Curried Cashews



Curried Cashews

My girlfriend, Rene, cut this from a magazine years ago, but doesn't remember the source.  Since she gave me the recipe, I've made it quite a few times. I love it in a pretty bowl on the drinks table before a dinner party.  It's very popular with everyone, even with people who think they don't like curry.

2 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. kosher or flake salt
2 1/2 tsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 C water
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
2 1/2 unsalted roasted cashews (about 12 oz.)
1 C unsalted raw shelled pistachios (4 oz.)
1/2 C dried cranberries

Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 300F.  Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl and set aside.  Bring the water, brown sugar and butter to a boil, stirring often.  Stir in the nuts.  Cook, stirring constantly until the nuts are shiny and the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.  Transfer the nuts to the spice mixture.  Add the dried cranberries; toss until well coated.  Spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.  Cool to room temperature.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for several weeks.







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Salty Chocolate Toffee



Chocolate Salty Coffee Toffee

This is an adaptation of an old Sunset recipe.

2 1/4 C sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 C coffee or water
1 1/4 C (1/2 lb. plus 1/4 C) butter (Plus 2 tsp. butter for greasing the pan.)
2 C chopped mixed almonds and pecans (raw or roasted or oven toasted)
one 12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1-2 tsp. flake salt
1/4 C finely chopped roasted nuts

Combine sugar, salt, coffee or water, and butter in a large pan; bring to a boil.  Add the nut mixture if they are raw; if they have been roasted or toasted, you will add them later.  Cook, stirring constantly until mixture reaches 300F measured with a candy thermometer.  This will take about 10 minutes or so and it will be bubbling.  Immediately remove from heat (add roasted nuts at this time).  Pour into a well-buttered jelly roll pan and spread the mixture to even out.  Sprinkle on chocolate chips and wait 5 minutes for them to soften.  When soft, spread the chocolate evenly over the toffee; immediately sprinkle with finely chopped nuts and flake salt to taste.  Set aside for a few hours to cool.  Break toffee apart with a sharp knife and store covered in a cool place.

*Making candy and using a candy thermometer is not difficult, but needs your attention.  Stir the mixture constantly and be vigilant about checking the thermometer as it needs to read exactly 300F for it to harden properly.  It's not a project to be done with children as the candy is scalding hot. 





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Gougere



Gougere

This beautiful, savory, French pastry smells heavenly while it's baking.  It is simple elegance when served as a first course with a glass of champagne, and is something your guests won't forget.  But perhaps the best thing about a Gougere, and one thing that many cooks don't realize,  it's super easy to make and can be prepared in the morning, refrigerated, and baked just before serving.  

1 C milk
1/2 C (one stick) butter
1 tsp. salt
1 C flour
5 eggs
1 tsp. prepared Dijon style mustard
1 tsp. chopped fresh herbs (optional)  I like to use tarragon and chives if I have them.
1 C grated Gruyere cheese
1/2 C grated fresh Parmesan cheese (plus an optional two tablespoons to top the puff) 

Combine milk, butter, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Remove pan from heat and immediately dump in all the flour.  Stir vigorously for one minute with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the side of the pan and forms a mass in the middle.  Let rest for 5 minutes.  Put mixture in food processor, and process with steel blade adding the 5 eggs, one at a time.  Add prepared mustard and optional herbs and pulse a few times to incorporate.  Add both cheeses and pulse until just just mixed.  

On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, and with a large spoon, plop spoonfuls down in a wreath-like shape, see below.  Sprinkle with optional 2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese and a few chopped fresh herbs if desired. 

At this point you can loosely cover with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator.  About one hour before serving, take out of the refrigerator to get to room temperature.  To bake, put in center rack of preheated 350F oven and bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and golden brown.  Immediately slice into wedges and serve with a fork.  Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or first course.   It's particularly memorable when served with champagne.

If you have a crowd for cocktails, gougere can also be made into little puffs making it easier to serve. 





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