Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dutch Caramel Cashew Cookies

I have a love/hate thing with dutch food. It takes a bit of getting used to when you come over from the states. Edwin warned me of alot of things but until you experience it for yourself you just nod your head and say "Yeah ok". The first thing you notice about foods over here is that they are no where near as processed as they are back home. The bread has a shelf life of only a few days because of this. Edwin told me american bread was loaded with salt and sugar. When I tasted dutch bread, I was like where is the salt! now I love it. The eggs I buy at the store are brown like the organic ones and can seriously tell if a chicken had a hard time pushing one of them out. The shells are paper thin and the eggs taste wonderful. The fruits and veggies when you can find them ripe, taste like someone picked it for you...nothing is enhanced to get it to grow quicker.

I however get bored quickly with the dutch version of baking. The cookies all taste the same to me after awhile and the same goes with the cakes...nothing is ever over the top with any one main flavor. It's really low key and always missing the one ingredient that would make it actually worth eating again. The first time I bought Vanilla extract here, the cashier asked what it was used for. I said you bake with? she just stared at me. I had a small bag of cashews that I wanted to bake with. I went hunting online and stumbled upon this recipe from Technicolor Kitchen.  I thought to give it a shot since the recipe came from a dutch farmer and I noticed there was no salt in it. I actually wonder if the original recipe really had vanilla in it since over here they are more likely to use vanilla sugar instead. The flavor comes from the cashew mixture wich reminds me a bit of peanut brittle. It's cooked over the stove and then spread out onto a sheet to cool.

    Make sure you use salted cashews and roasted if you can find those. The added salt is a nice addition and one that needs to be there. It has a nice chewy texture to it wich comes from the caramel like brittle. If you like cookies with just a caramel flavor with nothing else going on, then you might like these:) Soon I will be having a giveaway filled with dutch treats that I do love very much and think others will also:)

Dutch Caramel Cashew Cookies..18-24 cookies

Cashew Mixture:
1/2 cup Sugar
2 TBL Water
Pinch of Cream of Tartar
1/2 cup Finely chopped Salted roasted Cashews

1/2 cup Unsalted Butter; Softened
1/3 cup Sugar
1 Egg Yolk
1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup Flour

Start with the cashew brittle. Place a large piece of foil over baking sheet; butter it and set aside. In a heavy skillet cook sugar ,water and cream of tartar over moderately high heat, washing down any undissolved sugar thats clings to the sides with a brush dipped in cold water. Cook until mixture is a light caramel. You will notice the edges starting to bubble and then they will start to turn color. Give it a stir and the color really starts turning. Take off burner and quickly pour in and combine the cashews. Pour mixture onto buttered foil and using a buttered spatula quickly spread it out into a thin layer. Let cool until hardens and chop it coarsely.

Pre heat oven to 350 or 180 celcius. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a bowl of an electric mixture, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla. Stir in flour and chopped brittle. Roll a rounded 1/2 tablespoon of dough and place onto sheet. Lightly flatten top of each cookie with moistened fingertips. Bake 12-15 minutes or until they are light browned on the bottoms. Let cool for one minute; remove to wire rack.