Roasted Maple Chai-Spiced Cashews

Maple Chai-Spiced Roasted Cashews

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. 

Maple Chai-Spiced Roasted Cashews
Maple Chai-Spiced Roasted Cashews

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. 

Maple Chai-Spiced Roasted Cashews

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. 

Roasted Maple Chai-Spiced Cashews

Published November 30, 2017 by
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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


  1. Prepare a baking pan with parchment paper or a Silpat (affiliate link!). Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine cardamom, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, anise, and cloves. Stir to combine.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.


Paleo Chocolate & Cardamom Cake

It felt like Spring outside, despite being mid December. That's typical for central Chile, where it feels like Spring most of the year. I was on the Island of Chiloé, which is dotted with brightly colored houses built on stilts, adding to the springy feel. The hostel I stayed at had a big kitchen which was shared among the nine other guests. Something about that kitchen brought us together, a group of seemingly random people, and with in a few days we were planning a "family" Christmas dinner. 

The spread included dishes inspired from everyone's home: English Sausages, bacon wrapped dates, Chilean-style salads, and mushroom risotto. There was mulled wine, a lot of it, followed by a trivia game and this Chocolate Cardamom Cake. 

Cardamom is a spice that offers both fragrance and warmth. It adds an aromatic touch to this bread that makes it fitting for springtime, and a coziness that makes it work amongst other rich dishes. This bread has a soft crumb but is not crumbly--a necessary distinction when talking about grain-free loaves. Drizzled with chocolate icing, it's more like cake than bread. It's rich and suitable as a decadent dessert, but also easy to make and works for casual last-minute gatherings. Ever since that Chilean Holiday, I've had this cake in the back of my mind. 

Paleo Chocolate & Cardamom Cake


1 cup almond flour 

2 tablespoons arrowroot flour 

1/4 cup coconut flour 

1/4 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoon cocoa  

1/2 teaspoon cardamom 

1/2 teaspoon vanilla 

2 teaspoons honey 

3 eggs 

1/3 cup coconut milk, canned, full fat

Paleo Chocolate Icing

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 tablespoon cocoa butter (coconut oil will also work) 

  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional) 

  • 2 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk 

  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder 

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. 

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flours, baking powder, salt, cocoa, cardamom). Ensure that all of the coconut flour is mixed in, and no clumps remain. 

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey, eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla until fully incorporated. Fold the wet mixture into the dry mixture, working with a spatula until a batter forms. 

4. Grease a glass bread pan with a bit of coconut oil or avocado oil. Spread the batter in an even layer on the pan. Place in center of the oven, and bake for 35-40 minute, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle.

5. Remove the loaf from the oven and set on a rack to cool. While it cools, melt the ingredients for the icing together in a small sauce pan or bowl, whisking until fully incorporated. Once mixed, allow to cool for a few minutes. Drizzle icing over cooled cake. Slice and serve. 


Indian Carrot Pudding & Lessons Learned

If I learned one thing in India, it was how to eat spicy food like it was nobody's business.

Just kidding! My tolerance for spice did go up a lot while I was in India, but the trip was an intense learning experience, and the number of peppers on my plate was one of the last things on my mind. I was thirteen when my dad and I landed in New Delhi, and I learned within hours of landing in the city to watch my step! Cow dung (and who knows what else) is everywhere. The weeks that ensued carried even more important lessons. 

By the time we made it to Rishikesh, I had learned to sleep through even the bumpiest taxi rides, and between snoozes, I learned that Indian traffic is something you really do just want to sleep through (or else you'll be terrified). In Rishikesh, we stayed at an Ashram in the middle of the mountains, and observed the simple life of monk-hood. At this point I was so far removed from my home that I was already losing touch of the stark differences between my home and this one. Washing my clothes in a bucket started to seem normal (and totally necessary, cow-dung considered). 

Not far from our Ashram, in Haridwar, I learn what it felt like to be a movie star. Crowds of people swarmed us. They took our photos. They asked for autographs from the first US citizens they had even met. They were going to tell everyone they knew. 

The paparazzi followed us to the country side, where we were featured in a small village newspaper. We were treated like kings at the Mayor's ranch, where we drank afternoon Chai and enjoyed traditional Indian Sweets like Gajar Ka Hawla, or Indian Carrot Pudding. 

After making our way through Pushkar (lesson learned: how to fight kites), and Jaipur (lesson learned: some Indian food will make you feel sick as a dog), we finally arrived in Varanasi. Varanasi is the heart and soul of Northern India. In Varanasi, I met my first Guru. I laid eyes on the Dalai Lama, and sat with thousands of his Tibetan refugees under a tent. In Varanasi, I saw a dead body for the first time. I watched Indian wrestlers fight for glory, and sent a flower floating down the Ganges River as Puja. I cried when we left. 

After arriving home, I got teary at the sight of my own toilet, feeling half guilty and half spoiled. I was never quite the same. And I craved Indian food twice as often. 

About this dessert: Indian Carrot Pudding is an simple dessert that resembles almost no dessert you find in the western world. Carrots, grated very fine, are stewn in milk and honey until soft and creamy, and then spiced with the typical warmth of India. Finally raisins and cashews are folded in, like jewels waiting to be discovered. For it's simplicity, it's an impressive treat. The best way to describe this to someone that has never experienced it is by saying it's like carrot cake in a bowl... with some Indian flare. Actually, the best way to explain it would just be to serve it and let everyone try if for themselves.

Indian Carrot Pudding - Gajar Ka Hawla

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free    |       |    Print This Recipe

Carrots are stewed in a sweet coconut milk base and then spiced with cardamom.

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:


  • 1 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 5 large carrots (about 7-10 inches long)
  • 1 tablespoon organic grass-fed butter, ghee, or coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons raw, local honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/16 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Dash salt
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1 star anise, whole
  • 1/4 cup cashews


  1. Wash and shred the carrots. Pour milks into a sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Add the carrots to the sauce pan, continuing to simmer for 20 minutes. (Keep a close eye on the coconut milk to keep it from boiling over.)
  2. After the milk begins to thicken and take on an orange color from the carrots, add the butter, ghee, or coconut oil to the pot along with the honey. Stir until the butter has melted, and then add the cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Toss in the raisins. Stir to combine, and continue to simmer for 5 more minutes.
  3. Add the star anise to the pudding, and simmer for 5 more minutes, or until more of the milk has evaporated and the carrots are very soft.
  4. Toast the cashews in an oven at 350°F until golden.
  5. Remove the pudding from the heat. Remove and discard the star anise, or use it as a garnish. Serve the pudding warm. Top with cashews.

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