Rosemary Roasted Cashews

Rosemary Roasted Cashews

With the holiday season upon us, we all need an easy, make-ahead party snack that looks and tastes far more impressive than the actual work it takes to put together.  

These cashews are addictive - crunchy, spicy, salty and sweet.  The fresh rosemary adds a wonderfully fragrant and herbal note that elevates this party snack to the next level.  I serve them as a standalone with drinks for a smaller gathering or alongside a cheese plate if serving a crowd.  They also make a great hostess gift when packaged in a nice jar with ribbon.

Typically, this type or nut recipe uses butter and brown sugar.  I opted for going a bit healthier with olive oil and a combination of maple syrup and coconut sugar.  You can omit the coconut sugar if it's hard to find.  I just like the way it coats the nuts in the finished product.

Rosemary Roasted Cashews

Makes 4 cups

4 cups whole, raw cashews
2 Tbs. olive oil
4 Tbs. maple syrup
1 Tbs. coconut sugar (optional)
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8-1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (to taste)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Roast raw cashews for 8 minutes, stirring halfway through.

In a large bowl, add warm cashews, olive oil and maple syrup.  Toss gently to coat, being careful not to break the cashews.  Then add remaining ingredients: coconut sugar, rosemary, sea salt, and cayenne.  Toss again to evening coat all of the nuts.  At this point, taste the cashews and adjust the seasoning if needed (more cayenne, more salt, etc).

Return cashews to the parchment lined sheet pan.  Bake for another 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.  At this point, check the cashews every 2 minutes to prevent over browning.  They should be golden brown, but not dark.  

Let cool completely in the pan, tossing every so often to prevent the nuts form sticking together. They will firm-up as they cool.  Once cool, store in an airtight container for several days. I usually make them one day before.