Cashews are slightly sweet with a wonderfully buttery, nutty flavor. They are crunchy when roasted, but that buttery sweetness comes through no matter how you prepare them. Cashews are a bit more expensive than some other nuts, such as peanuts or almonds, but cashew fans will tell you that the higher price tag is well worth if for their unique flavor. In addition to being eaten whole, cashews can be ground up and made into sauces, curries or nut butters.
I like to bake with cashews and there is no better recipe to showcase their flavor than these cookies. The cookies are made with cashew butter and are packed with roasted, chopped cashews that both intensify the cashew flavor in the cookies and add in a nice, crunchy texture. The cookies themselves are crisp around the edges and chewy in the center, with that distinct buttery sweetness that is unique to these nuts. I used both light brown sugar and vanilla in the cookies, both of which add complexity to the recipe without overwhelming the cashews. The cookies are made without any flour and are gluten free, but that just means that there are fewer ingredients to get in the way of the cashew flavor!
I used Trader Joe’s natural cashew butter in these cookies, but there are many brands available out there to choose from. I recommend using a creamy cashew butter for the best results and stirring your nut butter extremely well if you are using a brand where the oil separates from the other ingredients. The natural cashew butters make for a slightly more oily dough than some national brands that do not require stirring (Jif makes one, for instance), which may mean that the cookies will spread slightly more, but the cookies will be delicious no matter what type of butter you use. Don’t leave out the roasted cashews, as they give the cookies a great texture and amp up the cashew flavor even more. I also highly recommend adding a sprinkle of salt to the tops of the cookies before baking to bring in an addictive salty-sweet element.
The cookies can over bake quite easily with this recipe. Fortunately, the cookies still taste delicious even when they are crispy. You should look for them to have a deep golden brown color on the edges and to be set in the center. The cookies will be quite tender when they come out of the oven, so allow them to cool on the baking sheet before transferring them to a wire rack. The cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container for 2-3 days, but this recipe makes a relatively small batch and they probably won’t make it that long.
The Best Cashew Cookies
1 cup creamy cashew butter
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup roasted and salted cashews, coarsely chopped
coarse salt, for topping
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat together cashew butter, brown sugar, salt, egg and vanilla extract until mixture is very well combined, about 2 minutes. Stir in chopped cashews.
Using your hands or a cookie scoop, shape the dough into 1-inch balls and arrange onto prepared baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between the balls to allow for spread. Lightly press on the balls of dough to flatten them, then sprinkle the cookies with a pinch of coarse salt.
Bake for 10-13 minutes, until cookies are golden browned around the edges and set in the center.
Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 4-7 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 2 dozen cookies.