I admit it: it's hard to improve upon cashews. Those crunchy, buttery nuts are so delicious on their own, I usually just eat them by themselves as an afternoon snack. But, when I'm feeling extra indulgent, I'll cover them in chocolate or whip up this recipe for Coconut-Covered Cashews.
These cashews were inspired by one of my favorite Trader Joe's snacks. They make a version of coconut-covered cashews that are insanely addictive, and if I might be so bold, I think my recipe is just as good! The cashews are extra-crunchy and coated with a sweet layer of toasted coconut. They are practically perfect on their own, but you can also add them to trail mix, put them on top of cakes or cupcakes, or toss them into a fresh salad.
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract/flavoring
- 1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1.5 cups toasted unsalted cashews
1. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Place the coconut in a pie tin or small baking pan, and toast it in the oven until golden brown. The secret to good toasted coconut is consistent browning, so be sure to stir it every 2-3 minutes until it is an even, light golden color. It will probably take 8-10 minutes, but monitor your coconut carefully.
3. Once the coconut is toasted, let it cool briefly, and then place it in a food processor or blender and pulse until it is finely chopped. Alternately, you can chop it by hand with a large heavy knife. You should have ½ cup of toasted coconut once it is finely chopped. If your coconut measures more than ½ cup, set aside the extra for another use.
4. In a small saucepan, combine the water, salt, sugar, and cream of tartar over medium-high heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then insert a candy thermometer.
5. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 246 degrees F on a candy thermometer.
6. Once the candy is at the proper temperature, remove immediately from the heat and stir in the coconut flavoring and the toasted coconut. Add the nuts all at once, and stir with a wooden spoon until they are completely coated with the sugar-coconut syrup. Continue to stir until it becomes difficult to stir and the syrup turns white.
7. Quickly scrape the nuts out onto the prepared baking sheet. Immediately separate the nuts with a fork, and allow them to cool and harden at room temperature, then enjoy! These Coconut-Covered Cashews can be stored in an airtight Ziploc bag at room temperature for several weeks.