rosemary cashews are equally welcome as a holiday gift, for a housewarming, or for a game day snack when a crowd is over. They’re a combination of sweet, salty, spicy and crunchy.
Beware! They Are Addictive
I’ve made these nuts for years as a gift for clients, friends and family at the holidays and for catered parties. Each year, everyone goes so crazy over them. I should call them crack cashews. The only problem is you can’t stop eating them. They are addictive!
Stir together maple syrup, fresh chopped rosemary, brown sugar, olive oil, and spices, sprinkle with the salt, then bake for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. When they are cool, package them up in a nice jar, cellophane bag with ribbon or fancy gift tin. You’ll definitely be invited back.
Tips for Roasting Big Quantities as Gifts
Because I roast these in big quantities (for Christmas in particular), here are a few tips. Depending on your oven space, do them in batches.
- First, I hope you grow rosemary. If you do this in large amounts it takes a LOT of fresh rosemary.
- Second, rosemary can turn your nails green and leave your hands covered in sappy residue. It’s hard to wash off, even with hot soap and water. Wear disposable kitchen gloves. Use them when you strip the leaves from the stems.
- Third, for chopping a lot of rosemary, toss the stripped leaves into a running food processor and let it run for a few minutes until the leaves are chopped. Rosemary is tough stuff.
- Lastly, when roasting large batches for gifts, you can fit about 3 pounds (a 3x batch) on two half sized rimmed baking sheets. Don’t crowd them. A double batch on even one half sheet is too much.
Maple Rosemary Glazed Cashews – A Gift From the Kitchen
Yield: 1 pound – about 6-8 servings as cocktail nibbles or two half-pound gifts
- 6 tablespoons (90 ml) pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
- 4 (about 120 grams) tablespoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 4 teaspoons (about 25 grams) golden brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular)
- 1/4 ground chipotle powder or cayenne pepper
- 1 pound (454 grams) raw whole cashews
- 1 tablespoon (28 grams) kosher or sea salt
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees (177 C). Cover a rimmed baking with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Note – what I have discovered works best is the Reynolds Release non-stick foil, even better than just spraying regular foil.
- In a medium bowl, mix the maple syrup, rosemary, brown sugar, oil, and spice until smooth. Add cashews and mix to coat thoroughly.
- Pour the nuts onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with the salt. Start with the two teaspoons. Add more only if needed. Bake for 18-20 minutes or just until you begin to smell them and they are golden brown. My convection oven takes 18 minutes at 335 degrees. Your timing will depend on your ovens. The nuts will crisp and harden as the cool.When they cool they will stick together. Carefully break them apart to package.
Package in an airtight container. They will keep for up to two weeks at room temperature.
Other links for holiday snacks and appetizers:
Mac ‘n Cheese Crackers from The Urban Baker
Pretzel & Nut Mix, from David Lebovitz
Spice Smoky Kale Chips, from The White on Rice Couple
A great resource for inexpensive cello bags to wrap these in, Nashville Wraps. Sizes are as follows. The CC4M works perfect for giving a half pound bag. The next size up will hold more, C2BC. They offer lots of nice twists and ties as well.
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