These cookies use some of my favourite ingredients: cashew nuts (in both butter and whole form) and light muscovado sugar, one of the “raw” natural cane sugars that get their golden colour and depth of flavour from the local sugarcane juice used in its production. The combination of sweet, soft muscovado sugar and roasted, salted, creamy cashew nuts is absolutely heaven sent and is a glorious base to make a grown up ‘milk and cookies’ style biscuit.
These cookies were inspired by a Nigel Slater recipe I found from years ago. I adore Nigel Slater’s style of cooking: simple, fresh, seasonal and utterly delicious, he is not only one of our country’s best food writers but his food is always, and without fail, delectable to eat. That may sound like an all too obvious statement but I have to admit that there are food writers and chefs whom I admire but who’s dishes do not call me to the table. Equally, there are cooks out there whose written word doesn’t inspire me but whose food sets me running to the market determined to recreate a dish I have just read or watched. I don’t think this is an uncommon experience for people who love food and certainly my friends and I can happily debate the pros and cons of various chefs, usually during the course of a meal! In this case, I am a dedicated Nigel Slater fan and love that I can adapt a recipe of his to make it suitable for all us intolerant food lovers out there.
Here, the combination of sweet and savoury produces a delicate cookie that, once baked, should be golden and crisp on the outside, while inside they should retain some softness and fall apart when pulled. These are free-form cookies, so don’t expect perfect circles or worry about their shape; as long as you use a heaped tablespoon for each cookie then the size will be right and they will bake perfectly. I would highly recommend eating these on the day of their making – ideal as part of a picnic or for when friends come round, for afternoon tea or an evening snack – but they will keep for a few days if kept in air tight tin, although they will soften noticeably as the days go on.
CASHEW and ALMOND NUT COOKIES
Makes around 12 cookies
75g butter replacement (Pure Sunflower Spread)
75g cashew nuts
50g light muscovado sugar
50g golden caster sugar
100g almond nut butter
100g Doves Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
A couple of pinches of sea salt
Preheat the oven to 190c (170c Fan). Place the cashew nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven until evenly golden. Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the sea salt, shake the tray to ensure all the cashews are coated and then set aside to cool down completely. Once cool, roughly chop the cashews.
Meanwhile, place the butter replacement, muscovado sugar and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream together until pale, fluffy and smooth in consistency. Add the almond nut butter and most of the chopped cashew nuts to the butter and mix carefully. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder to the butter and nuts and mix gently but thoroughly until completely combined.
Line the baking tray with baking parchment and use a tablespoon to scoop up a heaped spoonful of the dough and then place on the baking tray, evenly spaced apart as they will spread when cooking. Using the back of a fork, push down on the cookies ever so slightly and then scatter with the remaining cashew nuts.
Bake in the oven for 12 -15 minutes or until the cookies are a pale gold and dry to the touch – be warned when you first take them from the oven the cookies will be meringue like in texture but given a few minutes they will harden up. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the tray for 10 minutes (they will collapse if you try to move them while they are hot) and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.