Make Ahead

Crispy Savory Spice-Brined Cashews

February  9, 2011
0 Ratings
  • Makes 3 cups
Author Notes

You’re in for a real treat with these. I cannot remember eating anything that delivers such a defined sequence of distinct yet subtle flavors. Nibble these slowly, to appreciate this magical union of bay, vanilla, cinnamon and cumin with cashews. The method used is from Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions." Enjoy!! —AntoniaJames

What You'll Need
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 large cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tablespoons freshly toasted and lightly crushed cumin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican vanilla
  • 3 cups of raw cashews
  1. Pour 2 1/2 cups of boiling water into a bowl or large glass measuring cup with the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks, cumin seeds and salt.
  2. Cool to lukewarm; then add the vanilla, stir the mixture well.
  3. Add the nuts and allow them to soak for between 4 and 6 hours (and no more than six, please).
  4. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. With a slotted spoon, remove the cashews from the brining liquid and spread them on a baking sheet. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.
  6. Gently wipe as much excess moisture from the baking sheet as you can, pushing the nuts around to do so. (A bit is okay, but more than that will create steam in your oven, making the nuts less crispy.)
  7. Roast for 12 hours, stirring occasionally, when it's convenient.
  8. Cool completely and then store in an airtight jar.
  9. Enjoy!!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Blissful Baker
    Blissful Baker
  • aargersi
  • AntoniaJames
  • nannydeb

Recipe by: AntoniaJames

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11 Reviews

Blissful B. February 20, 2011
My cashews are currently soaking, and more updates will come, but my husband is already in love with the smell. He said you should market it as an air freshener!
Blissful B. February 21, 2011
The cashews are done! This is such an unique recipe, because nuts are usually flavored on the surface, giving you a strong taste at first bite. These cashews are subtle, with the flavor slowly revealing itself as you chew. They're strangely addictive, and I love the crispy crunch. Obviously this method lends a completely different flavor & texture to roasted nuts, but I'm curious, is there a nutritional reason for this method (since it came from the nourishing traditions cookbook?)
Blissful B. February 21, 2011
Final update & admission of a beginner's mistake. I didn't have cumin seeds, but I did have powdered cumin, so did a straight substitution. The result was the cumin flavor overpowering the rest. So, anyone else who wants to try this, go for the whole spices!
AntoniaJames February 21, 2011
Alas, you can still use the cashews in cooking . . . make a pilaf with onion, garlic, cinnamon (a cinnamon stick) and a few bay leaves, with some brown rice and perhaps just a bit of cumin stirred in with the onions. Then lightly chop the cashews and stir them in at the end. Or chop them and use them in savory yeast or quick breads, or a sweet and savory porridge (see my recipe by that name). I.e., get the cinnamon, bay and vanilla flavors back into picture with the cumin and cashews. Thanks for letting us know!! ;o)
aargersi February 16, 2011
I didn't save any! I do however have the ingredients for another batch which now that you mention it I believe I will make tonight / tomorrow!!!
aargersi February 16, 2011
I made a version of these a few days ago and set them out Friday night ... and they were GONE in a flash, before my chowder, before my duck po'boys - GONE! Everyone kept asking me "where did you get these nuts?"
AntoniaJames February 16, 2011
Thanks! They are tasty, aren't they? That combination of vanilla + bay with the cinnamon and cumin is so good. I'm trying to figure out how to get that flavor combo into some other, very unconventional uses, but the bay leaf is challenging. I'm so glad you and your guests liked them! (I do hope you hoarded a few for yourself . . .. ) ;o)
Blissful B. February 15, 2011
I love Mexican vanilla. I think I could just smell the bottle all day.
AntoniaJames February 15, 2011
Me, too. Its slightly woodsy notes go perfectly with bay. I mixed some with melted butter yesterday and very generously brushed a baguette (same recipe as my Rosemary Epi rolls, but without the rosemary) before baking, to see what would happen. The "nose" was definitely noticeable, as Mr. T, upon taking a bite of the bread, immediately said, "Vanilla!!" (and I had not said anything at all about doing anything different . . . . though I think he's asking himself, every time he eats anything I prepare these days, whether he is being "subjected" to an experiment . . . . .) The Mexican vanilla plus the strong bay flavor is heavenly in these, by the way. This is one of my favorites, among the crispy nut recipes I've posted. ;o)
AntoniaJames February 9, 2011
Thank you! Bay and vanilla in particular are excellent when paired. I'll be posting another recipe, of a different (but familiar) sort featuring that duo, soon. ;o)
nannydeb February 9, 2011
The combination of spices and vanilla sound great!