This sweet and spicy roasted cashews recipe is the perfect combination of sweet, salty, savory, spicy and crunchy. A great swap often-used honey is the fall flavors of maple syrup. But beware, they are addictive! Don't say I didn't warn you. Some of my friends tell me they hoard them and don't share with their families.
I’ve made these roasted cashews for years at the holidays as gifts for clients, friends and family, and for catered parties. The crisp maple coating and spices hit all of your tastebud buttons. Each year, everyone goes crazy over them. So here is my recipe so you can do the same for your friends and family.
See the recipe card for measurements. What you need:
- Raw cashews: whole cashews, not broken pieces
- Maple syrup: the real stuff, not fake with corn syrup
- Rosemary: fresh
- Extra virgin olive oil: or coconut oil
- Brown sugar: or coconut sugar
- Vanilla extract: here is my favorite vanilla
- Smoked paprika: you can swap regular vs. smoked
- Ground chipotle powder: for the spicy heat, sub a pinch of cayenne
- Salt: I like pink sea salt
- Rimmed baking sheet (quarter sheet size for single batch)
- Non-stick foil (works better than parchment paper which will stick)
- A bowl for mixing
In a mixing bowl, stir together real, dark maple syrup (not the fake stuff), fresh chopped rosemary, brown sugar, olive oil, and spices. Add the cashews to the maple syrup mixture and stir until well coated. Spread evenly and flat onto the foil lined baking sheet in a single layer, sprinkle with salt.
Bake at 350°F for about 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. When cashews are cool, break them up with your hands and package them up in a nice jar, cellophane bag with ribbon or fancy gift tin. You'll definitely be invited back.
Chef's Tip: When you take them out of the oven and they are hot and still a bit syrupy, stir and turn them over with a silicone spatula. This helps get a good coating of the maple on the cashews as they cool. Or stir and pop back into the oven for another 1-2 minutes unless they are already a golden brown.
How to Make Larger Quantities for Gifts
Because I roast these in big quantities for holiday gifts and parties, here are a few tips. Depending on your oven space, do them in batches.
- If you bake these in large amounts it takes a lot of fresh rosemary. If you don't grow it find someone who does and trim their bushes.
- Rosemary turns your nails green and leaves 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.
- For chopping a lot of rosemary use a sharp heavy chef's knife.
- When roasting large batches for gifts, you can fit about 3 pounds (a 3x batch) on two half sized rimmed baking sheets. Do not crowd them. A double batch on even one half sheet is too much. If you crowd them you will get sticky gummy nuts not crisp ones when they cool.
- And if you make that mistake and they are a gummy mess and not crisp (I've done it), spread them out onto an additional baking sheet and roast a few minutes longer. It works.
- When cool, break the nuts up by hand and pack into bags or mason jars and tie with ribbon.
Maple roasted cashews can be stored on the counter top in an airtight container, no refrigeration needed. Store in airtight containers, glass jars, or cello bags for gifts. They last for about two weeks, but they really won't last that long because they are so good they will disappear.
Ways to Use
- Eat out of hand as a snack
- Put a bowl out before dinner (nice with a glass of wine)
- Sprinkle a few into a salad (with greens, pear or apple slices and cheese)
- Use as gifts
Resource for Bags
A great resource for cello bags to wrap these for gifts is Nashville Wraps, Amazon, or at a crafts or cooking store. A bag (approximately) 4"x2"x9" bags works well for a half pound or a bit more. Use silver twist ties for closing and tie with a ribbon. Be prepared for smiles.
Sweet and Spicy Roasted Cashews
- Rimmed baking sheet quarter sheet size for single batch
- Non-stick foil not parchment, it will stick
- 6 tablespoons pure dark maple syrup ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves stripped, rinsed, dried on paper towels
- 1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¾ teaspoon ground chipotle powder
- 1 pound raw whole cashews
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
Mix the nuts
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking with a non-stick foil. In a medium bowl stir the maple syrup, rosemary, brown sugar, oil, and spices until smooth. Add cashews and mix to coat thoroughly with a large spoon or flexible spatula.
Bake and cool
- Pour the nuts onto the baking sheet and sprinkle evenly with the salt. Bake for 18-20 minutes or just until you begin to smell them and they are a rich golden brown. The timing will depend on your ovens. Remove the nuts from the oven and stir, turning them over with a silicone spatula while they are hot to maximize the maple coating from the syrup that might have pooled on the bottom of the baking sheet. Bake for 2 minutes longer, then remove from the oven and cool. When nuts are cooled, break them apart with your hands and store in a tight container for about 2 weeks on the countertop. No need for refrigeration.