Thirty minutes before friends were set to arrive, I heated maple syrup in a skillet until it was sticky. I was making this salad from Saveur Magazine. No more than five minutes later, the cashews were candied and slowly disappearing while they cooled. (Who? Me? Steeling cashews from the pan? Never! 😏)
The cashews from that salad reminded me of the honey sesame cashews Trader Joe's sells in it's trail mix section. But better, because maple syrup. All things maple syrup are better, right?
Those cashews sat in my mind for the next week. My eyes had been opened to something new: homemade maple cashews, and the flavor possibilities were endless. Maple Cayenne Cashews. Maple Cinnamon Cashews. Maple Rosemary? It could work.
But the flavor profile that really got me excited was Maple Chai (you know how I love all things chai-spice).
And now? Now I don't think I'll ever go back to Trader Joe's honey cashews. These homemade puppies are easy to make (we're talking a 10 minute recipe) and I find the maple flavor, with a bit of warm spice, SO. MUCH. BETTER. I couldn't stop eating these once they were made.
And while I did no gifting of these cashews, and we ate most of them while they were still warm, they would also make a pretty little gift. Can you picture a mason jar filled with Maple Chai-Spiced Cashews tied up with a festive bow and a little name tag? Cute! And so sweet, in more ways than one.
P.S., I did also try the Maple Cayenne idea but with pepitas instead of cashews. After they were candied they needed something else, so then I drizzled them with dark chocolate. They were good, but I liked these cozy cashews more.
Serves: 8 | Total Time: 10 minutes
- 2 cups roasted, unsalted whole cashews
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/16 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/16 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/16 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 pinch ground anise
- 1 pinch ground cloves
- Prepare a baking pan with parchment paper or a Silpat (affiliate link!). Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine cardamom, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, anise, and cloves. Stir to combine.
- Heat maple syrup in a skillet over medium-high heat for about 1-2 minutes, stirring, until it begins to thicken. Reduce heat to medium-low, and add spice mix to syrup, stirring to distribute.
- Now, add cashews to skillet. Stir using a spatula or wooden spoon until all cashews are coated. Scrape cashews with maple syrup onto lined baking sheet and spread out into a single layer, breaking up large clumps. Allow to cool 5-10 minutes.